A little note about the @WGAWest, and the importance of unions.

Three years ago I was brought onboard to adapt a COOL COMIC PROJECT. Before pitching to networks, a FINANCIER (of several big movies and tv shows) wanted to scoop it up and have me spec it. (1/14)
Exciting! I was going to be paid to write something I loved, then we'd go out to networks and sell it as a "package." Deals were made, we talked about the story of the pilot, and I was off to outline. Hurray! (2)
I write an outline. Get notes. Turn those around. Was sent to script. I write a script I loved (still do! It's really cool), got notes on it. Felt like I had to fight a lot of them off. Do another draft. Everyone is happy and *agrees this is the draft to try to sell* (3)
A few networks are interested, want to hear more. I put together a pitch for the show and the season, we pitch it... *crickets* Everyone passes. I'm super bummed, felt like I got one right on the chin. (4)
I haven't been paid yet. So I get my agents (at A BIG AND FANCY AGENCY) to get my money. They do. I get the check... and it's missing 20% of what was agreed upon. (5)
I'm confused. I call up my FANCY AGENTS: wtf? They "get into it." A day later they call back: apparently FINANCIER is saying I didn't complete all the steps in my deal.

They're technically right. I didn't. I had one step left. (6)
But everyone (and I want to stress everyone) agreed the last draft I did was the *final draft*. It went out to networks and they passed. Therefore, my deal is complete. So... you know, pay me? (7)
My agents "get into it again." Days and weeks go by. Occasionally I'd get a call or email saying: they agreed to pay you, hold tight.

The check never comes.


Nothing my FANCY AGENTS at the FANCY AGENCY or my lawyer could do. I never received a check.

I was being robbed of 20% of the money on work I'd done in good faith. (9)
I figured I should just forget about it - what was I going to do? Then the @WGAWest campaign against the agencies start. One of the things the campaign is about is receiving contracts so they can monitor late pay -- in fact, they had a whole department set up for it. (10)
I didn't know the WGA had such a thing. Honestly. I didn't. I'd been a working tv writer for a decade and had no idea. So I contact them. Might as well, right? I send them my contact. (11)
They are super nice and thoughtful and they FILE A MOTHERFUCKING GRIEVANCE against the FINANCIER.

I don't hear much for the next year -- except that they were putting together their case and will sue if they need to. (12)
Then, out of the blue, an email. They settled with the FINANCIER...



So instead of 20% it's now near 30%

Oh, and the contribution they should've made to my health insurance and pension plan on that 20%? They owed interest on that too.

Is there a lesson in all of this? ABSO FUCKING LUTELY there is:

Submit your contracts to the @WGAWest. No one else will fight like they will. (14)

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