While You Are Writing

What Do I Put On the Cover Page?

Guild rules require that until the final determination of credits, the cover page of each piece of material include the name of the first writer followed by the word "revisions" and then the names of all subsequent writers. If you are a subsequent writer then indicate your contributions by putting the words "current revisions by" followed by your name and the date the material is submitted to the company. Do not remove the names of earlier writers even if you believe that not one word of their material remains in your draft. The cover page may not necessarily reflect the appropriate writing credits for the film. It simply is intended to reflect which writers have worked on a project. The final credits will be determined by the Guild at the end of production. If you would like a sample cover page, please contact the Credits Department (212) 767-7804 or download it now.

Keep A Copy of All Material Submitted and Deliver Your Filmography With Your Final Draft

If there is a credit arbitration, the Arbitration Committee can consider only literary material that was submitted to the company or an authorized representative of the company. In some cases a producer or director will be the company’s authorized representative. A writer is sometimes required to show proof that one or more pieces of material were delivered to the company – months or even years after the fact. Therefore, keep copies of all your materials and accurate records of delivery dates. When delivering material to the company, be sure to attach a cover memo or letter with the name of the person to whom you are submitting materials, the date of delivery and a description of the material. If you transfer material electronically, include this information in a "cover e-mail." Do not rely on registering your material with the Guild to meet this record-keeping requirement. Guild Registration of your material may help to establish if and when you wrote something, but it won’t prove that you delivered a story or script to the company. Also, when delivering your draft to the company, please remember to include a copy of your filmography. This will help to ensure that your filmography is included in publicity materials if you receive writing credit.

Writing Teams

The MBA defines a team as two writers who have been assigned at about the same time to the same material and who work together for approximately the same length of time on the material. When it comes to credit, writing partners cannot divide their joint work into separate material written alone. The MBA does not permit more than two writers to work as a team unless the Guild has granted a waiver prior to commencement of writing services, or certain economic minimums are increased in cases of bona fide 3-person teams.

If one member of the team is a production executive (director or producer), then there must be a collaboration agreement under terms approved by the Guild. In addition, the production executive may be required to fill out certain forms with the Guild. Please note that a production executive who gives instructions, suggestions or directions, whether oral or written, to a writer regarding the literary material generally does not fall under the MBA definition of a writer. You should recognize that you have a choice in accepting work as part of a writing team. If you question the validity of the team collaboration, it is strongly recommended that you do so by contacting the Guild’s Credits Department at the time the writing is being performed. The Guild will not divulge your objection to the other person in the claimed team, or to the employer, without your consent. Do not wait until the time when the Guild is determining the credits to raise your objection.