For years, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has set the terms for how much money writers can earn from their work. While most individuals may look at the WGA as the representative of screenwriters in the U.S., the guild actually covers a wide array of screenwriters from around the world. Despite this, the WGA has maintained a consistent system of payment for its members so that even writers from different countries may know what to expect. Many countries, including the U.S., have alternative organizations that set their own standards for screenwriting compensation; however, for the most part, the WGA remains the gold standard among accepted organizations.
What Is a Screenplay?
A screenplay is a movie or television program that has been both written and approved by its author(s) – known as “the writer.” Once the writer has finished their work, the screenplay is passed along to an editor who polishes it, checks for spelling errors, and makes sure that the story flows smoothly from one scene to the next. After the editor has done their work, the screenplay is ready to be cast and filmed.
What Is a “Non-WGA” Screenplay?
A non-WGA screenplay is any screenplay that is not part of the WGA system. These are usually work-for-hire projects, meaning the writer was paid for their work regardless of whether or not the work was ever considered for publishing under the WGA banner. The majority of non-WGA screenplays are adaptations – either from another medium or from another source material – with only a small percentage of the total being original works by the writer themselves.
In the event that a film or show is made from a non-WGA screenplay, the author(s) of the work may not be compensated for their involvement. The reason for this is that the WGA sees their role as protecting the interests of the screenwriter – protecting their rights and ensuring they earn a reasonable paycheck for their work. For this reason, the WGA does not allow authorship on any project where the writer does not control the “story and character” of the work – in other words, where the author does not have a say in how they are portrayed on screen.
How Much Should I Be Paid For A Non-WGA Screenplay?
The pay for non-WGA screenplays varies widely, but is usually based on the budget of the project and the size of the script. The vast majority of the time, the WGA does not require its members to be paid for their work on non-WGA projects because the guild assumes that the author will be compensated financially for their work. However, if the non-WGA project is considered “high-end,” the WGA may require some type of residual payment or participation in the profit of the film or show. In this case, the membership fee for the WGA may be waived.
What Should I Look Forward To After Completing A Non-WGA Screenplay?
Once you have completed a non-WGA screenplay, the sky is the limit as to what you can do next. You can pitch your work to publishers or film producers for consideration, you can seek representation, or you can even sell the screenplay yourself. Even if your work is not chosen for any of these stages, you can still end up being financially rewarded for your efforts – provided you follow the right procedures.
To begin with, ensure that your agent is registered with the WGA and handled by an experienced professional. You should also consider paying for coverage in the press as well as for ads on social media to have your script considered for publication. Finally, make sure to follow the proper procedures for submitting your non-WGA screenplay for consideration by a film or television studio. The steps you should take will be different depending on whether or not the studio option you are pitching to is in a different country or territory than where you live. For more information, please visit the WGA website at https://www.wgatip.com/.