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Survival Guide





Survival Guide








New Media


Residuals for Made-for-Theatrical

Motion Pictures

Residuals for Made-for-Television Projects...... 10



DVD Script Publication Fee



i The One-Hour Waiver

Application of Excess

RESIDUALS FOR COMEDY/VARIETY PROJECTS.......... 25 Comedy/Variety Residuals

Residuals for Free Television Reuse of..................

Comedy/Variety Projects

Residuals for Foreign Reuse of

Comedy/Variety Projects

Residuals for Reuse in Other Markets............... 28 RESIDUALS FOR DAYTIME SERIALS



Residuals for Basic Cable Reuse

Residuals for Foreign Reuse

Residuals for Reuse in Other Markets............... 34


MADE-FOR-DVD/VIDEOCASSETTE PROJECTS............ 36 Residuals for Reuse on Pay Television................


Residuals for Reuse in All Other Markets........... 39 RESIDUALS FOR MADE-FOR-PBS PROJECTS.............. 40 RESIDUALS FOR THE USE OF EXCERPTS













Residuals on a Made-for-Theatrical Motion Picture

Residuals on a Made-for-Free Television Project

Residuals on a Made-for-Basic Cable Project....... 59

–  –  –

One of the benefits due credited writers under the Writers Guild Minimum Basic Agreement and the Public TV Freelance Agreement (see page 43) is compensation for the reuse of their material. This compensation is called residuals.

The purpose of this guide is to provide writers with a basic knowledge of residual compensation—what it is, who receives it, and when it is due.

This guide is not a substitute for the Writers Guild of America Theatrical and Television Basic Agreement or Public TV Freelance Agreement (collectively “MBA”).

Please refer to the MBA or Schedule of Minimums for the most current rates.

This guide is not intended to, and does not, alter the provisions of these MBAs in any way. If anything contained herein contradicts these MBAs, the MBA provisions prevail.

PLEASE NOTE that not every use or reuse of your material is covered in this guide. If you have a situation that is not covered in this guide, or if you require more information, please contact the WGAW Residuals Department at (323) 782-4700 or the WGAE at (212) 767-7838.

1 What Are Residuals?

Residuals are compensation paid for the reuse of a credited writer’s work. When you receive credit on produced Guildcovered material, you are entitled to compensation if the material is reused. It is important to understand that the compensation is for reuse, and not the original use. For example, if you are hired to write an episode of a network prime time television series, the compensation you are paid for writing services includes the episode’s initial broadcast. When that episode reruns on a network, in syndication, or in any other market, however, the Company must pay you for that reuse.

Similarly, for theatrical motion pictures, the compensation you are paid for your script, either as a purchase or employment, covers the exhibition of the film theatrically, including all foreign theatrical releases. When your movie is released to other markets, such as DVD/videocassette or pay television, however, you are due residuals.

2 Why Are Writers Entitled to Residuals?

The Guild was founded more than 70 years ago because writers wanted to ensure accurate credits and receive reasonable compensation for their work. At that time, compensation paid to writers covered their initial services and they received nothing further. There were no residuals. Prior to the advent of television, there were no aftermarkets nor other opportunities for use beyond the original release of theatrical films.

The first television residuals provisions were negotiated in a 1953 Guild agreement and were for reuse of programs that were made for television. Residuals were negotiated in the belief that if a program was rerun, then there was less employment for new product.

Residuals for the reuse of theatrical films on television were negotiated and covered in 1960. Generally, writers whose films were produced on or after June 13, 1960 received residuals for the use of these films on free television.

The following is a timeline of selected residuals changes over the years in the MBAs.

First residuals for reuse of made-for-television product; residuals limited to five rerun payments.

First residuals for reuse of theatrical motion pictures on 1960 free television.

Royalty Plan negotiated for worldwide reuse of made-fortelevision product. Foreign use covered for the first time.

3 First foreign fixed residuals for made-for-television 1966 product; Royalty Plan ended.

Residuals paid for nine reruns. (Improvement over previous five rerun MBA formula.) Residuals for home video, pay television, and related 1971 uses (called “supplemental markets”) negotiated for both theatrical and television products.

Fixed residuals extended to perpetuity—no cap on 1977 domestic free television residuals.

Residuals changed for reuse of free television product 1981 on basic cable and for reuse of made-for-pay television and made-for-DVD/videocassette/videodisc products.

Increase in residuals for reuse of free television product on basic cable; residuals negotiated for made-forbasic cable product; waiver formula negotiated for off network reuse of certain one-hour dramatic prime time network series.

Residuals negotiated for reuse of material in interactive 1995 works.

Cap removed on foreign television residuals; foreign 2001 television residuals paid in perpetuity. Increase in residuals for made-for-pay television and made-forbasic cable products. Residuals for reuse of all product on Fox Broadcasting Company paid at network rates effective May 2, 2003. Payment negotiated for right to publish theatrical script on DVD.

Residuals negotiated for new media-EST, new mediarentals and new media-streaming markets (both reuse in new media as well as made-for-new media).

4 Who Receives Residuals?

The credited writer(s) on a produced project receive(s) the residual compensation. Regardless of how much you are paid or what you contribute to the final shooting script on a project, you only receive MBA residuals if you receive writing credit.

