Frequently Asked Questions
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ABOUT USScroll to Top
What is the Writers Guild of America West?
The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) is a labor union composed of the thousands of writers who write the television shows, movies, news programs, documentaries, animation, videogames and new media content that keep audiences constantly entertained and informed.
AGENCY & REPRESENTATIONScroll to Top
How do I find and contact a writer's representation?
You can find the representation and contact information for Writers Guild members using our Find a Writer search function or call the Agency department at (323) 782-4502.
Do you have a list of signatory agents?
Yes. As a service to all writers, the Guild provides an online version of its Agency List. These agencies represent film, television and interactive writers and are licensed by the State of California. Each agency has its own submission policy. The WGAW recommends that a writer send a query letter, rather than submitting an unsolicited script. This letter should be concise, outlining relevant credentials and briefly describing the nature of the work.
AWARDS & SCREENERSScroll to Top
When will the Writers Guild Awards be held?
See the Writers Guild Awards timeline for the date of the next Writers Guild Awards along with submissions and voting deadlines.
How can I opt out of awards screeners? Can I receive digital awards screeners only?
You can control how you prefer to receive awards-related material through your myWGA account. Members may choose physical (DVD) screeners and mail communications only; digital only, digital and physical; or no materials at all. Go to the Manage Mailing Addresses section to manage physical screeners. Digital screeners and awards-related e-blasts can be managed in Manage Email Subscriptions via the Digital Screeners option. If you need to add a new mailing address, contact the Membership Department or call them at (323) 782-4532.
Is there a WGAW portal for watching awards screeners online?
No, screeners are sent from the companies who host them on their own FYC sites or viewing platforms.
What should I do with awards screener DVDs and screenplays after the awards season?
Awards voting members are required to destroy FYC screeners and screenplays immediately after the awards season ends. Loaning, donating, or selling screeners and screenplays is not permitted.
How do I become a sponsor of the Writers Guild Awards?
Contact Kymber Allen about how to become a Writers Guild Awards sponsor.
How do I apply for press credentials for the Writers Guild Awards?
To apply for media/PR credentials for the Writers Guild Awards L.A. show, contact Communications Specialist Bob Hopkinson or call (310) 801-8563.
CONTRACTS & LEGAL MATTERSScroll to Top
I'm a writer and have a possible grievance and/or claim against a Guild signatory company. What should I do?
If you have a problem or question concerning bonuses, initial compensation, late payments, merchandising, publishing or separated rights, program fees, theatrical reacquisition, videogames based on covered movies or TV shows, character payments, or other terms and conditions of your employment or sale of literary material to a signatory company, email the Contracts Department or call (323) 782-4501. If a signatory company has failed to pay you on time, go to our Late Pay Desk for more information.
If you have questions or concerns about credits or residuals, contact the Credits Department or the Residuals Department.
Does the Guild have a copy of my contract?
Working Rule 3.(b) requires that members send the Guild a copies of their contracts. Your writing contracts are a very important part of the Guild's enforcement efforts. If we do not have your contract on file, it may delay our enforcement efforts on your behalf. If the Guild does not have a copy of your contract, submit your contract now.
Can the Guild refer me to an entertainment attorney?
No. The Guild does not provide lawyer referrals. For help finding an entertainment attorney, try going to http://www.calawyersforthearts.org.
CREDITSScroll to Top
How are writing credits determined?
The Guild determines credits on WGA-covered projects once the Company submits a Notice of Tentative Writing Credits to the Guild and participating writers following the completion of principal photography. In certain cases, the proposed credits are subject to automatic arbitration, and in other cases, writers are given an opportunity to protest the proposed credits to trigger an arbitration. For more information on the credits process, please refer to the Screen and Television Credits manuals.
Do I have to be a member of the Guild to get credit?
No. Guild membership is not a requirement to receive credit. If you work under Guild jurisdiction, you will be eligible to be a participating writer and seek credit in accordance with the Guild's credits procedures.
