2019 CANDIDATE STATEMENT
Thank you for electing me the past two terms as a member of the WGAW Board of Directors. I enjoy and value advocating for writers, and think I have done an effective job the past four years. I’m running again because I’m motivated by the work ahead, to keep making progress for the creative and financial lives of writers. I am led by principle, vigilant about fairness — and willing to confront powerful opponents when necessary.
My areas of focus continue to be:
Inclusion & Equity: After the election two years ago, we finally achieved gender parity on the Board. Now that half the voices in the meetings are female, new perspectives and priorities are at play. Representation matters. It makes a difference. I hope we will sustain that parity, and add more people of color to the Board in this new election.
There are still too few women and people of color represented as feature writers and on TV staffs. In 2018, only 15% of the 100 top-grossing films were written by women. The 2017-18 WGA Inclusion Report Card found that women and POC accounted for only 36% and 27% respectively, of all television writers. Only 24% of show runners were female; 12% were people of color.
How do we improve these numbers? By winning hearts and minds, ideally — but also with pressure, accountability, and reporting. I’d like to see an annual report published by the Guild, listing exactly how many female and non-white writers were hired by each studio and network, and what the gender and racial makeup of every TV writing staff looks like. When the facts are put out in the open, reported publicly, people self-examine and self-correct more readily.
Committees/Negotiations: I currently serve on the Committee Advisory Panel, the Dues Committee, and the AMBA Negotiating Committee (co-chair). In the past two terms I was also on the Board Nominating Committee, Officer Nominating Committee (co-chair), and the MBA Negotiating Committee in 2017. I was a new voice in the MBA negotiations, and along with Nicole Yorkin and Marjorie David, was instrumental in making Parental Leave a forefront issue in our discussions with the AMPTP. As we approach the 2020 MBA, I’d be honored to continue that advocacy.
AMBA/Lawsuit: I fully support the Guild’s effort to reform the contract we have with our agencies. Producing and packaging are conflicts of interest that hurt writers. I ran on this platform twice before, and now I and many others in Guild leadership have brought the issue to bear. An agency’s financial interests must be directly tied to its client’s — plain and simple. No more undisclosed side deals, no more unearned episodic fees. A 10% commission keeps everyone honest, and keeps all earnings transparent.
I know this effort has been hard on writers. We are all feeling disrupted, and anxious in this unknown territory. But I also know that meaningful progress does not come without a struggle. We are pursuing a sea change here. There’s no way to accomplish that quickly, or without a difficult negotiation, like the one we are in presently. But we have the law, and our own solidarity, on our side. If we stay the course and remain united — we will prevail.
I want to put to rest some misinformation about the Guild lawsuit. I am proud to have volunteered to be a plaintiff in the suit against four agencies that challenges the legality of packaging fees. This is an important part of our efforts to end agency conflicts of interest, and the Guild needed member plaintiffs in order to bring the case on behalf of all Guild members.
I offered my story (and financial statements) to provide evidence that packaging is unfair and detrimental to writers. The plaintiffs are not getting any special economic benefit. If any damage award eventually results, I will donate it to the Guild.
Upcoming MBA: Three years ago we wrestled with unfair pay on short seasons (span protection), Options/Exclusivity reform, script fees for Staff Writers and Parental Leave, among other issues. These problems still exist, and this time we must double down and gain even more. I’d like to improve the terms we secured on span protection, and get actual paid leave for new parents. Late pay and free work for feature writing are ongoing issues that we must address in this next negotiation. Mini rooms and non-writing producers have also become problematic for some writers, and may emerge as new MBA issues.
The strength we have shown by taking on the ATA will aid us as we sit down with the AMPTP. They have observed our resolve and insistence on fairness. They know we will not accept less for writers.
The Guild is at its most powerful right now — this is due to its remarkable leadership. I will be voting for all of the incumbents, and hope you’ll do the same.
These are my broad strokes for the coming two years. I hope you’ll come to Candidates Night on August 28th, to hear from all of the writers running for the Board. Thanks for reading, and I hope I have your vote.