Writers Guild Reaches Out to Low Budget Indies, Revises Budget Agreement

by James Israel

The Writers Guild of America (East and West), as part of its outreach to low budget indie writers and filmmakers, announced earlier this week that it has revised its one-year-old theatrical Low Budget Agreement. The agreement, which raises the maximum budget level from $750,000 to $1.2 million, is to act as an encouragement for film productions on the cheap to receive the various benefits and protections of the guild. "We believe the market for films in this budget range is growing," said Academy Award-winning screenwriter and WGA member Bill Condon.

Offered to guild members and non-members, the agreement's specific benefits include: complete or partial deferment of the screenplay compensation and the first rewrite, Writers Guild credit, residual and other minimum protections, and eligibility for consideration for Writers Guild Awards. Well-known screenwriter and guild member James Schamus noted in the release that "guild members will now be able to provide their services -- and have all the protections the guild afford -- at the boundaries of this medium's art."