Thursday, September 20, 2007

Join the Guild

Are you a member of the UK Writers' Guild?

Yes? Great.

No? Why not?

If you're a professional writer or an aspiring scribe who's committed to a screenwriting career, then you should be a member.

It will come as no surprise to you that writers get treated badly in the business. We're essential to the process but often the bottom of the rung in terms of respect and basic courtesy.

Some common grievances: we don't get paid on time, or we don't get paid at all, and producers use their power over eager writers to get us to work for free. Contracts try to push us out of our basic rights over our material. We do more work than what was agreed or expected. We are constantly overlooked and undervalued.

Admittedly, the UK Writers' Guild doesn't have the same clout or reputation as its US counterpart but that doesn't mean there's no point in joining. The Guild has a committed and passionate team that are dedicated to building a better future for the UK writer. And it can only get stronger with more members. As they say themselves: "The more writers who join us, the stronger we become in our efforts to negotiate better minimum terms agreements, secure better deals as technology develops, and confront difficult and inefficient management."

There are lots of benefits of being a member right now. Check out their website for full details or browse through their blog.

Right now, they're running an incentive to join the Guild where Full and Candidate members win a free gift for every new writer they can persuade to sign up. And, in addition, that writer will also receive a free gift (£20 gift tokens for a variety of outlets).

The Guild says: "if you have any queries about this, or you'd like us to send you some recruitment material and/or the application forms via post, please contact Naomi MacDonald at naomi @ or on 020 7833 0777. Deadline for receipt of applications: 31 December 2007."

So, spread the word, encourage someone to join. This is my shout out to YOU, so if you're not a member, then check out all the details and sign up. You know it makes sense. And tell them I sent you, and let's stack up on those tokens!


Paul Campbell said...

hear, hear.

do it, and do it now.

Elver said...

What does it take to join the guild in terms of published/produced works and such?

And do they accept members from outside the UK?

Danny Stack said...

Hi Elver (HI Paul!)

The Guild's membership breaks down into four categories:-

Full Membership: writers who have at least one professional contract for writing in terms at or above the Writers’ Guild minimum terms.

Candidate Membership: writers who are not eligible for Full Membership but still want to join the Guild and receive a range of benefits.

Student Membership: a special reduced rate for students on an accredited writing course or on attachment with a theatre.

Affiliate Membership: for people who work professionally with writers (e.g. agents).

I'm not sure about outside UK membership but all the above detail is on their website(s) so you should be able to find out more there, or drop Naomi an email/phone call. Cheers.

Jason Arnopp said...

I've been meaning to join for a while, sir, and you've pushed me over the edge. So prepare yourself for a free fondue set from the Writer's Guild!

Andy Goodman said...

I joined the Guild as a Candidate member back in February and they've been nothing but helpful and kind to a new writer with (hindsight) some naive questions. As Danny says, they need new members (in any capacity) and we will all benefit as a result.

Rach said...

An other £20 gift token coming your way. I've been telling myself to do it for ages.

Sal said...

Re "no - why not?"
Because the time I phoned to ask for help and advice about joining, I was treated to a total put down from the most snotty, unhelpful, superior, smug person I have ever encountered. I was made to feel that I was wasting their time and was just some interloper trying to get benefits I wasn't entitled to. So, sorry, but they're not getting my money.

Fiona said...

As a published feature writer and fiction writer I'm a member of the Society of Authors. I have recently started writing for screen, radio and stage - no commissions yet, but I'm hopeful! Society of Authors has a Broadcast division but not stage. What benefits will the Guild give me that the Society doesn't? I've heard most screen writers are with the guild.