Do you have a sample title script page on your website?
Yes. A sample cover page, which is included in the booklet “What Every Writer Needs to Know,” can be found here.
If I believe I should be a participating writer on a project and have not received a Notice of Tentative Writing Credits, what should I do?
You should immediately email the Credits Department or call (323) 782-4528 so that the credits staff can investigate the status of the project and whether you are entitled to be a participating writer.
What is the difference between the word “and” and the ampersand (“&”) located between writers' names in a writing credit?
The word “and” designates that the writers wrote separately and an ampersand (“&”) denotes a writing team.
What should I do if I see an incorrect writing credit on-screen or in advertising?
You should immediately email the Credits Department or call (323) 782-4528 so that the credits staff can investigate whether a credit violation has occurred.
DUES & EARNINGSScroll to Top
How do I declare earnings and pay dues online?
To declare earnings and pay dues online, go to Dues & Earnings in your myWGA account. Read How to Declare Earnings for instructions on how to use the Dues Online system.
Who do I contact about questions regarding my membership dues and earnings?
If you have questions about what earnings to declare and when to pay WGAW dues, read Declaring Your Earnings for WGAW Dues. For more information, questions or concerns, email the Dues Department or call (323) 782-4531.
GUILD CALENDARScroll to Top
Can non-members attend Writers Guild events?
WGAW committee activities and events are open to Current, Post Current, Associate, and Associate Caucus members in Active status. If you have questions about your member status, contact the Membership Department or call (323) 782-4532. Non-members can check the Writers Guild Foundation’s website for events open to the public.
I would like to publicize my event and/or book. Do you have a publication or bulletin board that will list it?
The Guild Calendar only lists Guild-sponsored events. The online Buzz column announces the extracurricular activities of Guild members including awards, books published, plays produced, television appearances, awards, and more. For inclusion, email the Calendar Editor or send a fax to (323) 782-4802.
FOREIGN LEVIESScroll to Top
What are foreign levies?
Foreign levies are fees collected in some foreign countries to compensate rights holders for the copying, rental and retransmission of their films and television programs. The rights holders under foreign law include the “authors” of motion pictures and television programs. For more information, read the Foreign Levies Program FAQ or visit the Foreign Levies Program.
How do I know if the Guild is holding foreign levies for me?
You can search the list of writers' names for whom the Guild is holding foreign levies but lacks payment information, or search the list of titles for which the Guild is holding foreign levies but has not identified the writer or lawful heir.
I have questions about my Foreign Levy Payment. Who should I call?
Email the Foreign Levies Department or call (323) 782-4607.
INCLUSION & EQUITYScroll to Top
What are the Inclusion and Equity committees?
There are nine Inclusion and Equity committees: the Asian American Writers Committee, Career Longevity Committee, Committee of Black Writers, Committee of Women Writers, Disabled Writers Committee, Latinx Writers Committee, LGBTQ+ Writers Committee, Middle Eastern Writers Committee, and the Native American & Indigenous Writers Committee.
Can I attend one of the Inclusion and Equity committee meetings if I am not a WGA member?
No. These meetings are for WGA members and associate members only.
If I am a WGA member, can I attend any of the Inclusion and Equity committee meetings, regardless of my ethnic background, age, gender, or sexual orientation?
Yes. While these committees serve the federally protected class groups defined by their name, each committee is open to any WGA member who would like to participate.
How can a potential employer find me based on my background attributes?
Employers may search for a WGAW member according to self-identified attributes. The information is available in Find a Writer. WGAW members must sign in or create a myWGA account. Select "Your member attributes" on your myWGA homepage. Make sure to select the "Yes" button next to “OK to Publish” for each attribute, then click bottom blue “Update Attributes” to save.
Is there a list of BIPOC upper level writers or showrunners and/or how can I identify them?
Use the website’s Find a Writer database to search for writers based on their experience and background.
