This screenplay collaboration agreement is between  , an individual ("") and  , an individual ("").

The parties are writers who wish to collaborate in the writing of a screenplay (the "Joint Work"), which has the working title .

The parties intend that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole.

The parties therefore agree as follows:


The parties shall collaborate in the writing of the Joint Work in accordance with this agreement, which applies only to the Joint Work.


The parties shall register the Joint Work for copyright in the name of both parties, and each party designates the other as his or her attorney-in-fact to register the Joint Work with the United States Copyright Office. After the Joint Work is complete, the parties shall also register the Joint Work with the Writers Guild of America, WestEast, Inc. as a joint work of the parties. The parties shall be listed as coauthors and copyright claimants of the Joint Work. If the Joint Work is published, the authorship credits shall be given as follows: and .


When the Joint Work has been completed, the parties shall own interests (each an "Interest") in the Joint Work in the following percentages:

: %

: %

Neither party may sell or dispose of the Joint Work or of his or her Interests without the prior written consent of the other party.


The parties anticipate that the Joint Work will be completed no later than . The parties' failure to complete the Joint Work by this date will not be construed as a breach of this agreement.


The parties shall distribute any money or other consideration derived from the sale or disposition of the Joint Work as follows:

  • (a) to pay commissions, if any;
  • (b) to pay or reimburse either party's expenses made in connection with the Joint Work; and
  • (c) to the parties in proportion to their Interests. The parties shall share proceeds from a sale or other disposition of the Joint Work, including the sale of motion picture, sequel, prequel, remake, television film, television live, stage, radio, and book and other media publication rights, in proportion to their Interests.


If a party withdraws from collaboration before the Joint Work is completed, he or she must give written notice of that withdrawal to the other party. If one party withdraws, the other party may complete the Joint Work, either alone or with another collaborator, and each party's Interest shall, if requested by either party, be revised by written amendment. The other party's continuation of the Joint Work may occur only with the consent of the party legally owning or controlling any preexisting material or work on which the Joint Work is based.


Each party hereby represents to the other that:

  • (a) he or she is the sole owner of all interest in his or her contribution to the Joint Work.
  • (b) his or her contribution to the Joint Work is original, not in the public domain, not plagiarized, and does not contain anything libelous or obscene;
  • (c) his or her contribution to the Joint Work has not been assigned, transferred, licensed, pledged, or otherwise encumbered and he or she has not agreed to do so;
  • (d) he or she is not aware of any violation, infringement, or misappropriation of any third party's rights or any claims of rights (including existing intellectual property rights, rights of privacy, or any other rights) regarding his or her contribution to the Joint Work.
  • (e) he or she is not aware of any third-party consents, assignments, or licenses that are necessary to perform under this agreement; and
  • (f) he or she is not acting within the scope of employment of any third party when conceiving, creating, or otherwise performing any activity with respect to his or her contribution to the Joint Work.

Each party shall keep the other party informed of matters requiring mutual decision about the Joint Work. Each party shall respond to communications from the other party regarding the Joint Work, and from others having an interest in the Joint Work, in a reasonable and timely manner to prevent harm to or unreasonable delay of the creation, sale, or other disposition of the Joint Work.


shall be the parties' sole and exclusive agent in connection with the Joint Work or any rights in the Joint Work, until that agent is terminated by (or stops representing) the parties. All payments due or to become due to the parties in connection with the sale, lease, or license of the Joint Work shall be made to and in the name of this agent, who is authorized to receive these amounts on the parties' behalf. That agent shall receive gross commissions on all licenses of %. If the parties do not have an agent or other representation, those payments shall be made directly to the parties in accordance with their Interests.


The monetary value of the Joint Work may be fixed only by the mutual written consent of the parties.


All expenses for which the parties are mutually responsible may be incurred only with the prior written consent of both parties. If a party, without the consent of the other party, incurs an expense in order to advance the production or promotion of the Joint Work, the party making the expenditure cannot later require full or partial compensation for such expense from the other party.


