WGA Holding Membership Referendum on Screen Credit for New Feature Film – Deadline
The WGA is holding a membership referendum on a proposed change to its credit rules that, if approved, could grant screen credits to hundreds of feature film writers who are not currently eligible to receive them. The referendum would allow the use of an “Additional Literary Material” credit for all participating writers who do not otherwise receive film writing credits.
“Currently, many screenwriters who have worked for weeks or months on a project do not receive any onscreen credit and are not listed in online databases,” the Credit Review Board said. screen of the guild, which proposed the rule change, in a letter. to members Tuesday. “By comparison, every crew member – even someone who only works one day – will see their name in the end credits and on IMDb. On TV, the names of the writers appear on every episode they see. The more restrictive standard for feature film writers often results in “resume gaps” and empty IMDb pages that may not accurately reflect a writer’s career. “
The WGA said it determined the credits for 213 films in 2020. “Out of 69 of those films – about 1 in 3 – at least one participating writer did not receive any credit. A total of 185 participating writers wrote on feature films for which they ultimately received no credit. These are the writers who would be eligible for a new credit.
The guild noted that “This new credit would denote the use or sale of material, not authorship.”
The committee said that in crafting the proposed change, it “worked diligently to preserve the distinction between authorship and participation and to protect the primacy of traditional writing credits (eg,” screenplay by, “” writes by “) in the following ways:
• The words “writer” and “written” would not appear in the new end credits.
• The traditionally credited author (s) – “by” authors – would continue to receive all residuals.
• The placement of the new end credit would be distanced from the main write credit.
• Only traditionally credited writers would see their names appear in advertisements and advertisements, participate in publicity events, and be eligible for prizes and script publication fees.
In determining how eligibility for this new credit would work, the committee said the starting point was “Participating Writers,” which is defined in the Screen Credits Handbook as “a writer who participated in the writing of the screenplay, or a writer who has been employed by the Story and / or Screenplay Company, or a “professional writer” who has sold or licensed literary material subject to the Minimum Base Agreement (MBA).
“When determining credits, the WGA begins with the list of participating writers. There are established procedures for verifying who is and is not eligible, including drafting under contract and submitting written documents. The committee looked at a range of possibilities for calling this new credit. There was a strong preference to avoid the terms “writer” and “writing” so as not to diminish established credits.
“Ultimately, ‘Additional Literary Material’ was chosen to reflect the submission of literary material as opposed to just attending a roundtable or mini-room. Consistent with the other end credits, there is no “by” at the end of the “Additional Literary Material” credit. It denotes the use or sale of material, not authorship.
“The committee confirmed with staff and legal services that the Guild can determine and publish credit for ‘additional literary material’ without the approval of employers / studios or AMPTP. Staff also confirmed that IMDb will follow WGA guidelines.
The WGA noted that “studios control the end credits of their films. Without modification of the MBA, the Guild cannot require that “additional literary material” be added at the end of the exploration of films. However, there is a useful precedent in television: the editors. Editor-in-chief credit was not established in the MBA, but was instead added through waivers. The Guild began authorizing it in 2000, using codified language. It quickly became the norm. Following this precedent, Screen Credits 2021 includes a draft waiver agreement text detailing how and where the “Additional Literary Material” credit should be listed. This contractual language would serve as a model for individual negotiations with employers.
If approved by members, the “Additional Literary Material” credit would apply to credits determined after December 31, 2021. It is not retroactive to films for which credits have already been determined.