How can I receive the weekly Friday Inclusion & Equity Department calendar of events?
Email the Inclusion and Equity Department to subscribe.
MEDIA REQUESTSScroll to Top
How can I reach a member for a press interview?
If you are a member of the media and would like to contact a Writers Guild member, email the Communications Department or call (323) 782-4574.
Where can I find press releases from the WGAW?
For press releases from the WGAW, go to our Press Room.
MEMBERSHIPScroll to Top
How do I become a member of the Writers Guild of America West?
Read this list of requirements to join the Guild. For further information, contact the Membership Department.
I'm a member. How do I change my address?
Email the Membership Department or call them at (323) 782-4532.
I'm a member and want to be certain that I'm getting my email correspondence from the Guild. What should I do?
If your email has changed, email the Membership Department, call them at (323) 782-4532, or log in to your myWGA account to update your address. Then follow these instructions to “whitelist” the WGA West with your email service provider to prevent it from being marked as SPAM.
What are the categories of membership?
There are four categories of WGAW membership as defined by the Constitution and By-Laws, Article IV, Sections 3 through 6.
Associate Membership – For writers who do not qualify for admission as Current members and choose to receive certain Guild services in exchange for payment of an annual service fee.
Current Membership – For writers who pay full dues and are eligible to vote in Guild elections and run for Guild office.
Post-Current Membership – For writers who no longer qualify for Current membership and choose to receive certain Guild services in exchange for payment of an annual service fee.
Emeritus Membership – For writers who no longer qualify for Current membership and do not choose Post-Current membership, or for writers who no longer qualify for Post-Current membership.
Does the Guild offer a mentorship program?
New members are eligible to participate in the WGAW New Member Mentor Program, which places them on a team with an experienced, well-regarded Guild mentor for their first year. For more information, contact Albert Muñoz.
In the “Ask a Mentor” advice column, Guild mentors answer members’ questions on career, craft, and union service.
MYWGA ACCOUNTScroll to Top
I am unable to create a myWGA account. What should I do?
Only Current, Post-Current, Emeritus, Financial Core, Associate, and Caucus WGAW members or their delegates are eligible to create myWGA accounts. Writers Guild of America, East members cannot currently access the system. Read this list of requirements to join the Guild. If you are a current WGAW member, refer to our myWGA Account Help FAQ or contact the Membership Department.
PENSION & HEALTHScroll to Top
As a member, who can I talk to about my Health Insurance and my Pension Plans?
Contact the Producer-Writers Guild of America Pension and Health Plans at (818) 846-1015 or read their Pension and Health Fund FAQs on their website for more information.
POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEEScroll to Top
Why does the WGAW have a Political Action Committee?
Simply put, we cannot afford not to. Formed in 2008, the PAC has given the WGAW direct access to decision makers and allowed us to develop critical relationships with policymakers. The PAC allows us to fight against media consolidation and concentrated corporate power, for increased competition and opportunities for writers and to preserve and strengthen the labor movement. Collective bargaining remains our most important and powerful tool, but we must also exercise our political power in the legislative and regulatory process to advance the interests of writers.
Many of our supporters in Congress are engaged in a tough battles for reelection and many of our opponents are vulnerable in their races. If we don’t organize to support our allies, many of them might lose to candidates opposed to our issues.
Members can read more about the PAC here.
Does the PAC use member dues for campaign contributions?
No. Federal election law prohibits using union dues to make contributions to federal candidates. The PAC is funded from voluntary contributions made by WGAW members.
PROGRAMSScroll to Top
What is the TV Writer Access Project? Can anyone apply?
The mission of the TV Writer Access Project is to identify excellent diverse writers in order to provide a hiring resource for television writer-producers and increased access to WGAW members from groups that have been historically underemployed in television. For more eligibility information and to see a list of current honorees, go here.
What is the Feature Writer Access Project? Can anyone apply?
