Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL

What is the Writers Guild of America, West?

Can the WGAW help me find work as a writer or submit my work to a production company?

Can the WGAW recommend a writer for my script idea?

Does the WGAW offer screenwriting instruction or advice?

AGENCY AND REPRESENTATION

How do I find and contact a writer's representation?

Can you help me obtain an agent?

Do you have a list of signatory agents?

CREDITS

How are writing credits determined?

Do I have to be a member of the Guild to get credit?

Do you have a sample title script page on your Web site?

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?

What is the difference between the word “and” and the ampersand (“&”) located between writers' names in a writing credit?

What should I do if I see an incorrect writing credit on-screen or in advertising?

DIVERSITY

Does the Diversity department have information regarding internships at the Writers Guild?

What is the Writer Access Project? Can anyone apply?

What are the eight Diversity committees?

Can I attend one of the Diversity committee meetings if I am not a WGA member?

If I am a WGA member, can I attend any of the Diversity committee meetings, regardless of my ethnic background, age, gender, or sexual orientation?

LEGAL AND CONTRACT MATTERS

I'm a writer and have a possible grievance and/or claim against a Guild signatory company. What should I do?

Does the Guild have a copy of my contract?

Can the Guild refer me to an entertainment attorney?

MEDIA REQUESTS

How can I reach a member for a press interview?

Where can I find press releases from the WGAW?

Does the WGAW sponsor special events? Who should I contact about getting the Guild to co-sponsor my event?

MEMBERSHIP

How do I become a member of the Writers Guild of America, West?

I'm a member. How do I change my address?

As a member, who can I talk to about my Health Insurance and my Pension Plan?

I’m a member and want to be certain that I’m getting my email correspondence from the Guild. What should I do?

MYWGAW ACCOUNT

I am a member of the WGAW and am unable to sign in to my account. What should I do?

How do I sign out of my MYWGAW account?

PUBLICATIONS

How can I obtain copies of Writers Guild of America, West publications?

What is the Writers Guild of America, West's magazine? How do I subscribe?

Does the Guild publish a list of TV shows that will accept spec scripts?

Does the Guild publish a contact list of experts who can provide technical advice for the script I'm writing?

I would like to publicize my event and/or book. Do you have a publication or bulletin board that will list it?

REGISTRATION

Who do I contact about questions regarding script registration?

Do I have to be a member of the Guild to register my material with the WGAW?

Do I have to live in the western U.S. to register my material with the WGAW?

RESIDUALS

What are residuals?

Do I have anything in the pipeline?

How do I know if any residuals are due to me?

What do I do if my residuals are overdue?

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 MyWGAW account?

I received a check but it doesn't appear on MyWGAW account. How do I know what it is for?

I went to the MyWGAW 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?

When my check is reissued, will I be assessed dues on both the original check and the reissued check?

Does the Guild offer direct deposit of residuals?

I received a check for “Foreign Levies.” What is this for?

I have questions about my Foreign Levy payment. Who should I call?

I have questions about my W-2s. Who should I call?

How do I designate a beneficiary to receive my residuals in the event of my death?

Why did I receive a check marked “void?”

I recently moved. How do I make sure my residuals are sent to the correct address?

I have questions about my Pension Plan and/or Health Fund contributions? Who should I talk to?

SIGNATORY COMPANIES

Is there a fee for a company to become a signatory to the Basic Agreement?

Can a foreign company become a signatory to the Basic Agreement?

Will the Guild sign a member-owned company to the Basic Agreement?

Can a company sign the Basic Agreement on a project basis?

THEATER

Who do I contact about information on the Writers Guild Theater?


GENERAL

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. For a detailed description of our duties, history, and services, download and read our free “Guide to the Guild”.

Can the WGAW help me find work as a writer or submit my work to a production company?

No. The Guild does not obtain employment for writers, nor can we accept or handle material for submission to production companies.

Can the Guild recommend a writer for my script idea?

No. The Guild does not refer or recommend writers for assignment.

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.

Back to Top

AGENCY AND REPRESENTATION

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.

Can you help me obtain an agent?

No. The WGAW does not offer assistance in finding or suggesting an agent.

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.

Back to Top

CREDITS

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 Web site?

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 contact the Guild Credits department at (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 contact the Guild's Credits department at (323) 782-4528 so that the credits staff can investigate whether a credit violation has occurred.

Back to Top

DIVERSITY

Does the Diversity department have information regarding internships at the Writers Guild?

No. For questions regarding internships, please contact the Human Resources department at (323) 782-4615.

What is the Writer Access Project? Can anyone apply?

The mission of the 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 are the eight Diversity committees?

The eight Employment Access committees are: the Asian American Writers Committee; Committee of Black Writers; Career Longevity Committee; Latino Writers Committee; Writers With Disabilities; Committee of Women Writers; Freelance Writers; and Gay and Lesbian Writers Committee.

