Your Ultimate Guide To Screenwriters Guilds
The noble art of screenwriting is one of the most self satisfying careers that there are. The thrill of seeing your name attached to a screenplay for a great movie or TV series is second to none. But it’s not all trumpets and accolades. For every screenwriter who finally makes the big time, there are hundreds, even thousands of others waiting patiently in the wings for their big moment, and this is where a screenwriters guild can offer great support and encouragement.
So, When we talk about the Screenwriters Guild, it sounds as if we are talking about just one single body. But in actual fact we are talking in general terms. This is because there are many good so called “guilds” that all offer great support and provide great promotional resources for their members. Some of the best known screenwriters’ guilds include:
* The WGA (Writers Guild of America, East West)
* The Screenwriters Guild of America
* The SFA (Screenwriters Federation of America)
* The Writers Guild of Canada
* The International Screenwriters Federation
* The Writers Guild of Great Britain
* The Australian Writers Guild
* The International Affiliation of Writers Guilds (Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland)
As you can see from some the names shown above, you’ll find a screenwriters guild in most countries across the world. But naturally screenwriters tend to join a guild of their own nationality because of the language barrier. Of course if you happen to be multi-lingual, then the choice would be yours, and maybe you wouldn’t limit yourself to just one.
A screenwriters guild is there for the benefits of its members. As well as being a platform where screenwriters from all over the country can congregate with their peers, (whether that is in one physical location, or in a virtual location such as the guild’s website), a guild gives its members the opportunity to compare notes, hold discussions and debates, and enter forums. They also hold competitions which give their screenwriting members a chance to win cash prizes, and to get their screenplays noticed by top industry professionals.
A screenwriters guild can also be active protecting its members rights in a more direct sense; for example by organizing labor strikes such as the screenwriters’ strike of 2007 in the US. The strike lasted for 14 weeks and 2 days before the screenwriters went back to work, having successfully won the right to increase their earnings to make screenwriters wages more equitable alongside other facets of the industry.
A screenwriters guild also offers a number of other useful services to its membership, like protection for the screenplays that you have written. There can be nothing more annoying or frustrating than having your work plagiarized and someone else waking off with all of the plaudits, not to mention the money that is rightfully yours.
Most good guilds and federations also offer member screenwriters a number of tools and resources to assist them in creating new screenplays. You may for example require background information on government procedure and legislation, or medical facts and figures, or some aspect of religious behavior and beliefs. You’ll find many guilds have experts who are on hand to answer questions, or links to online information that can provide the answers you are looking for.
So joining a screenwriters guild can have many benefits that you might not otherwise be able to access quite so easily. By joining one of the unions, it will also give you access to areas that are open to union members only.
It’s a big, tough old world out there, and screenwriting is a very competitive business. A screenwriters guild can give you the support and resources that may make all the difference between career failure or success. So don’t dilly-dally around; get yourself signed up!