Candidate for Vice President, Film/TV/Streaming Sector
Hi there! I’m Erica Saleh, a TV writer and Showrunner, and I’m running for Vice President of Film, Television and Streaming for the WGAE Council.
I joined the WGAE in 2015 when I got staffed in a NY based writer’s room. Before that, I had been a playwright, scrapping together a living through gig work. The stable paycheck that my TV job gave me, along with healthcare, was life changing. And, as a playwright married to a journalist, I knew that this kind of stability as a writer was very hard to come by. I also knew that it wouldn’t happen in TV or film either, if not for our union. I decided from the minute I got my union card that I owed my service to this Guild that has given me so much. So I got involved.
Since then, I have risen through the TV writing ranks, most recently I was the Showrunner for One of Us is Lying on Peacock. I have also worked tirelessly for the Guild: I am currently serving my second term on Council where I sit on the Organizing Committee; I was a Captain during the agency campaign and am now a Strike Captain; and I served on the 2020 MBA Negotiating Committee and continue to serve on the 2023 MBA Negotiating Committee.
But as my career and Guild involvement have evolved, I’ve watched our industry devolve. That stability that I was so grateful for when I got my first writing gig, is no longer the norm for any of us, and definitely not for our newest members. We are fighting hard in this strike to claw that stability back, and WHEN we win, I will work with Council to make sure that our members fully know and take advantage of their contractual rights. But the work doesn’t end there. There is so much more for us to advocate for beyond this contract. Here are some of the areas I will prioritize as your Vice President:
EQUITY AND ACCESS: As a Middle-Eastern-American woman I am extremely passionate about issues of equity and access. I will fight for more opportunities at every stage for under-represented writers. We need to see BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and women writers being hired more, promoted more, and in more positions of leadership. We must hold studios accountable by tracking who they are meeting with, hiring, retaining, and promoting. But there’s also a lot we can do from within. Just like studios, our Showrunners (myself included) should be held accountable for who they are meeting with, hiring, retaining, and promoting.
LEADERSHIP and SHOWRUNNER TRAINING: I will work to expand our leadership training and mentorship opportunities on the East coast. Since mini-rooms and short seasons are already minimizing on-set experience and organic long-term mentorships, we need more training and mentorship programs, particularly in NY. I believe that the more Showrunners and producer-level writers we have here, the more rooms we will have. To that end, I would like to see us expand our existing Showrunner training program making it more accessible to more people. I will also work to establish additional leadership and mentorship programs, including ongoing Showrunning training so that our member Showrunners are maximally equipped to advocate for their staff, themselves, and their shows to their studios.
NY WRITERS ROOMS: Pre-Pandemic, my life (like many of yours) was spent ping-ponging between Los Angeles and New York. Now, I’ve lost most of my friends to the other coast. I want it to stop! I love NY. I will support the Guild’s ongoing work with Albany to get more writers rooms in NY. And, as stated above I will also push for more leadership training and mentorship opportunities on the East coast.
Thank you for taking the time to read. I hope my positions resonate with you, and that I’ve earned your vote. I am so proud of our Guild and am honored to continue to represent you on Council.
Endorsed by: Sofia Alvarez, Chiara Atik, Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, Bonnie Datt, Josh Gondelman, Hallie Haglund, Melissa London Hilfers, Liz Hynes, Greg Iwinski, James Schamus, Sophia Takal, and Michael Winship.