Time for Renewal, Part 2

October 28, 2011

Last week I got a letter from the Writers Guild informing me that my registration for 3 of my screenplays was about to lapse. 

If you don’t know, the WGA allows screenwriters (including non-members such as myself) to register drafts of their scripts with the union, basically creating a paper trail for your creative work.  To my knowledge, this registration has no inherit legal value, but having that ID number on the coversheet does convey to both the writer and the reader that there is a general awareness of intellectual property rights in the room.

(FYI: Copyright is acquired automatically when you put pen to paper or push the shutter button on your camera.  Trademark is something you have to register with the federal government to get.  WGA registration is neither of these things)

Until last week, it hadn’t occurred to me that WGA registration only lasts 5 years.  I’m sure it’s in the fine print when you sign up, but it’s not something I paid attention to.  And although I had been writing scripts since 1995 (and registering them soon thereafter), I had never received one of these renewal letters before.

Which means this is the first time I had been living at the same address 5 years after I registered a script.  So that’s an interesting mirror to put to my personal life.

But it also puts my so-called writing career under a microscope.  Although scrrenwriting isn’t something I’m pursuing anymore, it’s still poignant to see a short list of the unproduced work that I called finished 5 years ago…

UNKINDNESS OF RAVENS
PASSIVE/AGGRESSIVE
CONSCIENCE: CLEAR

Although I never really thought anything would happen with these scripts, it kinda stings to realize that the hundreds of hours I put into those projects have been sitting dormant in the bottom of a digital desk drawer for the past 5 years.

I suppose I should take a lesson from this as I move forward into new creative ventures.  Because the slaps from the past aren’t going to keep me from working on something new.

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