WGA Audio Alliance: About Us

About the WGA Audio Alliance

Who are we?

We are writers of scripted podcasts who are organizing with the Writers Guild of America, East. We are Guild members and non-members; we write everything from high-budget audio fiction produced or financed by large companies to small-budget indie podcasts that we produce ourselves; and we come from all corners of the creative community: the film and television industry, the theater, the literary world, and beyond.

We are committed to centering BIPOC and other underrepresented writers in our organizing, and to making sure that our events are welcoming and safe spaces.

Why are we organizing?

The landscape of audio fiction changed enormously in the last several years: it is of increasing interest not only to large entertainment companies, but also to some of the biggest tech companies in the world. In the face of this enormous sea-change, we are organizing to ensure that writers are treated well and equitably. Writers of high-budget audio fiction should be compensated fairly; should receive high-quality health and retirement benefits for their work; and should receive credit for – and rights to – their work, as well as its derivative material. They should be free from discrimination in their work and compensation, and the scripted podcast industry should be one in which a diversity of voices are given a platform to tell their own stories.

What is the Writers Guild of America, East?

The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing thousands of writers who write and create content for motion pictures, television, news, and digital media. Since 1954, the Guild has negotiated and administered contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members. It is because of decades of organizing and solidarity that writers of film and television have been able to secure strong contracts that provide high-quality benefits, minimum terms for compensation, and creative rights – and it is through organizing and solidarity that writers of scripted podcasts will win these rights and benefits, too.

Organizing 101

What are the benefits of a Guild contract?

Scripted podcasts are covered on an individual basis under the New Media Agreement (a sideletter to the Guild’s master contract, the Minimum Basic Agreement). By signing the Guild’s New Media Agreement, the company employing you agrees to the following:

Fair and Timely Payment

While your writing fee is negotiated directly between you and the show’s producer, the WGA’s Minimum Basic Agreement provides that you must be paid within seven days of delivery of literary material. The Guild can enforce any outstanding payments on your behalf, and can impose late penalties if necessary.

Pension and Health Benefits

All Guild signatory companies must make contributions on your behalf to the Producer-Writers Guild of America Pension Plan and the Writers Guild-Industry Health Fund. If you are paid more than $39,858 over four quarters for writing work covered by Guild contracts, you qualify for one year of high-quality, affordable health benefits (including both individual and family coverage). You can find more information about health and pension benefits here

WGA Credit

The company must follow WGA rules and guidelines in assigning writing credits. The Guild provides a forum for all participating writers to advocate to receive credit when they believe credit is warranted.

Separated rights

The WGA’s Minimum Basic Agreement provides separated rights to the creator of any original new media project. These separated rights will protect your writing credit and trigger passive payments if your scripted podcast winds up becoming a film or television series. For more information, please contact Director of Contract Enforcement Geoff Betts at gbetts@wgaeast.org.

What is the organizing strategy?

When the majority of writers ask that their projects be Guild-covered, the individual action of requesting coverage becomes a collective one. That’s why, in order to organize this growing freelance industry, we need every writer negotiating with a large production company to ask for Guild coverage on their project. Through this collective action, and by getting more and more podcasts covered individually over time, we can put real pressure on production companies to improve standards and conditions in our industry. With new writers coming into the podcast space every day, it is critical that we spread the word about this effort early and often so that all writers know they should ask for Guild coverage in their negotiations.

I write low-budget indie audio fiction. How does this effort affect me?

Our goal is not to interfere with writers’ ability to write and/or produce low- or no-budget podcasts (not least because many of us write and produce indie projects!).

However, covering high-budget scripted podcasts still affects indie creators. While large platforms and production companies initially looked to film, television, theater, and the literary world for new writers, they are increasingly approaching indie audio fiction writers about their work. Writers are often alone in these negotiations with powerful corporations, agencies, and networks, and as a result, they may end up accepting terms and conditions that are well below the industry standard – or that are wholly disadvantageous to the writer.

The Writers Guild of America, East and the WGA Audio Alliance are resources to all writers, whether they’re Guild members or not. If you are negotiating a deal and have questions about standards, or if you want someone to review your contract, please contact Guild Organizer Dana Trentalange at dtrentalange@wgaeast.org. The conversation and its content will be kept strictly confidential.

How can I help?

If you are negotiating with a large production company or platform, ask for your work to be covered under a Guild contract.

Spread the word about the organizing effort — and share this website — with other writers, and follow us on Twitter.

Connect with us online.

If you have an audio fiction writing credit, for a third-party funded or self-produced show, add your name to our Scripted Audio Writers Database to share your work and be connected to potential collaborators and producers.

Tell us about your experience writing scripted podcasts by contacting Guild Organizer Dana Trentalange at dtrentalange@wgaeast.org. The more information the Guild has on the industry, the better able we will be to help writers navigate it. The conversation and its content will be kept strictly confidential.

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