We are the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW), a labor union representing the thousands of creators who write scripted series, features, news programs, and other content. Founded in 1933, the Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of our members. We are involved in a wide range of programs that advance the interests of writers, and are active in public policy and legislative matters on the local, national, and international levels.
WHO WE ARE
Representing Our Members
Our primary duty is to represent our members in negotiations with film and television producers to ensure the rights of screen, television, and digital media writers. Once a contract is in place, we enforce it. Because of the WGAW’s long-term efforts, writers receive pension and health coverage, and their financial and creative rights are protected.
We are responsible for determining writing credits for feature films, television, and digital media programs—a responsibility with far-reaching impact, financial and artistic. Writers’ livelihoods often depend on the careful and objective determination of credits.
The WGAW monitors, collects, and distributes millions of dollars in residuals (payments for the reuse of movies, television, and digital media programs) for writers each year.
Throughout the year, the WGAW sponsors seminars, panel discussions, and special events for its members and the public.
The WGAW furthers the interests of writers through legislation, international agreements, and public relations efforts. The WGAW is affiliated with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and other organizations around the world.
The WGAW Registry is the world’s leading screenplay registration service, registering more than 50,000 pieces of literary material every year. Since 1927, the Registry has aided in the creation of legal evidence and is a vital instrument of the Guild’s service to writers.
WHAT WE DO
Enforcing Our Contract
The Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) is the collective bargaining agreement which covers most of the work done by WGA writers. The terms are negotiated every three years by the WGAW and WGAE, jointly referred to as WGA, and their “bargaining partners,” the companies that are signatory to the agreement. One of the WGA’s main functions is to enforce the MBA as well as writing services and literary material purchase agreements with signatory companies.
Refer to the Schedule of Minimums for rates under the current contract.
A company intending to employ, option or purchase literary material must be signatory prior to entering into an agreement with a writer. In order to obtain signatory status, a company must complete these steps.
Other Guild agreements and documents vital to working writers include: the Low Budget Agreement, Standard TV and Theatrical Contracts, Interactive Program Contract for videogames, public TV and newswriter agreements, and digital/new media-related documents.
Did you know that it's possible for a writer to buy back the rights to a script that's been optioned but never produced? Learn more about the process and criteria for screenplay reacquisition.
A writer’s position in the entertainment industry is determined largely by his or her credits. Their professional status depends on the quality and number of screenplays, teleplays, or stories which bear their names. The administration of an accurate and equitable system of determining credits is, therefore, one of the most important services the Guild performs for writers. Find booklets and answers to questions regarding the credits process under Credits Manuals and Credits Forms.
One of the benefits due credited writers under the MBA and the Public TV Freelance Agreement is compensation for the reuse of their material. This compensation is called residuals. Learn about how residuals are administered and enforced by visiting the Residuals Department page.
The Guild monitors compliance with the MBA’s Creative Rights provisions to ensure that writers receive the rights we bargain for. These rights include being offered the opportunity to view a cut of a film prior to its being locked, participating in press junkets, and being invited to the premiere or film festival at which a picture is first exhibited.
The Agency Department is responsible for administering, interpreting and enforcing the provisions of the WGA’s talent agency franchise agreements, as well as disseminating WGA member agency representation to production companies, studios, press members, staff and others. According to Working Rule 23, members may only be represented by a franchised agency in the procurement of MBA-covered work. If you are a talent agency that wishes to represent WGA members, you must be franchised by the WGA.
Franchised agencies have agreed to provide the Guild with deal memos, contracts, invoices, and itemized statements of compensation for their clients. Using this information, the Agency Department follows up with individual writers to ensure they have been paid on time. Where a payment is late, the Legal Department pursues interest for the writer.
See the list of Agencies Franchised by the WGA.
Inclusion and Equity
The WGAW feels strongly that writers from historically underemployed groups should have a chance to succeed in film and television. The Inclusion and Equity Department works with producers, studio and network executives, and writers to increase employment opportunities and the availability of writing assignments for writers from underrepresented groups, including, but not limited to, writers who are Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American & Indigenous, Black, Latinx, women, over 40, LGBTQ+, or disabled, so they have the opportunity to tell stories from their various life experiences on-screen.
See the Inclusion and Equity Department’s resource list, for people of all backgrounds who are committed to confronting systemic bias and discrimination.
Public Policy & Political Action Committee
The Guild's Political Department provides members with up-to-date information about critical public policy issues, including health policy, pension protection, collective bargaining rights, combating piracy, media consolidation, net neutrality, and independent production. The WGAW is committed to an effective public policy program that protects the financial welfare and rights of creative talent, and advances the interests of writers.
The WGAW Political Action Committee (PAC) allows WGAW members to make voluntary contributions to a fund that works to elect public officials who are sympathetic to the challenges faced by professional writers.
We Register Intellectual Property
You’ve spent days, weeks, months, maybe even years crafting the perfect script. Or novel. Or poem. Or lyric. Or drawing. Part of your soul is in this creative effort. Now what do you do? How do you begin to protect it?
You’ve come to the right place.
The WGAW Registry is the world’s leading screenplay registration service, registering more than 50,000 pieces of literary material every year. Since 1927, the Registry has aided in the creation of legal evidence and is a vital instrument of the Guild’s service to writers. We invite you to submit your work to be archived by the WGAW Registry as documentation of your authorship.
Why Should I Register My Material?
The main purpose of registration is to establish the completion date of an original work. Though the Registry cannot prevent plagiarism, it can produce the registered material to any legal proceeding or arbitration regardless of location or membership. The WGAW Registry, as a neutral third party, can testify to that evidence. The Registry does not make comparisons of registration deposits, nor does it give legal opinions, advice, or confer any statutory protections.
