We know we cannot replace agents. There will be difficult moments. Our industry will not grind to a halt.
Studios and producers will still need writers. Writers on staff and working on projects will still go to work. Feature scripts will still get sold, and TV shows will still get staffed. Our ideas and our words will still have enormous value, and the work we all love to do will continue.
And there will be agencies that will sign the Code of Conduct.
THE PLAN, SUMMARIZED
Fundamentally, agents provide three things: access, negotiation, and advocacy.
The Guild has launched two online tools to provide access, both for writers looking for work, and for producers and executives looking for writers. For negotiation assistance, members who don’t have other representation and need to make an overscale deal will need to find an attorney and can contact the Guild for assistance.
The Guild is supporting the efforts of members who are stepping up to advocate for each other. Many writers, including showrunners, have offered to provide references for writers they have worked with in the past, and writers are organized through the Guild’s captains and committee structures. In addition, writers are expanding existing informal networks to support each other in this time.
In success, these tools and networks will continue to support the entire membership long after the agency struggle is resolved.
For screenwriters, we have focused our efforts on the “Find a Writer” directory. For television staffing, the Guild has developed a Staffing Submission System. And the showrunner community is organizing a temporary support network.
All writers are being asked to step up and help their fellow Guild members by committing to do more of what many do anyway: providing an introduction and reference for writers who previously worked for them.
As every writer knows, a personal recommendation from a fellow writer can be the best way to land the job.
In addition, showrunners currently staffing are being asked to commit to accepting and reading submissions via the Guild’s online system. They are also being asked to recommend writers who have been on their staffs to other showrunners, and to make use of the staffing grids provided by pods, studios and networks. Guild members who are theatrical and non-writing TV producers should also be proactive about looking out for their fellow writers. All are encouraged to consider writers from historically under-represented groups that might be disadvantaged in a time of increased reliance on connections and social networks.
Writers are organizing through the Guild’s captains, committee, and mentor structures. In addition, writers are expanding existing informal networks or organizing new ones. If you aren’t yet part of a team or group, or need particular support, please email Agency Agreement.
Staffing Submission System
After April 6, staffing season will be in full swing. To ensure that writers seeking employment have a way to get their samples in front of showrunners with jobs to fill, the Guild has created a simple tool that allows writers to submit directly: the Staffing Submission System has a page for each show that is hiring. Showrunners can list their specific needs, or they may be open to all submissions. Members in Current status are able to submit themselves to up to three shows, uploading a cover letter, a credits/bio page, a list of references, and sample scripts, along with any credentials that make the writer uniquely suited to the show. Showrunners can receive these submissions in an easily searchable and sortable database, allowing writers and showrunners to connect directly. Showrunners are registering their shows on an ongoing basis. Here is the showrunner registration link.
The Staffing Submission System is open to all Current members but if you have a submitting franchised agent, lawyer, or manager, those may be the stronger options for you. Please consider working through your existing reps so that members without other access can have a better shot at being read through the online system.
Weekly Feature Memo
Every Friday, the Guild will send out a Weekly Feature Memo (WFM) of available specs and pitches to producers and development execs, via a subscription email.
Writers submit their loglines to the Guild. They will be organized by genre. Any producer wanting to read the spec, hear the pitch, or set a general meeting will be able to contact the writer via a link to the Find a Writer directory.
The Weekly Feature Memo is available to Current and Privisional Members. Submissions received by 3pm Eastern / 12pm Pacific on Wednesday will be sent out each Friday (except for holiday weekends) and submissions after that will be held for the following week. Submission of your logline to the Guild and our circulation of it in the WFM serves as documentation of your creation of the concept. Each writer may make two submissions per month. Please do not resubmit a spec or pitch. We’ll keep the three most recent editions of the WFM live for producers and executives to review.
Find a Writer Directory
This is the link to the Find a Writer (FAW) directory. It does exactly what its name says: helps employers find a writer by providing a searchable directory with contact information. Originally developed at the request of the Inclusion and Equity Committees, the Find a Writer directory can serve all writers.
Its principal aim is enabling potential employers to contact a writer whose name they already know. For example, producers who have open writing assignments, or who are looking to develop material, may want to contact a specific writer. They can do so easily with FAW.
In addition, it allows searches by various criteria such as gender, ethnicity, orientation, credit, and expertise.
But like any database, it’s only as good as the data we put into it. The Guild urges members to complete the Find A Writer submission form. Members are encouraged to provide personal contact information and contacts for business representatives, along with demographic information and work experience. The more information provided on the submission form – and it is all optional, the more robust a Find A Writer profile will be in searches.
If you have any questions about Find A Writer, please email the Guild at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Black List
The Black List is a platform for writers to showcase their work to industry professionals looking for content, including producers, financiers, directors and actors, regardless of your representation status. WGAE members can create a Black List profile to list their script information for free and receive a discount on script hosting. For more information, visit https://blcklst.com/.
Contact with Producers/Studio Executives
If and when the Code of Conduct is implemented and after the membership is notified, the WGA will send out a notice to all signatory companies and producers telling them about the tools we have available and how to access them.
To help writers contact producers and executives, the Guild has arranged a discount on IMDbPro. To redeem the 30% discount off the $20/month retail price, go to www.imdbpro.com/redeem and enter WGADISCOUNT. The account starts with a free month.
Also, if you’re having trouble finding contact information for a specific company or individual, contact the Guild for assistance.
My question wasn’t answered here or I want to talk to Guild staff. Where do I go?
If you have a question specific to your situation and need more help, please email Geoff Betts (email@example.com)