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WGA News: September 2011

WGAW election results, CBS web contract, and videogame writing awards are among the recent news items issued by WGA branches.

Compiled and Edited by Ray Morton


On September 16, 2011, the Writers Guild of America, West announced the final results of its 2011 WGAW Officers and Board of Directors election.

The following members were elected to serve as Officers: President – Christopher Keyser; Vice President – Howard A. Rodman; Secretary-Treasurer – Carl Gottlieb.The following eight members were elected to the WGAW’s Board of Directors: Billy Ray, David S. Goyer, Dan Wilcox, Linda Burstyn, Carleton Eastlake, Thania St. John, Ian Deitchman, Alfredo Barrios, Jr.

The Officers and Board members will serve for a term of two years, effective immediately.

A total of 2,102 ballots were cast. The ballot count was supervised by Robbin Johnson of Pacific Election Services, Inc., an independent firm.


On August 17, web writer-producers working in television and radio news and promotions at CBS studios in the Los Angeles area ratified their first-ever contract with CBS. The three-year agreement negotiated by the WGAW includes increases in minimums and wages, secures grievance procedures, paid vacations, holiday pay, and health and pension benefits. The agreement also provides language outlining job duties and working conditions, as well as discharge and layoff protections with negotiated severance pay.

“We are proud to represent these talented professionals who write news, promotions, and create special projects for new media at CBS,” said WGAW Representative Lynda Whittaker, who worked closely with the web writer-producers over the past two years. “They showed perseverance and guts in their fight for justice and respect. While the process may have been long, the victory is sweet.”

In late July of 2009, the writer-producers voted unanimously to be represented by the WGAW, in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. Writers from each L.A. CBS location, together with representatives from the WGAW, negotiated the deal over a 15-month period since then.

“We are very excited to be joining our on-air promo peers in becoming part of the WGA. We look forward to this new and prosperous chapter in the Eyelab,” remarked Tammy Kihs, Steward of CBS Eyelab (Promotions and Special Projects).

To celebrate ratification of the new WGAW deal, a series of “Celebration of Solidarity” luncheons hosted by the longtime Guild members of KCAL/KCBS broadcast news, CBS on-air promotions, and KNX radio will be held at each CBS studio location in September.


Recognizing writers as the primary content creators driving today’s videogame industry, the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) have announced a collective call for submissions for the fifth annual Videogame Writing Award.

Submissions for the 2012 WGA Videogame Writing Award may be received from September 6, 2011, through December 1, 2011. WGA videogame nominees will be announced on January 11, 2012, along with New Media Writing Award nominees.

Established by the Guilds’ Videogame Writers Caucus to encourage storytelling excellence in videogames, improve the status of videogame writers, and promote uniform standards within the gaming industry, the WGA Videogame Writing Award recognizes the essential creative contributions videogame writers have made to help create today’s popular videogame titles, as well as the thriving gaming industry in general.

Previous WGA Videogame Writing Award winners include: Dead Head Fred (written by Dave Ellis and Adam Cogan) in 2008, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (writers Haden Blackman, Shawn Pitman, John Stafford and Cameron Suey) in 2009, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (written by Amy Hennig) in 2010, and most recently Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Story by Patrice Desilets, Jeffrey Yohalem, Corey May; Lead Script Writer: Jeffrey Yohalem; Script Writers: Ethan Petty, Nicholas Grimwood, Matt Turner) in 2011.

Qualifications for WGA Videogame Writing Award eligibility include:

  • The award is presented to the writer(s) of the best qualifying script from a videogame published in the previous year. To be eligible for entry, games must have been released between 12/1/10 and 11/30/11. Submission deadline is 5:30 p.m. (PST) on Thursday, December 1, 2011.
  • Work that was not produced under WGA jurisdiction may also be submitted.
  • Submitted games must have separate credit for writing (i.e., Written By, Story By, Writer, Story Designer, etc.). While there is no limit on the number of credited writers a particular game may have, credits not specifically tied to videogame writing are not acceptable (i.e., Lead Designer, Designed By, Produced By, etc.). *Note: Writers of source material are not eligible for awards consideration.
  • All submissions must be made in the name of the credited writer(s), and not the game itself. Scripts may also be submitted by the developer/publisher of the game, or by writer representatives, i.e., agents, managers, and publicists. Entries submitted by anyone other than the writer(s) must include an entry form signed by the submitting writer(s).
  • At the time the script is submitted, credited writer(s) of the game must be, or apply to become, a member of the Guilds’ Videogame Writers Caucus.

Preliminary judging for the Videogame Writing Award will be conducted by panels comprised of Videogame Writers Caucus and/or Writers Guild members active in the videogame writing arena. Final judging will be handled by a panel of writers from the VWC and/or Writers Guild members active in videogame writing.

Further inquiries about the WGA Videogame Writing Award may be directed to Melissa Gage in the WGAW Awards Office at (323) 782-4571, email: or to Dana Weissman in the WGAE Awards Office at (212) 767-7835, email:

The 2012 Writers Guild Awards will be held on Sunday, February 19, 2012, simultaneously at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles and in New York City (venue TBA). For more information about the 2012 Writers Guild Awards submission process, guidelines, and official entry forms, please visit: or