The WGA is “the Writers Guild of America.” It’s a labor union that represents screenwriters in Hollywood. The guild was founded in 1912 and since then has been responsible for protecting the rights of its members.

Trying to understand the WGA? This article will help explain what the WGA is, how it works and what is has accomplished.

What Is The wga

What Is The Writers Guild Of America (wga)?

The Writers Guild of America is a labor union that represents writers in the film, television and new media industries.

Its members have included some of the most distinguished screenwriters in history, including Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, Arthur Miller and Billy Wilder.

The Writers Guild was founded on May 3, 1912 by a group of 10 screenwriters in Hollywood who wanted to improve their working conditions.

The original members included Charles Kenyon, Jack Cunningham and H.P. Conway from New York, and Frank Wilson, Jeanie Macpherson and Lester Cole from Los Angeles.


The guild negotiated with producers over studio workplace rules as well as royalty arrangements for writers whose work was produced abroad.

It also set up a pension and health plan. In its first year of existence, the guild organized more than 20 strikes to win higher wages and better working conditions for its members.

In 1955, the Writer’s Guild joined with the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) to form the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

The WGA negotiates collective bargaining agreements with studios that cover wages, benefits, and working conditions for its members who work under the Motion Picture Industry Plan or Television Industry Plan.” Television Industry Plan.”

How Does the WGA Work?

The Writers Guild negotiates with studios on behalf of its members, helping them negotiate better pay and working conditions as well as defending their rights when it comes to intellectual property. The organization also provides support for its members through various programs, including health insurance, pension plans and legal services.

What Is The WGA?

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) is a labor union that represents the interests of film and television writers. As a member of the WGA, you get access to lots of great benefits and resources, including health insurance, retirement plans, legal assistance, and professional connections.

The application process can be long and involved, so make sure you’re committed to being a writer before signing up for the WGA. The WGA has an extensive set of bylaws that cover everything from credits and compensation to conflicts between writers.

The organization offers membership for both writers and producers.

How Do I Join?

You have to be invited to apply to join the WGA. You cannot apply directly on your own; you must have a current member sponsor you in order to get in. 


When you apply for membership, you’ll fill out an application describing your qualifications as a writer as well as your personal information.

Applications are then sent out to members in your branch (e.g., motion picture writers) for review. If two-thirds approve your application, you’re officially a member of the Writers Guild of America!

WGA Membership Benefits

The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) represents writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media and radio/audio programs.

If you are a writer at the professional level, you should join the WGA. You will be covered by all the agreements and get the benefits outlined below. 

The WGA negotiates minimum basic agreements with the major studios, television networks and producers guilds every three years to ensure that writers receive fair payment and other compensation when their work is licensed or produced.

The agreements also provide for our members’ health and pension benefits. The current agreement expires on May 1, 2019. 

The WGAW distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties to its members each year from various sources including feature films, network television series, cable and new media productions and DVD releases.

The Guild also administers pension and health plans for its members.

Benefits include:

  • Annual Pension Plan Contributions – Members who have earned credits under the MBA will receive an annual contribution from their Pension Plan based on their credited earnings over the most recent three calendar years. 
  • Health Insurance – Members who have earned credits under the MBA are eligible to enroll in a quality health insurance plan at reduced rates through Guild-neg

What Does WGA Mean In Film?

What does WGA mean in film? The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America East (WGAE) are trade unions that represent television and film writers in the United States. 

They negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements for their members, protect their rights in antitrust matters, provide pension and health benefits, conduct programs and events on issues facing writers, and conduct outreach to the entertainment community at large.

When you see a WGA screenwriting credit on a movie or television show, it means that it was written under the terms of the union’s collective bargaining agreement. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the writers involved in creation of a script were WGA members.

A non-union writer can be hired to write a script that is later assigned to a WGA member for re-write or polishing. The “Created by” credit is reserved for production companies or individuals who can prove their overall influence on a show (for example, by having created other shows).

The “Developed by” credit goes to producers who contributed to the original concept but did not actually write any episodes. 

What Is WGA Minimum On Screenplay?

WGA minimums have existed since the 1930’s and are designed to help screenwriters get paid for their work, as well as protect them from shady producers. The WGA Minimum Basic Agreement is a document that details the terms and conditions under which a writer can sign with a production company.