Can I attend one of the Diversity 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 Diversity 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.

Back to Top

LEGAL AND CONTRACT MATTERS

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, video games based on covered movies or TV shows, 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, please send (or have your representative send) it to the Contracts department.

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.

Back to Top

MEDIA REQUESTS

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.

Does the WGAW sponsor special events? Who should I contact about getting the Guild to co-sponsor my event?

Yes. The Guild does sponsor special events. For enquiries, email Communications or call (323) 782-4574.

Back to Top

MEMBERSHIP

How do I become a member of the Writers Guild of America, West?

A list of requirements to join the Guild is available here. For further information, read our “Guide to the Guild” or 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.

As a member, who can I talk to about my Health Insurance and my Pension Plan?

Contact the Pension and Health Fund at (818) 846-1015 or go to their Web site for more information.

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 address has changed, email the Membership department or call them at (323) 782-4532. Then follow these instructions to “whitelist” the WGA, West with your email service provider to prevent it from being marked as SPAM.

Back to Top

MYWGAW ACCOUNT

I am a member of the WGAW and am unable to sign in to my account. What should I do?

Refer to our MyWGAW Account Help FAQ regarding enabling cookies. If you are still unable to sign in, call the MyWGAW HelpDesk Line at (323) 782-4885 during normal business hours 9:30am - 6:30pm (PST).

How do I sign out of my MYWGAW account?

Go to “account details” under the “if you’re a member…” menu and use the “log out” button.

Back to Top

PUBLICATIONS

How can I obtain copies of Writers Guild of America, West publications?

Most of the Guild's publications are available on our website and can be downloaded for free.

What is the Writers Guild's magazine? How do I subscribe?

Written By is the official publication of the WGAW and the premier magazine written by and for TV and film writers. Written By provides a unique look into the art, craft and business of writing in Hollywood. Go here to see the complete digital edition of Written By. To receive a hard copy, subscribe online or call, toll free, (888) 974-8629.

Does the Guild publish a list of TV shows that will accept spec scripts?

The Guild no longer updates or posts a TV Market List. The WGAW instead recommends visiting these Web sites for information about television shows currently under development or in production.

Does the Guild publish a contact list of experts who can provide technical advice for the script I'm writing?

Yes. For technical help, see our FYI List and read our monthly column, Technically Speaking for free online resource information.

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. For questions regarding advertising in Written By, call (323) 782-4675.

Back to Top

REGISTRATION

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.

Back to Top

RESIDUALS

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 Residual department has been using a “Rapid Residuals” system, which allows your checks to be mailed to you as soon as they are received. We are unable to verify if anything is waiting to be mailed to you.

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 Senior Customer Representative Monica Rivera at (323) 782-4700, or via email to the Residuals department. Ms. Rivera 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, she will check the entire series for unpaid residuals. Potential claims are researched on a first-in, first-out basis. Once she has completed her 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?

Contact Excerpts Coordinator Rain Stewart at (323) 782-4700, ext. 3.

When I complete my quarterly Dues Declaration, should I list residuals checks I've received that don't appear on MyWGAW account?

No. If you've received a residual check, it will then show up on your MyWGAW account but not necessarily in the same quarter in which you received the check.

I received a check but it doesn't appear on MyWGAW 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 MyWGAW 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 MyWGAW Account, and there is a check listed there that I never received. What do I do?

Contact Stephanie Takemoto in the Residuals department at (323) 782-4700, ext. 1.

I lost my residuals check or my residuals check is stale dated and cannot be cashed. What do I do?

Contact Stephanie Takemoto in the Residuals department at (323) 782-4700, ext. 1.

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.

I received a check for “Foreign Levies.” What is this for?

Foreign Copyright Levies are funds received by the Guild on behalf of U.S. writers pursuant to a program established in 1990. Foreign collection societies send the WGA taxes and levies imposed by foreign governments in order to protect copyright holders of audiovisual product made available on public television, cable television, and through videocassette rentals. The primary source of these monies is “private copy” taxes on the sale of blank videocassettes and VCRs, although taxes are also imposed for cable retransmission of programs.

I have questions about my Foreign Levy payment. Who should I call?

Call the Foreign Levies department at (323) 782-4607.

I have questions about my W-2s. Who should I call?

Contact the company that issued your check. The Guild does not issue W-2s.

How do I designate a beneficiary to receive my residuals in the event of my death?

Contact the Estates/Trusts Desk of the Residuals department at (323) 782-4700, ext. 4 and request a Designation of Beneficiary for Disbursement of Residuals card or obtain the card online. Fill out the form and send it to the Writers Guild of America, West in care of the Estates/Trust Desk.

The card does not need to be notarized unless you are currently married and are nominating someone other than, or in addition to, your spouse as your beneficiary.

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 Web site.

Back to Top

SIGNATORY COMPANIES

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.

Back to Top

THEATER

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.

Back to Top