Getting Started with the Start Button

Getting Started with the Start Button


Congratulations! You’ve just been hired to write a script. It could be a feature or a pilot, an original, or a rewrite. Now it’s time to get started on your draft. But what is a draft? Well, it’s obviously a document. It’s a bunch of pages that you’re planning to write, but it’s also a chunk of time. It’s the weeks and months you’re going to spend writing that draft Let’s think about the work on a timeline. At one point you’re going to start writing. And at one point in the future, you’re going to deliver that draft. Well, you’re going to deliver it to somebody. What happens all too often is that they ask you to do just a little more work and a little more and a little more… At some point you need to get paid. That’s the end of your work on this draft. Writers in these situations are dealing with two problems. The first is unpaid rewrites. All these additional times you’re turning in the script, you’re not going to be paid for those. The producers in the studio, they’re getting free work out of you. The second problem could be late payment. You’ve handed in your script, but has the check actually arrived? Luckily, if you’re writing under a WGA contract you have a union to back you up. The WGA can say to your employer, “Hey this writer delivered. It’s time to pay them.” Because what we want is to get back to that simple idea that you start writing a draft and then you deliver a draft in the time frame that’s in your contract One way you can help is by using the Start Button. You find it on your WGA profile page or by visiting my.WGA.org/sb. Here’s what it looks like. Whether you’re using it on your phone or on your computer, you’ll see three buttons. You can update an existing project, create a new project, or go back to the main myWGA page Let’s create a new project. There are three things you need to fill out. First, the working title of the project. Let’s say it’s a sequel to Jumanji called Jumanjopolis. It’s for Columbia Pictures. It’s a rewrite and I’ve got eight weeks and then I click on the Start Button. I’m done. That’s literally all you have to do. What happens next is that the WGA creates a record of the project and will send you a reminder in 8 weeks to check on the status of the project. That’s your chance to say, “All’s good!” or “There’s a problem.” Are you being asked to do unpaid rewrites or are you being paid late? A representative for the WGA can check in with you to see what’s going on. If necessary, they can even file a late pay claim on your behalf. Once you’ve created a project using the Start Button, you can do a few other things by clicking Update Project. You can upload your writing contract. You can record that you delivered. You can also start on another draft. The Start Button is designed to help you get paid for your writing. It works best when everyone uses it. So try it on your next project. Thanks!

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

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