How To Register a Screenplay with the WGA Registry

Writing is a passion for most people. Whether it is for work or leisure, it is a great outlet to show off one’s creativity and talent. While writing does not come natural for everyone, it sure gets easy to learn how through dedication and time.

Are you the type of person who indulges in creative writing?  If so, then why don’t you start writing a screenplay?  A screenplay is a form of work that you can sell to movie and television show producers. It can either be based on real events or purely fictional and what ultimately brings a movie or a television show to life. There are two types of screenplay: speculative and commissioned. A speculative screenplay is a screenplay that is made for leisure while a commissioned one is not, meaning, the author gets paid to write it. Whether you get paid or not though, it is extremely important for you to register your script to protect not only your work but also your rights as its owner as well.

Here are steps to show you how.

  • Register your screenplay. The Writer’s Guild of America is a labor union that processes script and screenplay registrations. Depending on your current location, it has two affiliations that you can choose from: The Writers Guild of America-West (WGAW) and The Writers Guild of America-East (WGAE). Choose WGAW if your area is within west of the Mississippi like Hollywood or WGAE if you are living elsewhere. Registering your screenplay in either of these two will protect your work from being read or used without your consent.

    There are three ways to register: in person, by mail or online. Follow these steps. Once your screenplay has been received, you will be given a numbered certificate that will serve as the official documentation of registration.

  • Registering by mail/in person.
    • For WGAW writer:  Visit the Writers Guild of America-West website at Choose the “Register by mail” tab and click the “title page” button to download the registration form. Complete the form and write a check for $20 as registration fee ($10 for members). Have the check made payable to WGAW Registry. Mail or deliver at the WGAW office at 7000 W. Third Street, Los Angeles, California 90048, along with the form and an unbound copy of your work printed on a size 8 ½” x 11” paper.

      You can also call its hotline at 323-7824500 for inquiries. Their business hours are from 9:30am-5:30pm open from Monday to Friday. As added convenience, they also have a 24-hour drop box in their main lobby.

    • For WGAE writer:  Request for a registration envelope from the WGAE office by sending a standard self-addressed stamped envelope with a postage of $1.05 to their business address at 250 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10013. Once you receive your registration envelope, complete it and attach it with an unbound copy of your work printed on a size 8 ½ x 11 paper. Mail or deliver it at the address above, along with a certified check of $22 as registration fee ($10 for members and $17 for students with ID) which is made payable to WGAEast Inc.

      You can also call its script registration department at 212-7677801. They are open from 9:30am-4:30pm, Monday to Friday.

  • Registering online. Simply visit the appropriate website and complete the registration form. Indicate credit card information for payment.

And there you have it, a complete guide to help you register your screenplay. Good luck and who knows, you just might be the next Cameron Crowe!


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