The following Guild determined credits generate residuals for

writers under the MBA:

For theatrical motion pictures:

• Written by • Story by • Screen Story by • Screenplay by • Adaptation by • Narration Written by

For television motion pictures, including episodic television:

• Written by • Story by • Television Story by • Teleplay by • Adaptation by • Narration Written by • Created by Residuals for theatrical and television motion pictures, including episodic programs, are allocated as follows: “Written 5 by” — 100%; “Screenplay/Teleplay by”—(if a “Story by” or “Screen/Television Story by” credit is accorded)—75%;

Story by” or “Screen/Television Story by”—25%. In general, if no form of “Story by” credit is accorded, 100% goes to the writer(s) receiving “Screenplay/Teleplay by” credit. The residual for minor credits such as “Adaptation by” is 10%. In that instance, the residual is allocated as follows: “Adaptation by”—10%; “Screenplay/Teleplay by”—65%; “Story by”—25%.

For comedy/variety, serials, and quiz/audience participation


• Written by • Writers • Special Material/Sketch Written by • Writing Supervised by/Head Writer

For television documentaries, news, and public affairs programming:

• Writer • Written by • Documentary Script by • Continuity by • Special Material/Interview Material by • News Staff • Newswriter • Narration Written by • Telescript by • Story by Source material credits, such as “Based on the book by,” are not writing credits that generate residual compensation under

6the MBA. Also, the “Developed by” credit does not generateresiduals.

NOTE: The Guild does not process your residual payment until the writing credits are finally determined. To prevent delays in the processing of your residual payment, if you have written on a project on which principal photography has been completed, and neither you nor your designated representative have received a Notice of Tentative Writing Credits for that project, please immediately contact the WGAW Credits Department at (323) 782-4528 or the WGAE Credits Department at (212) 767-7804.

–  –  –

1. Was your material covered under a Guild contract? (This should almost always be a “yes,” because Guild members are precluded by Working Rule 8 from optioning or selling to, or performing writing services for, a Company that is not signatory to the MBA.)

2. Did you receive a writing credit?

3. If you wrote a theatrical motion picture, was it reused in non-theatrical markets?

4. If you wrote for television, was your project reused in any market?

If the answer is “yes” to the above, it is helpful if you also know

the following:

1. For television programs, for which exhibition market was your project written? (See below for various exhibition markets).

2. What was the date of your employment/acquisition agreement?

3. If you wrote a theatrical motion picture, when did principal photography commence?

8 Exhibition Markets A project may be written for and/or reused in, among others, the

following markets:

1. Theatrical;

2. Free Television, i.e., Network and Syndication;

3. Basic Cable;

4. Foreign;

5. Supplemental Markets, i.e. Pay Television, DVD/videocassette and In-flight; and 6. New Media (EST, Rentals and Streaming) New Media residuals information can be found on the Writers Guild of America, West’s Guide to New Media.

–  –  –

Residuals for Made-for-Theatrical Motion Pictures.

Currently, all residuals due on made-for-theatrical motion pictures are revenue based. This means the residuals due the writer are based on the revenues received by the Company.

The writer is entitled to a percentage of the money the project generated from uses other than any theatrical exploitation. A one-time payment, referred to as the DVD script publication fee, which is not a residual but is paid through the Residuals Department, may also be due (see page 15). With a revenue based residual, your payment will vary depending on how much the Company receives and when the money is received.

It is also important to note that licensing terms may vary from project to project as well.

Residuals for Made-for-Television Projects.

Residuals due for made-for-television projects can be both fixed and revenue based.

Revenue Based Residuals.

Like residuals for theatrical films, a revenue based calculation for made-for-television product pays the credited 10 writer(s) a percentage of the revenues received by the Company. Accordingly, your payment will vary depending on how much the Company receives and when it is received. Specific licensing terms vary from project to project.

Fixed Residuals.

Fixed residuals are set amounts that do not depend on receipts, but are a percentage of a specific base amount.

That base amount, called the “applicable minimum” or the “residual base,” is determined by several factors:

• The type of product (e.g., episodic series, comedy/ variety, documentary);

• The length of the program;

• The contract period of employment or acquisition;

• Whether the project is high or low budget; and • The final, Guild-determined, writing credit.

The Residual Base.

While your initial compensation will vary depending upon the market for which your project is produced, the residual base is a fixed amount that is determined by the length of your project. In most circumstances, the residual base will be the “Other than Network Prime Time” minimum corresponding to the MBA time period in which you were hired and the length of program you were hired to write. Thus, the residual base will be the Other than Network Prime Time minimum even for network prime time programs.

The following example sets forth the residual base for a one-hour dramatic television project for a writer

–  –  –

Once the residual base is determined, a certain percentage of that residual base is due for each rerun on free television. Generally, there is no payment upon the first run of a program, only for reruns. With the exception of network prime time reruns on certain kinds of programs, a decreasing percentage of that base is due for each successive rerun (see pages 16-18 for the percentages).

12Residuals forMade-for-TheatricalMotion Pictures(Example 1, page 55)

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