The mission of the Feature Writer Access Project is to identify outstanding diverse writers and make their scripts available to entertainment industry decision-makers, including producers, studio executives, agents and managers, in order to help raise their profile and generate potential employment opportunities. For more eligibility information and to see a list of current honorees, go here.
What is the WGA Showrunner Training Program?
Conducted in partnership with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the WGA Showrunner Training Program is an important industry training program designed to help senior-level writer-producers and recent creators hone the skills necessary to become successful showrunners in today’s television landscape. For details regarding eligibility, evaluation criteria and more, read the WGA Showrunner Training Program FAQ. If you have any questions regarding the program, email the WGA Showrunner Training Program.
REGISTRATIONScroll to Top
Who do I contact about questions regarding script registration?
For information and questions about script registration, go to our Registration FAQ.
Do I have to be a member of the Guild to register my material with the WGAW?
No. You can register material with the WGAW regardless of whether you are a member or not.
Do I have to live in the western U.S. to register my material with the WGAW?
No. You can register material with the WGAW regardless of where you live.
RESIDUALSScroll to Top
What are residuals?
Residuals are compensation paid for the reuse of a credited writer's work. Detailed answers to this and other general residuals questions can be found in the “Residuals Survival Guide.” Hard copies are available, or you may find an online version here.
Do I have anything in the pipeline?
There is no “pipeline.” Since 2003, the Residuals Department has been using a “Rapid Residuals” system, which generally allows your checks to be mailed within 10 days of when they are received. We are unable to verify if anything is waiting to be mailed to you. For the status of current or past checks, please consult your myWGA account for details.
How do I know if any residuals are due to me?
First and foremost, residuals are only due on WGA-covered projects. This means that the Company that hires you needs to be signatory to the WGA Agreement. To find out a Company's signatory status, contact the Guild's Signatories Department at (323) 782-4514. Remember: it is a violation of Working Rule no. 8 to work for a non-signatory Company.
Typically, residuals for theatrical projects are due to the Guild on a quarterly basis. Television projects are due either within 30 days of usage (if used on a Network) or within four months (most other usage). Please see the “Residuals Survival Guide” for more details.
What do I do if my residuals are overdue?
Contact the Residuals Department at (323) 782-4700, or email the Residuals Department. The department will not only investigate any usage you report that may be overdue, but all exhibition markets for your project. If you wrote an episode of a series, they will check the entire series for unpaid residuals. Potential claims are researched on a first-in, first-out basis. Once they have completed their initial investigation, your claim will be assigned to a collections coordinator who will pursue any unpaid residuals and, if warranted, late fees.
I saw a clip of a project I wrote used on another television show or in a movie. What do I do?
When I complete my quarterly Dues Declaration, should I list residuals checks I've received that don't appear on myWGA account?
No. If you've received a residual check, it will then show up on your myWGA account but not necessarily in the same quarter in which you received the check.
I received a check but the details for it don’t appear on myWGA account. How do I know what it is for?
Please wait until the item appears on your account. The Guild processes checks on a first in/first out basis as quickly as possible. Because of the large volume of checks received on a daily basis, especially when the quarterly residuals are due and at the year's end, there may be a substantial delay between the time when you receive your check and the detail appears on your myWGA account. This is because the Residuals Department processing staff must confirm each and every residual that is paid to ensure the correct writer is receiving the correct amount at the correct time.
If you are underpaid, they will pursue the balance due to you; if you are paid late, they will pursue late fees. This is just one of the many ways the Guild works to protect your rights and your patience is greatly appreciated. Once your check is listed, you can click on the check number and gain access to detailed information regarding the payment, including market usage.
I went to the myWGA Account, and there is a check listed there that I never received. What do I do?
I lost my residuals check or my residuals check is stale dated and cannot be cashed. What do I do?
Why does it take so long to have my check reissued?
Your residuals check is reissued by the company that issued the original check, not the Guild. Every company has its own process for check reissues and generally takes six weeks or more to reissue a residuals check once the request has been received from the Guild.