What Can Be Registered?
Any file may be registered to assist you in documenting the creation of your work. Some examples of registerable material include scripts, treatments, synopses, and outlines.
For more information, read these details about the registration process or contact the WGAW Registry.
How Do I Register?
To register online: Complete instructions for registering online are available on our website at www.wgawregistry.org. All registrations are final upon submission and cannot be changed, substituted, or voided.
WGA.org, the Guild’s website, provides crucial information and resources to our members, the industry, and the public and is an integral part of the Guild’s daily business. The site not only houses the Guild’s most critical contracts and documents, such as the Minimum Basic Agreement, Schedule of Minimums, credits and residuals forms and manuals, but also is the hub for Guild’s online tools and databases, including:
- Find a Writer: a directory that allows employers to search for members by name, background, or experience
- myWGA: Current, Post-Current, Emeritus, Financial Core, Associate, and Caucus WGAW members or their delegates may sign up for a myWGA account to track their residuals, declare earnings, pay dues, manage their contact information, and more.
- Signatory Lookups: find Guild signatory companies and projects by searching these databases
- The Writers’ Deal Hub: a centralized resource dedicated to helping members negotiate their individual overscale deals
- Foreign Levies: Users can search a list of writers’ names for whom the Guild is holding foreign levies but lacks payment information, search a list of titles for which the Guild is holding foreign levies but has not identified the writer or lawful heir, and provide the Guild with information about a non-WGA title which may entitle them to foreign levies.
- FYI/Ask the Experts: a list of experts who have volunteered to provide free technical advice to writers.
In addition, the WGA Platform is an online hub for writers, showrunners, and executives to connect on jobs and development opportunities in features and television.
HOW WE WORK
Guild Democracy & Administration
The WGAW is run by a Board of Directors including three officers: President, Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer. They are all writers who donate their time in service of the Guild. The Board members and officers are responsible for setting the Guild's agenda and priorities, implementing changes and initiatives, addressing member concerns, and strategizing for the future. The Constitution and By-Laws of the Writers Guild of America West contain the Working Rules that govern the Guild and its members.
Under the Constitution, the Guild may, from time to time, adopt Working Rules, governing the working relationship of members with employers, agents and others with whom writers have professional dealings in connection with writing services and literary properties. Any proposed working rule must be approved by the Board of Directors before submission to the membership for approval but shall not be effective or operative if, in the discretion of the Board of Directors, it is contrary to the provisions of the Constitution or causes a breach of any contract entered into by the Guild.
There are four categories of WGAW membership as defined by the Constitution and By-Laws: Associate, Current, Post-Current, and Emeritus.
Under the WGAW Constitution, each Current member is required to submit a quarterly dues declaration. The dues declaration allows the Guild to calculate and bill a member’s quarterly dues and provides the Guild with valuable information about the member’s employment, which is crucial for both contract enforcement and the Guild’s ongoing research regarding industry trends.
How to Become a Member
If you’re interested in becoming a member of the WGAW, here’s what you need to know:
We work on a unit system (described in detail here) based on writing employment and/or sales within the Guild's jurisdiction and with a "signatory" company (a company that has signed the Guild's collective bargaining agreement). Depending upon the number of units earned, a writer may be eligible for either Current (full) membership, or Associate (partial) membership.
If you are a WGAW member, you must make sure the company employing you is a Guild signatory and that your work is covered under a Guild agreement. If you don’t, you may be in violation of Working Rule 8. Guild staff can work with you to assist a company through the signatory process or negotiate a deal for coverage on your behalf.
If you are a non-member, our staff can work with you and your fellow writers to secure a WGA contract which provides health and pension benefits, residuals and other Guild protections.
For organizing inquiries, contact the Member Organizing Department.
WE CELEBRATE WRITERS AND WRITING
Writers Guild Awards
Since 1948, the Guild has honored the outstanding achievements in film, television, radio, and promotional writing at the annual Writers Guild Awards, which are often seen as a precursor to the Oscars®. See the list of nominees and winners, highlights from previous shows, the rules for submissions, and more on the Writers Guild Awards website.
The Craft of Writing
3rd & Fairfax, our official podcast features information and updates about the Guild and interviews with top writers, while The Craft gets writers’ takes on how they crafted the scripts for today's most popular, exciting and original films and TV shows. Subscribe to the Guild’s YouTube channel to watch Guild panels, video interviews with screenwriters, and other screenwriting-related content.
Voted on by the members of the WGAW and WGAE, the WGA’s 101 Best Lists honor the greatest achievements in screenwriting history.
WHERE WE CAME FROM
PRESERVING OUR LEGACY
Writers Guild Foundation & Shavelson-Webb Library
Founded in 1966 by a group of prominent WGAW members, the Writers Guild Foundation (WGF) is a nonprofit charitable corporation that focuses on education and historical preservation. The founding president was James R. Webb. The WGF’s mission is to serve the community of writers and for writers to serve the community. Through events, outreach programs, library, and archive the WGF strives to educate and inspire writers as well as to promote and preserve excellence in writing. The WGF is associated with, but independent of, the WGAW.
The Writers Guild Foundation Shavelson-Webb Library, a writer-focused collection of scripts and other materials related to writers and writing. Founded in 1984, the library is now home to over 30,000 items consisting of produced film, television, and radio scripts—many of which have received major writing awards—books, periodicals, DVDs, videos, a digital script-reading facility, and other materials on the history, biography, art, craft, and business of writing for entertainment media. Search the catalog and get information about library hours as well as WGF classes, seminars, events, and other projects on their website.
HOW TO REACH US