In accordance with section 3, the parties shall own jointly all copyright or other intellectual property rights in all incidents, plots, dialogue, characters, action, and titles forming a part of the Joint Work. If either party dies before the Joint Work is completed, the deceased party's rights in the copyright and other intellectual property rights are devisable to his or her successors. If the Joint Work is likely to be revised, the surviving party shall determine the compensation to be paid to the deceased party's successors.


If, before the Joint Work is completed, one party materially breaches his or her obligations under this agreement and that breach is not remedied within days of his or her receipt of written notice, the nonbreaching party may terminate this agreement.


If either party terminates this agreement because of the other party's default, the nonbreaching party, in addition to all rights he or she has under this agreement, shall have the right to exercise all remedies available at law or in equity. All rights and remedies are cumulative and the election of one remedy shall not preclude another. Any termination shall be without prejudice to accrued rights. Notwithstanding the termination of this agreement, the obligations intended to survive termination shall continue in full force and effect.


Each party shall indemnify the other party against all claims, actions, damages, losses, liabilities, and expenses, including reasonable attorneys' fees, arising out of or caused by any breach of any of the representations, undertakings, or agreements made by that party.


Any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this contract or the breach of this contract, shall be settled by arbitration administered by the under its rules. The number of arbitrators shall be onethree. The place of arbitration shall be , . law shall apply. Judgment on the award rendered by the arbitrators may be entered in any court having jurisdiction.

  •  (a) Choice of Law. The laws of the state of  govern this agreement (without giving effect to its conflicts of law principles).
  •  (b) Choice of Forum. Both parties consent to the personal jurisdiction of the state and federal courts in County, .

Any dispute under this agreement shall be resolved by final and binding arbitration under the IFTA Rules for International Arbitration in effect as of the Effective Date of (the "Rules"). Each party waives any right to adjudicate any dispute in any other court or forum, except that a party may seek interim relief before the start of arbitration as allowed by the Rules. The Arbitration will be held in the forum and under the governing law designated in this agreement, or, if none is designated, as determined by the Rules.  The parties will abide by any decision in the arbitration and any court having jurisdiction to enforce it. The parties submit to the jurisdiction of the courts in the forum, with respect to interim relief, to compel arbitration or to confirm an arbitration award. The parties agree to accept service of process in accordance with the Rules and agree that service in accordance with the Rules satisfies all requirements to establish personal jurisdiction over the parties. Both parties waive application of the procedures for service of process pursuant to The Hague Convention for Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters. Both parties acknowledge that for an unsatisfied arbitration award that is confirmed by a court of competent jurisdiction, the prevailing party may request that the other party be barred from attendance at the American Film Market in accordance with the arbitration and barring provisions of the most current AFM Guidelines.

Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in this Section 15, if any disputes arise concerning the interpretation or application of this agreement, or the rights or liabilities of the parties arising under this agreement, those disputes shall be submitted to the Writers Guild of America, WestEast, Inc. (the "Guild") for arbitration in accordance with the arbitration procedures of the Guild. The determination of the Guild arbitration committee as to all such matters shall be conclusive and binding on the parties.


No amendment to this agreement will be effective unless it is in writing and signed by both parties.


  • (a) No Assignment. Neither party may assign any of its rights under this agreement, except with the prior written consent of the other party. All voluntary assignments of rights are limited by this subsection.
  • (b) No Delegation. Neither party may delegate any performance under this agreement, except with the prior written consent of the other party.
  • (c) Enforceability of an Assignment or Delegation. If a purported assignment or purported delegation is made in violation of this section, it is void.


  • (a) Counterparts. The parties may execute this agreement in any number of counterparts, each of which is an original but all of which constitute one and the same instrument.
  • (b) Electronic Signatures. This agreement, agreements ancillary to this agreement, and related documents entered into in connection with this agreement are signed when a party's signature is delivered by facsimile, email, or other electronic medium. These signatures must be treated in all respects as having the same force and effect as original signatures.


If any one or more of the provisions contained in this agreement is, for any reason, held to be invalid, illegal, or unenforceable in any respect, that invalidity, illegality, or unenforceability will not affect any other provisions of this agreement, but this agreement will be construed as if those invalid, illegal, or unenforceable provisions had never been contained in it, unless the deletion of those provisions would result in such a material change so as to cause completion of the transactions contemplated by this agreement to be unreasonable.