When my check is reissued, will I be assessed dues on both the original check and the reissued check?
No. The Guild will retain records of the original check only. If you access your residual records using the internet and bring up the original check, it will include information regarding the new, reissued check.
Does the Guild offer direct deposit of residuals?
Right now, the Guild only offers this service to Current-Active members for checks under the gross amount of $100.00. To enroll in this service, go here for details. In the future, Guild members will be eligible to register for Direct Deposit, regardless of amount. You will be notified when this functionality is available.
I have questions about my W-2s or 1099s. Who should I call?
Contact the company that issued your check. The Guild does not issue W-2s.
Why did I receive a check marked “void?”
A payroll company might void out your check for many reasons, such as if you have a tax lien or garnished wages. The check itself is your property and might contain important information for your records. The Guild will still process the gross amount of the check in order to track the fact that the Company met its residuals obligation. For check details, contact the payroll company that issued it.
I recently moved. How do I make sure my residuals are sent to the correct address?
Email the Membership Department or call them at (323) 782-4532.
I have questions about my Pension Plan and/or Health Fund contributions? Who should I talk to?
Call the Writers Guild-Industry Health Fund at (818) 846-1015 or visit their website.
My loanout has been dissolved. How do I get new residual checks made payable to me as an individual?
Email the Legal Department or call (323) 782-4521.
My relative recently passed away. How do I get established as their beneficiary of record at the Guild so I can start receiving residual checks?
Read Explanation of Disbursement of Residual Payments After Death for a description of the residual compensation payable to beneficiaries under the Writers Guild of America Theatrical and Television Basic Agreement ("MBA"). For questions, email Estates/Trusts or call (323) 782-4612.
RESOURCESScroll to Top
Can the WGAW help me find work as a writer or submit my work to a production company?
The Guild has a number of resources available for members. If you are a member, check them out at wgaplatform.org.
Does the Guild publish a contact list of experts who can provide technical advice for the script I'm writing?
Yes. For technical advice, see FYI List/Ask the Expert.
Does the WGAW offer screenwriting instruction or advice?
No. To find resources and programs about screenwriting, go to the Writers Guild Foundation website. Their FAQ provides a list of information about script formatting, treatments, pitching, script libraries, copyright, screenwriting contests, writing classes and groups and other useful resources.
SIGNATORIESScroll to Top
How long does it take for a company to become signatory?
There is no specific timeline to becoming signatory, as each application is unique and will vary. Once submitted, you will typically hear from the department within a few business days regarding next steps.
For how long is a company signatory?
For the term of the Basic Agreement they’re signed to.
Is there a fee for a company to become a signatory to the Basic Agreement?
No. There is no fee to become a signatory; however, as a signatory, the company is bound to the terms of the Basic Agreement that include minimum compensation for the writer, pension and health contributions if there are writing services involved and residuals if the project is produced.
Can a foreign company become a signatory to the Basic Agreement?
Yes. The Guild will sign a company whose principal ownership is outside the U.S.; however, the company must provide a financial assurance from an individual and a U.S.-based Agent for Service of Process.
Will the Guild sign a member-owned company to the Basic Agreement?
Yes, but only if the company is a bona fide production company with proof of outside financing.
Can a company sign the Basic Agreement on a project basis?
No. When a company becomes a signatory it is for the term of the Basic Agreement and all projects undertaken during that term are WGA-covered.
Can a member contract with a non-signatory company? Even if it’s paying over WGA scale?
No. And no.
How do I know if a company is a signatory to the Basic Agreement?
To verify if a company or project is a Guild signatory, use our Signatory Confirmation Lookups. You can also contact the Signatories Department at (323) 782-4514 or email Signatories.
Can a member sign a contract with a company before it is signatory?
Can a signatory company hire a non-member?
THEATERScroll to Top
Who do I contact about information on the Writers Guild Theater?
For more information and questions about the Writers Guild Theater, go to our Theater FAQ.