Established in 1954 after a long history as the Screenwriter’s Guild, this guild has been a tremendous force behind the writer’s that produce multiple forms of entertainment including motion pictures and television programming.
The first step in joining the Writer’s Guild is actually becoming a writer. You do not need any official degree to become a published writer, but the more knowledge and experience you have, the better chances you have of being successful.
There are two forms of membership to guild and most writers seek the “Current Membership." To join this, you must pay a fee of $2,500 and have 24 earned units (explained below).
The other member is the “Associate Membership” and to join under this method, you must pay $75.00 per year and have less than 24 units.
Units are acquired through a number of different means and they vary depending on what type of writing you do.
You can earn the complete membership and 24 units by having one 90 page screenplay sold. You cannot simply write a screenplay and then get the units, the screenplay has to be sold to a production company that works with the WGA and many of them do.
The sales of screenplays have many different options, so if your screenplay does not just right out sell, there are other things that can be considered to earn units. For example, a screenplay option will earn you half of the 24 units to help gain membership. Two optioned screenplays will give you a “Current Membership."
Another way to gain units is by working for television. For every half hour show that you help write or create, you will receive 6 units towards your membership.
Longer or shorter shows vary on the amount of units you receive so you need to check the WGA website for more information.
Once you have completed all of the units that are required, you can apply to become a member of the WGA by going to their website or calling the company.