  • (a) Writing; Permitted Delivery Methods. Each party giving or making any notice, request, demand, or other communication required or permitted by this agreement shall give that notice in writing and use one of the following types of delivery, each of which is a writing for purposes of this agreement: personal delivery, mail (registered or certified mail, postage prepaid, return-receipt requested), nationally recognized overnight courier (fees prepaid), facsimile, or email.
  • (b) Addresses. A party shall address notices under this section to a party at the following addresses:
  • If to  
  • If to  
  • (c) Effectiveness. A notice is effective only if the party giving notice complies with subsections (a) and (b) and if the recipient receives the notice.


No waiver of a breach, failure of any condition, or any right or remedy contained in or granted by the provisions of this agreement will be effective unless it is in writing and signed by the party waiving the breach, failure, right, or remedy. No waiver of any breach, failure, right, or remedy will be deemed a waiver of any other breach, failure, right, or remedy, whether or not similar, and no waiver will constitute a continuing waiver, unless the writing so specifies.


This agreement constitutes the final agreement of the parties. It is the complete and exclusive expression of the parties' agreement about the subject matter of this agreement. All prior and contemporaneous communications, negotiations, and agreements between the parties relating to the subject matter of this agreement are expressly merged into and superseded by this agreement. The provisions of this agreement may not be explained, supplemented, or qualified by evidence of trade usage or a prior course of dealings. Neither party was induced to enter this agreement by, and neither party is relying on, any statement, representation, warranty, or agreement of the other party except those set forth expressly in this agreement. Except as set forth expressly in this agreement, there are no conditions precedent to this agreement's effectiveness.


The descriptive headings of the sections and subsections of this agreement are for convenience only, and do not affect this agreement's construction or interpretation.


This agreement will become effective when all parties have signed it. The date this agreement is signed by the last party to sign it (as indicated by the date associated with that party's signature) will be deemed the date of this agreement.


Each party shall use all reasonable efforts to take, or cause to be taken, all actions necessary or desirable to consummate and make effective the transactions this agreement contemplates or to evidence or carry out the intent and purposes of this agreement.


Each party is signing this agreement on the date stated opposite that party's signature.

Date: ________________________________________________________________________________________
Date: ________________________________________________________________________________________

Free Screenplay Collaboration Agreement Template

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How-to guides, articles, and any other content appearing on this page are for informational purposes only, do not constitute legal advice, and are no substitute for the advice of an attorney.

Screenplay collaboration agreement: How-to guide

Writing is a process that requires dedication and effort to start and complete any script. Many writers find motivation and support in a writing partner who can bounce ideas off or help move the project.

However, when more than one person is involved in a project, disputes about earnings and credit can arise that can impact the project. It's crucial to have a written agreement signed before starting any work. An agreement sets the tone for a smooth project.

Importance of collaboration agreement for writing partners

Writing partners may not be considered "partners" in creating the work without a collaboration agreement. Disputes about ownership and control of the final product may arise. This could have particular significance if your writing team separates or the partnership dissolves due to unavoidable circumstances.

A screenplay collaboration agreement is a written mutual agreement between two or more people to create a "joint work." This agreement protects each party's ownership interests and provides for a division of all profits or debts arising from the project. The parties can also outline any limitations on withdrawing or terminating the arrangement.

If you and another person want to collaborate on a screenplay, it's essential to write down the terms of your agreement. This can ensure that you understand your obligations and are mutually responsible for laying the foundation for a good working relationship. The attached template on this page will help you write the agreement, and from there, you can start with the writing services for your screenplay.

What are the key aspects to consider for a screenplay collaboration agreement?

Identifying pre-existing contributions

When creating a joint work, it's essential to identify any pre-existing contributions before collaborating to ensure ownership rights are protected.

Following the union regulations

If you are a member of a union, such as the Writers Guild of America, there may be specific rules and regulations that you must follow. Once you have completed your screenplay, you may also be required to register it with your union. Before signing any agreements, it is highly recommended that you speak with your union representatives to understand the requirements. Specifically, you should inquire about any language requirements the writers must meet to ensure the contract complies with your union's regulations.

