Caucus Forms To Support Game Writers

A New Media Writers Caucus has been formed by the Writers Guild of America, west to address the professional needs of writers working in this area of entertainment.

"There are now three major categories of screen-based entertainment: TV,
movies, and games," said WGAw secretary-treasurer Patric Verrone. "We feel that new media writers and writer-designers deserve the same support and recognition that the guild offers other professional screenwriters."

The Caucus launch party will be held on October 14, 2004, at 7 p.m. at WGAw headquarters: 7000 West Third Street, Los Angeles, including a demonstration of the online New Media Writers Directory.

By using the Guild’s special contracts for new media work, Caucus members can earn health and pension benefits and the chance for full membership. They are also eligible to be included in the guild’s new online Directory of New Media Writers, which promises to become a vital resource for new media producers seeking top-level writers and writer-designers. The Caucus also plans to host upcoming promotional and educational events to bring professional screenwriters together with new media producers.

With Sony PlayStations in an estimated 70 million households, and Microsoft’s X-Box closing the gap, the 15-billion-dollar videogame industry is comparable to the film and TV industries the guild has traditionally covered. Representing more than 9,000 film and television writers in collective bargaining with producers, the WGAw has worked tirelessly over
the years to achieve benefits for writers, including health and pension plans.

With the growing interdependence of films and games – for every Tomb Raider that becomes a film franchise, a dozen videogame versions of movies are released for the console or PC – the guild recognizes the marketplace is growing in importance to writers. After all, some of the biggest game releases of the last few years were written by WGA members, including the best-selling James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, Enter the Matrix, and
The Chronicles of Riddick, as well as videogame versions of such TV blockbusters as Law & Order.

In addition to video games, many other forms of new media offer opportunities to professional writers, including material developed for the web, wireless devices, virtual reality, and interactive TV. The WGAw’ s new Caucus will also encourage writers working in these fields to become members. The New Media Writers Caucus follows in the footsteps of the guild’s Animation, Non-Fiction, and Independent Film Caucuses, offering the WGAw’s Associate Member status to writers who have worked on a produced game, made-for-Internet program, or other new media project.

All New Media writers interested in joining the Caucus, or who wish to know more about the Writers Guild, are invited to contact John Koch at (323) 782-4511, or to write to newmedia@wga.org.

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