Getting Your Podcast Guild-Covered
If you are negotiating with a large production company or platform…
Covering your podcast is of negligible cost to a large company: there are no minimum terms or residuals for scripted audio contracts, and the company’s only financial obligation is to make pension and health contributions on your behalf. And asking to get your podcast Guild-covered is very low-risk for you, because it has no effect on the reason that the company wants to work with you: the potential of your work to be lucrative. Your request might be denied, but there is little risk beyond that.
If you are in negotiations with a large company, please contact Director of Organizing Justin Molito at email@example.com to discuss how to ask for Guild-coverage and what to communicate to the company. The conversation and its content will be kept strictly confidential.
I am not the only writer working on my scripted podcast. Can it still be Guild-covered?
Yes. If the company employing you becomes signatory to the Guild contract, then all writers working on that project will be covered under that agreement. Solidarity is also a powerful tool in any negotiation: the company is more likely to agree to your request for coverage if you make the demand in unison, so please contact Director of Organizing Justin Molito at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how to talk about Guild coverage with your fellow writers.
If you are producing your podcast through your own production company…
If you are the owner of a production company, your company can become a signatory to the Guild contract. Your writing work will then be Guild-covered, and all of the rights and benefits of a Guild contract will apply to you. For more information on how your production company can become a signatory to the Guild contract, please contact Director of Contract Enforcement and Credits Geoff Betts at email@example.com.
If you are self-producing a low-budget podcast…
The writer/producer must submit a detailed budget and provide proof of payment for their writing fee upon submission of their signatory application. If you have questions on whether your self-produced podcast can be Guild covered, please contact Director of Organizing Justin Molito at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What else should I know about Guild contracts?
The New Media Agreement does not guarantee minimum terms for compensation or residual payments for reuse. Our goal is to first get individual podcasts Guild-covered under the New Media Agreement, and to then, over time, build to a place where the majority of scripted audio is Guild-covered. At that point, writers will be able to exercise real collective power in their industry and start raising the floor on minimums, residuals, and other terms and conditions.
The New Media Agreement does not prohibit writers from negotiating additional favorable terms in their contract, as long as those terms do not undercut or contradict the Guild’s Minimum Basic Agreement. We encourage writers to negotiate for additional pay if the podcast is successful (e.g., a bonus after a defined number of downloads) and for additional rights to derivative work (e.g., intellectual property rights, the right of first refusal, getting hired onto a derivative project, payment if the series is picked up for TV or SVOD, etc.)
If you have received an offer and would like to discuss whether it seems like a standard set of terms, or if you have other questions about the negotiations you are in, please contact Director of Organizing Justin Molito at email@example.com. The conversation and its content will be kept strictly confidential.
Writers pay dues equivalent to 1.5% of their compensation for writing work that is covered under a Guild contract. If you are not yet a Guild member and keep reading to learn more about dues.
I am not a Guild member. Can my scripted podcast be Guild-covered?
Absolutely. What’s more—if you are employed to write a Guild-covered podcast, you will become a Guild member.
What do I need to know about Guild membership?
Writers Guild members pay $40 in quarterly dues, plus 1.5% of their gross WGA earnings. (Writers only pay dues on Guild-covered writing work. For example, you do not pay dues on your directing work for a Guild-covered podcast; you do not pay dues on writing work for a non-Guild podcast; and you do not pay dues on your work as an author/playwright/etc.) New members pay a $1,500 initiation fee that can be paid in full, or through a monthly payment plan.
Guild members have access to a robust slate of programs and events organized by Guild leadership, staff, and members: film screenings, social events, writers’ salons based on affinity groups (e.g., the Women’s Salon, the Black Writers’ Salon), and a wide range of professional development courses and panels. Guild members also receive free film screeners and participate in the annual Writers Guild Awards, and can use the WGA Staffing & Development Platform to set up general meetings, connect with representatives, and access staffing jobs and open writing assignments.