Negotiating with publishers, agents, and producers

Negotiating with publishers, agents, and producers can be complex and may require specialized knowledge. If one person is more experienced and knowledgeable in these negotiations, consider granting that person exclusive rights to negotiate. However, in such a scenario, it's essential to reserve your right to provide final approval for any agreements reached through these negotiations.

Limiting the scope of work

Explicitly limit the agreement to the described work to prevent claims on other work produced. Securing your work with appropriate protections ensures that the other party can’t claim your other creations. 

Dividing profits by negotiating a fair arrangement

There isn't a fixed way to divide profits in a business deal. It's up to you and the other party to devise an arrangement that works well for both of you. If one of the parties needs money upfront to sustain themselves while working on the project, you may pay them a more significant portion of the advance or upfront payment. In exchange, the other party may agree to give up a percentage of future royalties. Alternatively, the advance paid can be deducted from the future proceeds. It's essential to document any such decision in detail in your agreement. Taking the time to do so can help prevent potential disagreements in the future.

Allowing ample time for reviewing agreements

It is recommended that each party be given enough time to review the agreement. This is essential to avoid misunderstandings about its terms and obligations. Agreements are less likely to result in claims or disputes when all parties clearly understand the terms. Therefore, it's best to allow ample time for both parties to review the agreement before finalizing it.

Thoroughly reviewing and clarifying expectations

Both parties involved in an agreement should thoroughly review the document to ensure all relevant points are included. It's essential to explicitly state all expectations and terms in the agreement to avoid misunderstandings. By doing so, everyone involved can clearly understand what is expected of them and work together towards a common goal with positivity and clarity.

Signing and submitting agreements involving multiple parties

Ensure you sign at least two copies of the agreement - one for yourself and another for the other parties involved. If you or your collaborators are members of any union, it is advised to make additional copies for your agent or manager and submit them to the union.

Witnessing or notarizing agreements to ensure validity

Having your signature witnessed or notarized ensures legal validity and prevents potential disputes in the future.

Contacting an attorney

If your agreement contains complicated terms or significant risks, it is recommended to obtain legal assistance to draft a document tailored to your specific needs.

Understanding the clauses of the screenplay collaboration agreement

The following provisions will guide you through each section of the agreement to help you better understand the process.


Here, the document is identified as a screenplay collaboration agreement. It is essential to mention the date on which the agreement becomes effective, usually when it is signed. Identify the parties, i.e., the co-writer(s) or contributor(s) involved in your project. Review the agreement carefully and add any additional parties as necessary. 


The "whereas" clauses, also known as recitals, are important in providing background information about the parties involved and defining the context of the agreement. It is essential to include a clear statement of your intent to collaborate on a screenplay together, along with the working title of your project. Although the working title doesn’t have to be the final title of the screenplay, it will be necessary for identification purposes in this agreement.

Collaboration on work

This section details why the parties intend to enter the agreement, i.e., to create joint work.


This section mentions that both parties agree to register for a copyright on their joint work. If either of the parties is a member of any other trade organization, such as the Writers Guild of America, they should carefully review the registration requirements of those entities as well. There may be additional steps required to complete the registration process. Indicate the details of the credit for the work, for example, the order of the names, full name including middle name, or first and last names. It is a good idea to discuss the final arrangement in advance.

Ownership of joint work

This section defines the ownership of the joint work between the parties involved. Typically, ownership is split equally between the parties (50/50). However, if one party contributes significantly more effort or resources to the project, they may request a more significant ownership share. Discussing the ownership division with the other party and mutually agreeing on it is essential. Additionally, this section emphasizes that if either party wants to sell their interest, they must obtain written consent from the other party.

Completion date

This optional provision allows you to set a target date for completing the joint screenplay work. This section serves as a guide for the project and sets a goal for both parties to work towards.


This section outlines the process of distributing the funds generated from the sale of the joint work. For example, the initial portion of the money may not be considered profit for either party. It can be used to cover the fees of agents or managers and reimburse any expenses incurred during research or travel. After covering those expenses, the parties may decide to distribute the remaining funds among themselves based on the parties' ownership interests.

