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Old 11-14-2015, 03:05 PM   #11
JeffLowell
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Default Re: Need help understanding what this request means

Producers aren't signatory. Studios are. A producer optioning your script won't get you any closer to the WGA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MontanaHans View Post
If you develop a script on spec then sell it to a sig company you get in. That seems to be the fastest way in, but it is very difficult because of the double edged sword slash Catch 22 aspect of the industry. Guild Sig companies cannot work with non WGA writers, but you can't get in the WGA if you don't work with Guild Sig Companies.
There is nothing stopping a signatory from hiring a non-WGA writer. It doesn't enter into the equation at all.

A WGA writer can't work for a non-signatory.
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Old 11-14-2015, 05:32 PM   #12
Ronaldinho
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Default Re: Need help understanding what this request means

Quote:
Originally Posted by MontanaHans View Post
In the WGA writers get full health benefits, retirement package, legal assistance, residuals collection - it's a union working for you and watching over your back.
Just to be clear, the health benefits only kick in if you make at least a certain amount of money in guild-covered earnings each year. (Somewhere around $37k).

So getting in just for the sake of getting in doesn't really do very much for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffLowell View Post
Producers aren't signatory. Studios are. A producer optioning your script won't get you any closer to the WGA.
Actually, lots of independent producers are signatories. Most of the work I've been paid for has been for independent companies that are signatories to the WGA's MBA.

Anybody who could commission a rewrite has to be a signatory or they can't hire WGA members.

Ultimately it's never the option that gets you into the guild, you're right about that. Option payments actually don't count towards various guild benefits (including membership) until the option is exercised, in which they benefits are retroactively due on them.

However, if you option a script to a guild-signatory producer, and they also commission a rewrite, that rewrite DOES accrue benefits (they have ot pay 15%, or whatever it is, on top of it). I don't know if a rewrite is, on its own, enough to get you membership - but it ultimately doesn't matter. If you accrue enough covered income to qualify for health insurance for the year, you'll get it. (That number is about $37k in covered earnings).

I think for retirement benefits you need $8k in a year in order for it to count, or at least you need five years of $8k each, minimum, in order to vest in your pension. (Of course, if you're near those minimums, your pension isn't really worth anything).

But if you did a polish for a WGA producer, and it got you screen credit, you would get the benefits of residuals even if you didn't have enough points to become a member yet.
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Old 11-14-2015, 06:00 PM   #13
JeffLowell
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Default Re: Need help understanding what this request means

Good catch.

I should have been more clear: a producer on a studio picture isn't a signatory. That's why the guild can't get involved when producers ask for free rewrites.

But then yes, beyond the studios, there are independent production companies that are signatory. They're more mini-studios - they're actually writing checks.

But then to really confuse things, smaller production companies and even studios have signatory and non-signatory divisions. So a seemingly signatory production company can hire you under a non-WGA contract if you're not already WGA.

I think with OP, given what they asked him, it's safe to assume that these are not signatories.
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Old 11-15-2015, 09:03 AM   #14
grumpywriter
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Default Re: Need help understanding what this request means

I'm sorry but this is a flat out "no". DO NOT DO THIS. Politely decline. Even though I am familiar/have dealt with Eclectic and they are legit., I would flat out decline this offer or go back and ask for at least $1000. I'm going through a KIND OF of similar situation right now (see "Week with director, uncompensated?) and although we haven't resolved everything yet, I'm happy I've stood my ground on demanding meaningful compensation and it has not led me to being blacklisted or categorized as "hard to work with." Will tell the full story once it's complete
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Old 11-18-2015, 01:44 PM   #15
asteven50
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Default Re: Need help understanding what this request means

Uh, this is a no.

Basically, it means you don't get paid until the movie gets financing. Which might as well be you don't get paid until the movie gets greenlit. It's insane.
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Old 11-18-2015, 03:11 PM   #16
ManbunShiva
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Default Re: Need help understanding what this request means

Thanks, everyone. Lots of Nay's here. I'm going to banter with them and see if they fork up some token signing amount. my guess is they'll laugh in my face, and throw me out on my ass, but hey...gotta take one for the Writers team!

Will revert soon.
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Old 11-20-2015, 04:46 PM   #17
ScreenwriterGal
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Default Re: Need help understanding what this request means

I am a newbie, so please take what I have to say with a grain of salt.

I just happened to read an article today about optioning off a script and freebies.

According to what I read, it's not good to do anything for FREE. You have to wonder why they can't just option the script and then pay you to rewrite it...I would definitely get a lawyer to read all the fine print.

I mean it is a huge plus that this company has a track record, but do you really want to work for free? Once you work for free, you set a precedent for yourself.

On the other hand, if you choose not to do the rewrite is there a chance that you will lose out on the end?

These are all things you should really discuss with a lawyer, manager or agent.

If you can't get a lawyer, maybe you can contact an agent who will be wiling to rep you now that you have a bite. An experienced agent may be willing to help you out since you have expressed interest. Also, by signing with an agent you may be able to avoid costly legal fees. In addition, many agents have their own lawyers.

Just food for thought. Not legal advice.
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