It also protects writers from some of the more common issues they might encounter in Hollywood, such as not getting paid. Taken from Writers Guild of America (WGA) [1]:

“The Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) is the contract governing compensation, benefits, and working conditions of writers employed on live-action motion pictures produced under the jurisdiction of the WGA. It establishes minimum terms and conditions for employment of WGA members on such motion pictures, but does not apply to work done in other media or to literary material written expressly for the writer.”

The MBA was first approved by the WGA membership in 1938, when it replaced an earlier collective bargaining agreement between writers and producers. The MBA has been amended several times over the years.

It was most recently amended in 2008 to address concerns about global warming, HIV/AIDS awareness and other topics.

A History Of The Writers Guild of America (WGA)

Ever heard of the Writers Guild of America?

If the answer is no, you are not alone. Many people don’t know that the Writers Guild of America (WGA) is an organization that is composed of writers in Los Angeles and New York who work on television shows, movies, documentaries, commercials, and other media. 

The WGA negotiates contracts with producers and major film studios for their members.

Because it also serves as a union for writers, the WGA ensures that writers are fairly compensated for their work. The WGA has been around since 1935 when a group of writers came together to provide a professional atmosphere for screenwriters.

Its founders were George Kirke Spoor and Gilbert Seldes. Within a year, they had established the guild’s constitution, bylaws, and membership guidelines. 

They also had signed their first contract with Warner Brothers Studios in Hollywood for 66 screenwriters.

The WGA has gone through many changes over the years but continues to serve its members as a voice in negotiations with employers. Sometimes this has led to strikes between the WGA and producers and studios.

The most recent strike lasted from Nov 2007 to Feb 2008 because the WGA wanted a larger percentage of revenue from DVD sales and distribution rights of TV shows on cable networks. 

Pros Of Joining The Writers Guild of America (WGA)

The Writers Guild of America East (WGAE) and the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) together represent more than 8,000 writers working in film, television, cable, digital media and news. The Guilds negotiate and administer contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conduct programs that advance writers’ careers; defend freedom of expression; and promote diversity.

If you are a writer who wants to write for film or television, then you have to join the WGA. Joining the WGA is done under the terms of an employment contract. 

You can’t just walk into their offices and sign up, because they will not let you work without a contract with them.

The application process for membership in the WGA is long and complicated. The application fee is $550 for screenwriters and $360 for TV writers. 

This fee is non-refundable even if your application is denied.

In order to apply for membership you need two professional references from WGA members who will personally verify your writing samples or finished work. It’s important to note that these references must be current WGA members, otherwise your application will be rejected.

How Much Does It Cost To Join WGA?

One of the benefits of membership in the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) or the East (WGAE) is the right to work on any WGA show. Non-members can work for scale on a WGA show only if they have previously had an employment relationship with that show.

Writers Guild members who have been employed on a WGA-covered series for a consecutive period totaling at least one year within the last three years are eligible to join. Members employed on feature films, made-for-TV movies and new media are also eligible.

Membership dues are $1,500 annually for Los Angeles members and $625 for New York members. Dues are prorated for less than full years of employment (members who pay dues in six-month increments).

Newly hired eligible writers must become members within 30 days of employment or lose eligibility to work on WGA shows until they are rehired by the same employer and regain eligibility.

Employees of signatories to New York’s Local A3 Agreement who bring scripts or other writing material into their employment may not join the Guild unless they submit those materials through their employers and thereby become official signatories.

How Do You Qualify For The WGA?

As with most guilds, the WGA (Writers Guild of America) requires that you be a member in good standing before you can qualify for health benefits. To be in good standing, you must be paid as a writer at least once on an eligible project during the eligibility period.

The eligibility period runs from May 1 to April 30. You are eligible if you receive a minimum of $3,000 in writing fees within the 12-month period ending on April 30.

The minimum $3,000 amount may change over time and is published annually in the Writer’s Guidelines and Guild Contract Book . Eligible writing fees include:

  • Fees for writing;
  • Royalties for previously produced material;
  • Residuals for previously produced material;
  • Fees for previously produced material that was licensed for use on another medium (i.e., your story was printed in a magazine and then produced as a movie); and
  • Reimbursement of reasonable production costs (i.e., per diem or travel expenses).

One of the most commonly asked questions is “How Do You Qualify For The WGA?” The answer is very simple.

First, you must be a member of the Writers Guild of America. Second, your work must appear in an industry forum such as film, television, new media or commercials. 

Finally, you must apply for credit on IMDb Pro and pay a $75 application fee. We can help you with the application process through our free application service.