Writers receive credits for the writing they have completed on any works. These credits are assigned, with agreement of the writer, by the Producer and are laid out in the Writers Agreement. It is important for writers to ensure they are credited correctly for they work they complete. This means having an agreement in place prior to starting any writing work.
Following are some of the standard ways in which credits are assigned.
If the Script is an original work created by the Author then the credit shall begin with the words “Written by”. If the Script is based on an original work created by another party, then the credit shall begin with the words “Screenplay by”.
If the Author is the sole contributor to the Script the credit shall be as follows:
“[Screenplay/Written] by [Author’s name]”
If the Author’s engagement is terminated for any reason or the Producer engages another person who contributes to the Script and the percentage contribution of the Author to the Script is 50% or greater, then the Author agrees to share the credit as follows:
“[Screenplay/Written] by [Author’s name] and [other contributor’s name]”
If the Author’s engagement is terminated for any reason or the Producer engages another person who contributes to the Script and the percentage contribution of the Author is less than 50%, then the Author agrees to share the credit as follows:
“[Screenplay/Written] by [other contributor’s name] and [Author’s name]”
How do you know what your writing credit will be?
Producers can’t guarantee a writing credit upfront, because other writers may also work on the script and their involvement may alter the credit you receive. The process for checking your credit, is that prior to the first day of principal photography the Producer will provide the writer with a copy of the Shooting Script. The writer shall, within a reasonable period of being provided with the Shooting Script, advise the Producer in writing whether the writer wishes to have their name removed from the credits and/or publicity and/or promotional material associated with the Film or wishes to use an alternate name in such credits and/or materials.
What happens if your credit isn’t accurate?
Your contract should allow for you to receive an appropriate credit and contain credit arbitration provisions. That way any credit issue can be sorted out at the end of the writing process. If you cannot agree to the credit offered by the Producer, the NZWG offers members a credit arbitration service.