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There are some features unique to the writers list.
In addition to those attributes common to all lists (see the separate guide), there are several that are specific to the writers list, used to make the specific contribution clearer. The IMDb policy is to list the attribute exactly as it appears on screen e.g. if the writer credit says "screenplay by" on screen then please submit the writer credit with the attribute (screenplay by).
- written by - This is used when a writer (or team) has written an original script.
- screenplay/teleplay - The script was based on another work.
- story - The writer contributed to the story for the screenplay/teleplay only or the writer is the author of a story on which the work was based.
- screen story/television story - A story that differs from the source material was created by someone other than the screenplay/teleplay author.
- song/play/book/novel/article/etc - The writer is the author of the specified source material. If the title of the source material is different from the title of the production, that should also be specified. For example, Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) is based on the novel Alias Madame Doubtfire; therefore, the attribute for novelist Anne Fine's credit is novel "Alias Madame Doubtfire". Note that we have changed the convention for new credits to quote the title.
- characters - A special form of source material credit, most commonly used for sequels.
- uncredited - The writer was not credited on the screen, but there is reliable evidence that they contributed to the screenplay or story. You should generally specify your source in a comment. These are accepted mostly for older and non-USA titles; see also the section below about WGA-locked credits.
- creator/created by - The writer created this television series (or the specified series, if this is a film adapted from a series).
- writer - Used if no other attribute is known. This should generally be viewed as a placeholder.
- also <source> i.e. "also play" - indicates the same author worked on the screenplay/teleplay and source material. Note: not allowed for new credits, which should create separate entries for the source material and the screenplay/teleplay.
- If you need to combine two attributes, they should be separated with a space: "(story) (as John Doe)".
- Different jobs should be submitted as different credits, i.e. (story) and (screenplay) should be two separate submissions, even if they are displayed on the site together.
- Song and lyric credits belong in the music department, or if identif(ied/iable) by song title, in the Soundtracks section instead.
- Staff writers, story editors, story coordinators, story supervisors and story consultants also belong in the writers section.
- English credits should be submitted as credited. For example "developed for American television by" is now a valid job. We will accept corrections for credits submitted under the old policy to reflect the actual on screen credits.
- Script doctors and script consultants belong in the miscellaneous crew section.
- We will no longer be accepting any uncredited "characters created by" credits on any title adapted from an existing source. The complexities and ambiguities in the creative process across writers involved in the genesis and the specific version of a character that appears in any adaptation means that it is not feasible to accurately represent their individual input. Please note that this policy does not impact credited "characters created by" credits, we will continue to list any "characters created by" credits that are credited on screen.
- Given the complexities of the creative process for children's books and comic books, in certain cases, where appropriate, we will allow the illustrator/artist to be credited as a writer credit if they are given equal billing in the on screen credits alongside the traditional writer. Please note that editorial discretion may be shown on case-by-case basis.
- In cases where court-proven plagiarism occurs we will accept an (uncredited) writer credit referencing the original writers on the later title. Please note evidence will be required and should be submitted via our IMDb Contact Us form.
Sequence numbers ("Order")
- Unlike cast order numbers which only consist of a single value indicating the position in the credits, writing credits are a bit more complex. They have very specific ordering rules reflecting collaborations and level of contribution. In order to accurately reflect these rules, we connect a three part sequence number to each writing credit.
- Please leave this section blank if you do not know the correct values. In particular, do not make up numbers to tweak the order as you see fit. We recommend not to use order numbers at all unless you fully understand the concept of how the ordering works.
- We try to reflect the actual on-screen credits as close as possible. Please do not modify writer orders unless they reflect the actual on-screen credits. Until on-screen credits are available and can be confirmed you may use the writer order of a movie poster if one exists. Otherwise, please do not make any assumptions about writer orders.
- Uncredited writers must not have sequence numbers.
- Here is how it works: the sequence number consists of three parts - "credit group", "rewrite" and "order". The "credit group" is used to separate writers with different attributes (for example: story and screenplay). The "rewrite" separates groups of writers that are joined with "and"; the "order" is the order within the same credit and rewrite group. This is best shown with an example:
Example: The on-screen credits for Down Periscope (1996) read:This would be entered as:Screenplay by Hugh Wilson and Andrew Kurtzman & Eliot Wald
Story by Hugh Wilson
Name Attribute Order Wilson, Hugh (I) (screenplay by) 1,1,1 Kurtzman, Andrew (screenplay by) 1,2,1 Wald, Eliot (screenplay by) 1,2,2 Wilson, Hugh (I) (story by) 2,1,1
- The actual order in which you submit credits does not matter, only the numbers you use (we have arranged the examples above in order for clarity).
- If names have no punctuation between them, assume they are joined by "&" (i.e. increment the third value). In other words: unless specifically separated on-screen by the word "and", do not use the rewrite group (i.e. leave second value as "1").
- Identical attributes usually belong in the same credit group (first value). Increment the first value whenever the on-screen attribute changes.
- Writer credits can be spread across the whole credit sections with many other roles listed in between. It is common just to have the main writers in the opening credits and other writers in the end credits. Be aware that roles like "story editor" and "staff writer" also belong in the writers section and need to get an order number whereas staff like "script consultants" belong in the miscellaneous crew with no sequence number.
- When a credit group changes (first value is incremented), the values for rewrite group (second value) and order (third value) are reset to 1. When a rewrite group changes (second value), the order (third value) is reset to 1. Here is an example of valid sequence numbers for a specific title: "1,1,1", "2,1,1", "2,1,2", "2,1,3", "2,2,1", "3,1,1" and here is an example of invalid numbers for a specific title: "1,1,1", "2,2,2", "3,3,3"
- The WGA furnishes credits directly to IMDb for the projects for which they control credits. We do not accept uncredited writers for these projects; this is partly because duplicating or second-guessing the WGA's credits determination process would be impractical, and partly because the WGA does not permit writers to claim credits other than those determined by the WGA. For additional details, see this page.