Frequently Asked Questions
1. What’s the difference between the Associate and Member levels?
In 2010, the Guild’s Council voted to revise the categories of membership to more accurately reflect the landscape of American theatre today. There are now two levels of membership, Member and Associate.
To qualify for the new Member level, a writer must have either had work professionally produced or published by an established publisher. Professional production is no longer defined by the size of the theatre but simply by whether tickets were sold to the public.
All playwrights, composers, lyricists and librettists interested in Guild membership, but who do not meet one of the above criteria, may join at the Associate level.
There is no longer a Student level of membership, however, those students enrolled in a full-time degree program in theatre are eligible for a 50% discount on either the Associate or the Member level memberships, depending on their experience.
All the benefits of Guild membership are enjoyed by all members regardless of membership level, save two which are reserved exclusively for those at the Member level. They are:
1. The right to vote for and run to serve on the Guild’s governing Council. Elections are held each January. For more information on Council elections, please contact Amy VonVett, Executive Assistant to Business Affairs.
2. A fully-editable online Member Profile on the Guild’s website where one can post a bio, picture, a complete list of works including synopses, scripts and mp3s for download. For more information on the Member Profiles, consult the online video tutorial.
2. How many invoices do I receive before I'm dropped?
Your membership expiration date is the last day of the month in which you joined the Guild. Invoices are sent out the first week of each month. Your first invoice is mailed the month before your due date, and you will continue to receive a monthly invoice until the bill is paid or until your membership is dropped. Failure to pay dues will result in your membership being dropped at which point all benefits of membership cease until you rejoin the Guild. Dropped members may only rejoin by phoning the Guild offices and providing payment information. A dropped member may not rejoin online as member log-in is switched off automatically once a membership has been dropped from the system.
3. I paid my dues, why haven't I received my membership card?
Membership cards are printed and mailed via U.S. Priority mail twice each month. If you joined the Guild or renewed, we ask that you allow at least two weeks before calling the Guild offices to inquire about your card. Please allow 7-10 business days for full processing of new membership applications.
4. If my membership has expired for a period of time, do I have to pay back dues in order to rejoin?
No – only the current membership dues. If you have an outstanding balance from a partial payment, however, that amount will be added to your invoice and you will need to pay the full amount to renew your membership.
5. Do I have to complete another application in order to renew my membership?
As long as you remain a member in good standing you need not submit any additional materials to renew. However, those members whose memberships have been dropped must call the Guild offices to rejoin the Guild. No additional materials are required to rejoin, however we ask that you call the Guild’s offices to ensure that all your contact information is up-to-date.
6. How do I find out about health insurance?
More information coming soon.
7. Can the staff of the Guild help me get tickets to Broadway shows?
Complimentary and Discount Tickets to a variety of New York productions are sometimes made available to members of the Guild via email newsletters. Information regarding ongoing discounts to regional theatres outside the New York area can be found in the Members Only area of the Guild’s site.
8. How do I receive Emergency Funds from the Dramatists Guild Fund?
The Dramatists Guild Fund provides financial aid to professional dramatists experiencing personal hardships such as health-related problems or the temporary loss of income. The Fund is also interested in helping older dramatic writers who are ill, uninsured, or whose royalties have dried up. The Fund does not offer scholarships or subsidize writing project. For more information on the Dramatists Guild Fund, click here.
9. As a member of the Dramatists Guild, am I also a member of the Authors Guild?
No. When you apply for membership in The Dramatists Guild, you are also applying for membership in The Authors League. The Authors Guild is the professional association for novelists, short story writers, and poets. For an application, call 212-563-5904.
10. What is the Authors League?
The Authors League serves as the umbrella organization for both The Dramatists Guild of America and the Authors Guild, allowing a collective voice in issues of censorship, copyright and lobbying in Washington, D.C. As a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, you are also a member of the Authors League.
11. Does the Guild provide script templates?
These templates are provided as guides to help you in making your scripts conform to industry standards. They are meant to guide, not to rule. If the demands of your play or musical require something slightly different in terms of how the words are placed on the page, that’s your determination to make. Ultimately, every choice you make in terms of punctuation, font size and layout on the page should answer to one common goal: ease of understanding. Make choices that help the reader to understand your theatrical intent.
Traditional Play Format
Modern Play Format
1. What is the difference between "business advice" and "legal advice"?
The Guild offers business advice to its members, not legal advice.
Business advice includes, among other things, reviewing members’ unsigned contracts, advising them on relevant industry standards, explaining the inner workings of theatrical business relationships, assisting in the use of the Guild’s model contracts, and advising on how to register a copyright or submit to a festival. Legal advice involves, among other things, reviewing signed contracts, explaining the rights and obligations of the parties under an agreement, as well as speaking to or negotiating with others on behalf of an individual.
While Guild lawyers can explain general legal concepts and principles, they are not permitted to provide a legal opinion as to a member’s particular rights and obligations under the law.
2. How do I get business advice from the Guild?
Every Guild member has access to the Business Affairs department. Members can reach the department by phone (212-398-9366), by fax (212-244-0420), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by filling out the form on the Business Affairs Help page. One of the Guild attorneys will contact you in a timely fashion to answer your question.
3. How do I find an attorney?
The Guild’s Resource Directory—updated annually—contains a list of attorneys who specialize in entertainment law. In addition, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (www.vlany.org) connects artists to legal professionals and educates them about their legal rights and responsibilities. Many websites, such as www.findlaw.com and www.martindale.com, provide free, searchable databases of legal professionals. Additionally, as a Guild member you have access to our list of legal aid avenues in our “10 City Legal Aid Guide.”
1. Which Guild contract do I need?
The Guild’s model agreements contain the minimum standard terms promulgated for authors’ contracts. Always modify the forms as your situation requires and consult with an attorney to be certain that the contracts are legally binding documents. Descriptions of the model agreements can be found on the Contracts page.
2. How do I order contracts and articles from the Guild?
Guild members can order any of the Guild’s model contracts in PDF format by emailing email@example.com with “Contract Request” in the Subject line. If you are an author’s representative (agent, manager, attorney, or other similar professional), you must be a Business Subscriber to order Guild materials.
If you do not know which specific model will serve as the best starting point for your transaction, please contact the Business Affairs Department.
3. Does the Guild review contracts? What contract will you review? How should I send them to you?
Guild members are required to use the Guild’s Approved Production Contract for all First Class productions (i.e., Broadway and equivalent productions throughout the U.S., Canada and London’s West End). These agreements are subject to the Guild’s certification. In addition, the Business Affairs Department will review a member’s unsigned contracts for other theater-related matters, including production agreements, collaboration agreements, publishing agreements, agency agreements and underlying rights agreements.
The agreements can be submitted by email, mail or fax.
4. What contracts will you NOT review?
The Guild cannot review any contracts that you have already signed, since any advice offered in that context could be interpreted as legal advice. The Guild will also only review contracts that involve a Guild member, and only in a member’s capacity as a playwright, librettist, lyricist or composer. The following agreements will NOT be reviewed: agreements from non-members, member agreements not related to theaters, theater-related agreements from members working in a non-authorial capacity.