Representations and warranties

This section outlines the promises made by both parties in the agreement. Each party agrees to enter into the arrangement only if they can fulfill the conditions mentioned in this section. The parties also agreed that neither has used contributions from any other source and that no other individual or company can claim ownership or other rights to the joint work. It also describes each party's obligation to inform the other about any developments related to the joint work. For example, if a potential buyer approaches one party, they can only pursue the sale with the other party's knowledge and consent.


This section mentions the name of an agent, manager, or other representative who will promote the sale and distribution of the joint work. 


The price for joint work can only be set with unanimous agreement from all parties involved.


This section states that a party may only spend money on the project with the other party's consent. Any expenses incurred without the other party's permission are not reimbursable.


This explains that either party can terminate the agreement if the other party violates any part of this agreement before the completion of the joint work.

Default and remedies

This section outlines the consequences of a party defaulting on its obligations. It lists the actions the other party can take to address the issue; for example, if one party fails to fulfill its responsibilities outlined in the agreement, the other party can enforce all the rights granted. 


Both parties involved in the agreement must bear the expenses and protect each other from any claims arising from the agreement. An indemnity is a great way to build trust with the other party by offering a commitment to reimburse them if your promises or assurances do not hold good. It shows that you are sincere and committed to fulfilling your obligations, which can help you establish strong and long-lasting relationships with your business partners. For instance, if you state that your contribution doesn’t violate anyone's copyright, your collaborator, publisher, producer, or agent should be able to depend on those assurances.

Successors and assigns

This section explains the parties' successors and assigns in the agreement. It clarifies that when the parties' rights and duties are transferred to another party, they will also be transferred to their legal heirs. This means that the legal responsibilities and entitlements that the parties agree upon will continue to exist even if they are passed on to their heirs.


This section states that any modifications to the document are only valid if written notice is served and signed by both parties—if there is mutual written consent.

No implied waiver

This section of the agreement clarifies that if one party allows the other to ignore or break an obligation, the first party doesn’t waive any future rights to require that obligation to be fulfilled. For instance, if a party doesn't receive reimbursement for expenses from another party, it doesn't mean that the first party has waived its right to demand reimbursement in the future; the first party can still demand it later from the second party.


This frequently used optional clause requires the parties involved to settle any conflicts through arbitration instead of taking them to court. However, it's important to note that local limitations or restrictions in your industry must be considered before including these clauses. Reviewing the arbitration laws governing your area and industry is advisable to understand the process better.


This section mentions the addresses to which all official or legal correspondence should be delivered. Write the mailing address for both parties.

Governing law

This section allows the parties to choose the governing laws of the state to interpret the document. 

Counterparts; electronic signatures

This provision specifies that all the individual components of the agreement will be considered as part of the same agreement, irrespective of where the parties sign it or how they transmit their signatures (such as through electronic devices like computers or fax machines). It is particularly advantageous when the parties signing the agreement are often located in different cities and can’t be present in the same physical location. This clause ensures that business can be conducted smoothly and efficiently without compromising the validity of the agreement.


This protects the terms of the agreement as a whole, even if one part is later invalidated. For example, if a state law is passed prohibiting choice-of-law clauses, it will not undo the entire document. Only the section of the agreement regarding choice of law would be nullified, while the rest remains enforceable.

Entire agreement

This section confirms the parties' agreement that the document they're signing is "the agreement" on the subject. 


The headings at the start of each section are for structuring the document. They shouldn't be considered as the functional components of the screenplay collaboration agreement.

Frequently asked questions

What's a screenplay collaboration agreement?

Collaborating on a screenplay can be easier with a partner. For a project like a screenplay, trading ideas with a partner can be helpful. A screenplay collaboration agreement, also known as a written collaboration agreement or a writing partner agreement, keeps everyone on the same page, even before you start scripting.

What information is needed to complete a collaboration agreement for screenplay writing?

Gather the following information to complete a collaboration agreement: 

  • Who are the writing partners: Names and contact information of all the writing partners involved in the project 
  • Who is their agent: The name and contact information of their agent 
  • Dispute resolution: You must clearly understand how legal disputes will be handled and decide whether they will be solved through litigation or arbitration
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