Information in Writer's Contracts

The 1995 Writers Guild Minimum Basic Agreement ("MBA") expands and strengthens the ways writers and agents may use the information in the writer's contract to best advantage. The employment contract must state specifically where the writer is to deliver literary material and who may request additional writing services. Adherence will reduce requests for uncompensated rewriting and improve the timeliness of payments. All parties should verify that this information is clearly stated in all contracts.

DELIVERY OF MATERIAL

Each writer's contract or deal memorandum (for both television and theatrical employment) now must state the place where and the person(s) to whom delivery of the literary material must be made.

Monies for literary material are due within 48 hours (but not later than seven days) after delivery to the person and place stated in the writer's contract. The writer therefore must know where to deliver in order to be paid in a timely manner and to comply with the writing contract.

Writers should not be asked to deliver material to any place or to any person(s) other than as provided in the writer's contract. While producers (or directors) may seek to have the writer deliver material to the producer (or elsewhere) prior to delivery to the studio, it is improper to request this, and it is similarly improper for the writer to agree. This gives the producer (or director) an opportunity to request uncompensated writing services before the draft is submitted to the person(s) listed in the contract. If that person has not been named in the contract or the deal memo to receive the material (or named as a person who may request additional writing services), that person likely may not authorize the payment due upon delivery.

REWRITES

The contract must also state the name(s) of the person(s) authorized to request rewrites of the writer's material. If the producer (or director) is not named in the writer's contract, s/he may not request the writer perform additional writing services. Again, if the person making the request is not named in the contract, it is likely that person also may not authorize payment for rewrites.

The employing Companies and writers both benefit by restricting the number of persons who may give notes and request additional services, both for creative and economic reasons. While the contract may provide that more than one person may authorize additional revisions of the literary material, no one other than those listed in the contract should request any writing services unless authorization and payment have been assured.

Confirm that all writing services requested are authorized, and that payment will be received for them.

CHANGES IN NAMES

The Company must give written notice to the writer of any changes in the place where and the names of the person(s) to whom delivery is to be made and/or the name(s) of the person(s) authorized to request rewrites.

Please review each contract to ensure the appropriate information is provided. Know where literary material must be delivered and know who may request additional services. Compliance will reduce improper requests to all writers and promote timely payment.