What are Writers Guild pay rates for movie and TV writers? Well, it depends on a few things. The guild bases minimums on the type of production and the size of the budget.

For example, if a non-studio production has a budget under $250,000, writers get scale ($63,930 per feature film). If the budget is between $250,000 and $1 million, they get $67,237.

Above that, they get 2.5 percent of 1 percent of the budget, with a minimum of $92,710 (and there’s another fee paid if the writer is not part of a WGA signatory).

WGA Minimums

What Are writers guild pay rates?

A writer’s pay can depend on whether the work was done under a WGA contract or not.

For example, if a writer writes a script for an animated feature produced by a company that isn’t a signatory to the WGA, that writer isn’t eligible for guild compensation or benefits.

The same is true for writers who work on non-signatory reality shows, video games, and other non-guild covered work.

But if the work was done under a WGA agreement — for example, if the animated feature was written by a WGA member who works on staff at one of the major animation studios that’s a signatory to the WGA — the writer would be entitled to all guild-covered compensation and benefits.

 

 

There are many variables that play into the answer, such as whether it is a television show or a movie, if it’s brand new content, if it’s a re-write on an existing script (which would fall under the WGA’s re-write scale), if it’s animated or live-action, if it’s being produced by a major company, etc.

What Are Writers Guild Pay Rates?

A writer’s pay can depend on whether the work was done under a WGA contract or not.

For example, if a writer writes a script for an animated feature produced by a company that isn’t a signatory to the WGA, that writer isn’t eligible for guild compensation or benefits.

The same is true for writers who work on non-signatory reality shows, video games, and other non-guild covered work.

But if the work were done under a WGA agreement — for example, if the animated feature was written by a WGA member who works on staff at one of the major animation studios that’s a signatory to the WGA — the writer would be entitled to all guild-covered compensation and benefits.

Many variables play into the answer, such as whether it is a television show or a movie, if it’s brand-new content if it’s a re-write on an existing script (which would fall under the WGA’s re-write scale) if it’s animated or live-action, if it’s being produced by a major company, etc.

The guild also determines pay based upon whether you’ve been in credits before. Have you written uncredited scripts or worked on other productions? Or are you a first-time writer? Those factors impact pay rates.

On top of all this comes residuals. If your show is rerun or sold to a foreign market, you make more money. I’m simplifying here, but there’s more to it than that.

It’s worth noting that even if you make well below guild minimums for a particular movie or TV project — maybe you’re just starting— many producers will give bonuses in lieu. When you’re a writer, getting paid is the game’s name.

So, when you sell your work to a publisher or producer, it makes sense to want to know that you will get paid well for your efforts.

Trying to determine what someone will pay you before you’ve even sold your project is always tricky.

It’s even trickier when talking about guild pay rates and residuals because of the way the film industry works.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has paid recommendations for television writing and feature films, but they are just that; they don’t guarantee you anything.

If you’re working through an agency or attorney, they should have a good idea of what minimums are expected and can help guide you in your negotiating process with producers.

What Is The Writers Guild?

The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) are labor unions that represent film, television, and new media writers. Established in 1933, the WGAW is the nation’s first labor union to organize professional writers.

The two guilds merged in 1949 to form the WGAE, which represents more than 11,000 members working in film, radio, and television across the country. The WGA negotiates collective bargaining agreements with employers on behalf of its members and their families.

These agreements cover wages, compensation benefits, and all other conditions of employment. The Guild also negotiates for and secures pension and health benefits for its members.

The Writers Guild Foundation is a charitable organization formed in 1975 as an integral part of the WGAE to advance educational opportunities for writers through grants, scholarships, and awards;

preserving the history of writing for new media; providing resources for research into writing techniques; recognizing writers’ achievements and contributions; promoting positive public awareness of writing as a profession; supporting industry-related charitable organizations;

sponsoring activities that foster camaraderie among writers, and encouraging pro bono work on behalf of worthy causes.

The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) are labor unions representing film, television, and new media writers. Founded in 1933, the guilds negotiate and enforce minimum wages and credit standards, prevent studios from forcing writers to work for free or “off-credit,” and protect rights of creative freedom.

The WGA is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

It has about 12,000 members.

Schedule Of Minimums For The Writers Guild Of America

A Schedule of Minimums was developed by the Writers Guild of America East as a guide for producers, and it has been adopted by the Writers Guild of America West as a standard contract requirement.

Taken from the “Writers’ Bill of Rights,” the WGA Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) for features states that, in addition to the payment of at least the “scale” outlined below, MOWs with budgets over $250,000 must pay bonuses to writers based on the number of shooting days over five.

Films with budgets between $100,000 and $250,000 are required to pay bonuses on those same days. If a writer is hired after principal photography has begun, he or she must be paid retroactively for days worked.

The following schedule is effective May 1, 2017:

“Scale” refers to minimum payments outlined in the MBA. In 2017, for example, the scale for a feature film was $3859 per week for features with budgets under $3 million and $4111 per week over $3 million.

