WGA Minimums: How Much Should You Get Paid for Your Script?

The WGA minimums, or schedule of minimums, say how much you should get paid. So you better know them! 

Welcome to the world of professional screenwriting for film and television. Thanks to a lot of hard work and organizing, you have a union that has your back. The WGA helps set forth policies that govern how you get paid, when you get paid, and what you get paid. 

Sounds good? 

It's is good.

These prices are listed in the WGA Schedule of Minimums

What are the WGA minimums I can get paid? 

First, congratulations on being in the WGA. If you're not in the WGA, these numbers don't reflect what your contract will look like. But keep reading, because these are the numbers you're striving to get and they can be very useful if you have to negotiate your own prices. 

I'm not in the WGA, but when I work with bigger companies, I know my reps like to use this stuff to push me closer to getting enough points toward getting into the WGA. But more on that in another post. 

Let's take a look at a few pages from the WGA Schedule of Minimums to see what's in store. 

WGA Schedule of Minimums
WGA Schedule of Minimums
WGA Schedule of Minimums

For example, an original spec screenplay’s purchase price as of 2017 is as follows:

  • For a LOW budget film which is budgeted at less than $5 million, the script must be purchased for $72,662
  • For a HIGH budget film which is budgeted at $5 million or more, the script must be purchased for $136,413 
  • Company may option material from a “professional writer” for a period of up to 18 months upon payment of not less than 10% of minimum. Each renewal period of up to 18 months requires payment of not less than an additional 10% of minimum.

What else will the WGA Minimums cover? 

Every job you get writing something, whether it be a treatment, outline, or rewrite, has a rate referred to in the WGA contract. They are negotiated and determined by the WGA, and change every few years. Now that we have lots of different platforms like streamers, cable, and network, these numbers will continue to change. 

The union will continue to have your back and help you as you go. So feel free to reach out to them for more answers. 

To see the current WGA schedule of minimums you can download them from the WGA’s website

What's next? How long will it take to write a screenplay

Maybe this is your first foray into the trade, or maybe you're stuck on act two and want to give up, but we've all asked "how long does it take to write a screenplay" at one point or another. So...how long will it take to finish your script? 

Click the link to find out!      

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