The Writers Guild of America, west puts the H in Hollywood, the T in TV, and the N in new media. It's the West Coast version of the Writers Guild of America and a labor union that represents more than 7,000 writers in the motion picture, broadcast, cable, and new technologies industries. The union, which began in 1921, backs members in contract negotiations and enforcement, oversees credits for films and TV shows, collects and distributes payments for the reuse of movies and TV shows, and conducts educational events. It does not act as an employment agency for writers or recommend them. The WGAw also maintains a registry that covers some 55,000 written works each year, protecting the authors from plagiarism.
Pointing to summer 2008's 100-day writers strike, negotiation costs associated with it, and an operating deficit of more than $2 million, the WGAw made plans in 2009 to cut about 10% of its staff of 185. The Guild also blames its declining investment portfolio and a drop in members' work that's generated by dues.
Members of the WGAw primarily write scripts for movies, TV programs, and live shows. Looking to benefit from the popularity of reality and animation projects, the WGAw in recent years has focused on these segments of the entertainment market. Whether the WGAw's Minimum Basic Agreement, its general contract, applies to unscripted reality TV has been an area of dispute and is one reason the Guild has not gained traction in these areas.
The writer union also boasts its own publication. Written and published by TV and film writers, the guild's Written By magazine spotlights the craft of writing in Hollywood and is open to non-member subscribers. – less