Are you taking full advantage of your WGA membership?
Being a member of the WGA is a great goal that every up-and-coming writer aspires to achieve, but what do you do once you’re in? Sure, you could pay your annual fee because you know that it’s essential to be a working writer in the entertainment industry and then call it a day — however — wouldn’t it be better to get your money’s worth? Here are just a few ways to get the most out of your WGA membership.
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There are many great reasons to be a member of the WGA, but one of the top reasons has to be healthcare. The guild ensures that you are covered with a plan whether you’re working under a contract or not.
When you’re in your 20s, you don’t think as much about getting your teeth cleaned or annual exams as you probably should. But considering the health crises that people find themselves in mid-life because they didn’t take care of themselves, shouldn’t you reconsider how much you’re using your health insurance? If you’re in the WGA, you have solid coverage, so take advantage.
Support and Information
The entire point of a union is to support you in your work. If you’re working on a writing staff that isn’t respecting the rules of the Guild, the union is there to back you up, so you’re not fighting alone. And as more writers enter the guild and the industry changes, the Guild evolves with it through new leadership that will have new information about how the industry is operating to serve their members best.
For those who aren’t members (or even if you are!) the customer support at the WGA is excellent and there to answer any possible questions. So if you want to be in the guild one day and want to know what that entails, you can call them, and they’ll kindly walk you through it or direct you to someone who can.
Events and Resources
There are exclusive panels, screenings, parties, and more available to members throughout the year. You might want to go just because the event covers a niche subject you love, but they’re also a great way to network. Whether you’re looking for work or just love meeting and learning about other writers, these events are a fantastic way to meet people and make the most out of your membership.
For those both in the WGA and not, the WGA library is open to all, whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to write or read up on the genre or television series’ scripts that you’re spec-ing.
Screenings and Awards Votes
You can’t complain about the winners if you don’t vote. And you also can’t properly vote if you haven’t seen all the nominees! The WGA has its own awards show, where no one else involved in the filmmaking process gets a vote (unless they are members of multiple guilds), so you can really honor the best in writing amongst your peers. On top of that, the Guild hosts screenings throughout the year and sends out screeners, so you can be sure to see the film before you vote.
A few years ago, the staffing season was in a bit of trouble thanks to the WGA being in the midst of a negotiation with the AMPTP and advising writers to let go of their agents until the issues were resolved. This led to a rise in how the WGA members used social media to read new and up-and-coming writers. Within the WGA site, a portal was developed, so writers could help find work and learn of new opportunities, and the portal is still going strong. With seasons getting shorter and shorter, a resource like this is essential to keeping the work flowing.
These are just a few of the great reasons the WGA supports its writer, but the strength of the Guild doesn’t end there. If nothing else, the WGA creates camaraderie in the industry among writers, which is a very isolating position. And if you’re paying an annual fee to be a member, you might as well get every ounce of what you’re paying for and then some.