Candidate for Council, Film/TV/Streaming Sector
I’m proud to be running to represent you as a member of the WGAE Council. I am running to serve all members of the Guild but I believe I can be a particularly powerful voice for my fellow screenwriters who are often underrepresented on council. Because our work is usually independent we have fewer opportunities to connect and discuss our specific issues. I would like to help unify us, to make sure we have all the information about what we are owed and work together to put a stop to free work. Producers know free work is wrong. They have said as much to me when asking for free ie “producer” passes. That doesn’t mean they stop asking. We need to have these conversations together, it should not be up to the individual writer to fight these battles alone. The proliferation of one-step deals has not diminished our hours writing, only the hours we are paid for. Just like our peers in episodic and comedy variety – producers want more work for less money. That has to change, and it can only change with us.
I joined the Guild in 2012 after selling an original comedy pilot. The industry looks a lot different now than it did then. From development to three years of staffing on two different cable writer’s rooms, then transitioning into screenwriting for the streamers – where I have mainly remained, I often felt like I was learning how things worked totally on my own. As my career progressed, I’ve made it one of my missions to share my knowledge and understanding of this often unknowable business with other writers. I feel very proud of my work on my first produced screenplay, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. One of the main reasons I can say that is that I used my right as a WGA member to see an early cut of the movie and give notes in post. This is a right I was owed but something that was not offered to me until I demanded it. I am consistently shocked by how many screenwriters do not see cuts of movies with their names on them until the premiere. That said, all the work I did on To All the Boys in the edit room was unpaid. As a screenwriter, I’ve often felt that you may only have a voice so long as you are willing to work for free and with streaming residuals where they are, we cannot even hope to make up the difference if the movie is a hit. I directed my most recent movie, Along for the Ride, because I wanted to have control of the story through the final cut. But for writers who don’t want to direct, directing should not be a prerequisite to having a voice in the process past delivery.
If elected, I will work to make sure we fight for every member of this Guild. Diversity of stories told is best achieved through diversity of creators at the top, not just lower level writers as is too often the case. I am committed to a more equitable union and industry.
I am honored to be endorsed by the following writers: Tanya Barfield, Charise Castro Smith, Stephen Karam, Ana Noguiera, Erica Salah, Celine Song, Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, Lucy Teitler, Bess Wohl