A picture-perfect Hollywood smile costs hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, thanks to cosmetic dentistry.

Theatrical And Television Basic Agreement

The Theatrical and Television Basic Agreement is a contract between the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. It covers basic agreement terms, including minimums, health, pension, options, and exclusivity.

Talks to renew the agreement began in January 2007. Still, they broke down in June 2007 when the WGAW rejected a deal that would have allowed writers to work on reality television programs for the first time, as well as allowing writers to work on new media projects such as cell phone downloads for five years.

The AMPTP has since proposed a “short scale” contract under which writers would be paid less than under the current terms of the agreement for their work on new media. The AMPTP has proposed several changes to the health plan, including a $2 co-payment for doctor visits, higher deductibles, and less coverage for out-of-network care.

The WGAW has rejected these changes. On Wednesday, November 7, 2007, hundreds of Los Angeles area writers staged a one-day strike against significant film studios over failed wage talks declared an “impasse” by a federal mediator.

What Are The WGA (Writers Guild Of America) Minimums I Can Get Paid?

In the United States, the minimum amount you can get paid for writing a script depends on whether you’re working in television or film. The WGA (Writers Guild of America) Minimums are a set of rules that have been created by the WGA that state how much money a writer must be paid for their work.

The Minimum Basic Agreement (Agreement) is an employment contract between a writer, who is also referred to as a “WGA Member,” and any production company or studio with which said WGA Member has entered into an employment relationship. The Agreement states that the WGA Member will be compensated for any employment he/she receives by the Minimum Basic Agreement.

Minimum Compensation: Television Writers

For television, if you are writing a one-hour series episode, you are entitled to $27,112.50 per episode if you had written more than one episode of the same series during periods when it was in production and $22,800 per episode if you have only written one episode of such series during such period. If you have written episodes for two different series at the same time, then your minimum compensation per episode is $27,112.50.

The WGA minimums are subject to change.

You’re a writer. You’ve written a script; you’ve made it available to producers and want your script to be produced.

But the people who hire writers to write for them make it very difficult for the writer to get paid what they’re worth.

What Else Will The WGA (Writers Guild Of America) Minimums Cover?

The WGA (Writers Guild Of America) Minimums will be implemented on May 1, 2017. This means that every screenplay from this date forward must adhere to a set of rules and regulations that dictate the amount of coverage that a script should receive.

This is great news for screenwriters and producers, as it will create a more level playing field in the world of Hollywood. But what else could be affected? What Else Will The WGA (Writers Guild Of America) Minimums Cover? A recent blog post by Script Reader Pro shared their thoughts on the matter, and we thought they were worth mentioning! According to them, the new minimums could end up influencing the following:

The cost of hiring a reader/consultant in Hollywood. If there’s only one way to write a script, there’s only one way to read it. In turn, this might lead to fewer readers and consultants being hired.

TV show writers. It’s no secret that most TV shows are written on spec (contracted out without an actual deal with a network). A lot of screenwriters who want to break into TV writing will write multiple different spec scripts to increase their chances with multiple networks and studios.

The Schedule Of Minimums Details The Minimum Rates Of Compensation For Writers Covered Under The Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA)

The Writers Guild of America West Minimum Basic Agreement and Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) are collectively referred to as the “Minimums” and apply to all WGAW members except those covered by the Television and New Media Agreement. Treatment of Non-Writing Services. This subsection applies only to writers who perform writing services, directing services, or production services (the “covered services”) under this MBA. In addition to such covered services, a writer may perform other services as an employee of a signatory company in the entertainment industry.

Such additional services, however, are not subject to this subsection but rather will be subject to the regular provisions of the Minimums for all other employees. All non-writing services performed by writers must be compensated at the minimum compensation rate specified in this MBA unless explicitly exempted from compensation hereunder.

The minimum compensation rate for non-writing services shall be calculated by multiplying the applicable minimum writing rate specified in Schedule A by 1.5 and rounding up to the nearest multiple of $10.00 (e.g., $90 x 1.5 = $135; $135 + $10 = $145). Additional benefits and enhancements granted to covered employees who act as producers of their material may not be offset.

Writers Guild Of America Pay Rates – Wrapping Up

If you’re a screenwriter and know what the WGA will pay you for a screenplay, it’ll be easier to set your price. If you’re using a script consultant like me, I will tell you what the WGA rate is before I start working with you. In my experience, most consultants charge between $400 and $1,000 per script.

Again, there’s no guarantee that your script will sell – but if it does, you’ll get paid more than $500 for it. Word of warning: If you’re thinking about hiring a script consultant because he or she will make your script “sellable,” think again. All a script consultant does is give notes on your screenplay.

If your screenplay is good enough to attract an agent or a producer or studio executive who wants to turn it into a movie, then it’s good enough to be made into a movie – whether or not anyone gives notes on it. So don’t hire someone just because they claim they can make your script better so that Hollywood will buy it – because they can’t.

One more thing: I’ve never met anyone who got rich by selling screenplays to Hollywood. It doesn’t happen often enough and the money is usually too little to live on.