07 January 2011


When you register a script with the Writers Guild of America, that registration is good for five years. Why not forever? Because then they wouldn't be able to send you a reminder asking if you would like to renew the registration and, incidentally, pay them another fee, thanks very much. I usually don't renew because I've mentally moved beyond the scripts I created that long ago. I wrote them, I rewrote them, I showed them to friends, I submitted them places, I rewrote them some more, they ended up going nowhere. They were a crucial step in my evolution as a writer, but they're ancient history, and whatever good I could wring out of them now with a thorough rewrite might be better used in a completely new script.

But I haven't had any new scripts as of late, not of the feature-length, write-register-and-submit variety. I've been too busy writing and producing stuff I could do with my collaborators on small budgets and completely neglecting the submitting aspects of my screenwriting career. In the past few months I had an epiphany: "You know, you can still write new scripts and submit them WHILE ALSO doing your low budget stuff." It was one of those "Uh, yeah, of course, you idiot" observations we sometimes have to make to ourselves because we are dumb.

So I got to work. I assumed all of my old feature scripts were either obsolete or already claimed by friendly filmmakers. I hemmed, I hawed, I combated creative blocks, I bitched and moaned, I wrote a couple new scripts. I got ready to rewrite them into "Official First Drafts" I can start submitting to production companies and agencies.

And then yesterday I got one of my reminders from the Writers Guild. "Hi, Asshole," it said. "Remember me?" I did indeed. It was for a script I don't even consider to be mine and, legally speaking, it's not. I wrote it for a producer based on his original idea. It ended up being shelved for whatever reason and never looked at again. The reminder awakened a few memories of the "Goddamn, has it been five years already? It seems so recently" variety. Which then led to "If it doesn't seem that long ago, maybe the other stuff I wrote back then is worth taking a look at."

Uh, yeah, of course, you idiot.

As it turns out, I've written a lot in the intervening years. Not all of it complete, not all of it worthy of being taken up again, not all of it solely mine and therefore not able to be submitted. But there's enough. And for once, I decided to forgo abandoning my past in favor of salvaging it. Over the next few months, I'm going to be reviewing some of my past scripts and seeing what needs to be changed, what needs to be updated, what is worth saving, and what is beyond salvation. At the same time, I'm going to be working on some new stuff, and will eventually have a portfolio of solid work I can show off to all the Hollywood hotshots who can't manage to shut the door on my foot.

I'm going to try to be better about updating here too. Whenever I need to rant about something, or promote a completed project, or maybe even show off something I wrote long ago but can't rework, I'll write a new post. But if things are (even more) quiet around here the next few months, you'll know why. I'm busy trying to get my dreams to pay off. Preferably in cash money. Wish me luck.


  1. Out of pure curiosity, what is the fee to register, and re-register, a script with the WGA? I'm sure I can find this easily enough, but that would mean wasting my time tracking down the info, and I'd much rather waste your time instead in having you inform me.

  2. $10.00 for members, $20.00 for nonmembers. I assume the fee is the same for re-registration.