Betsy Thomas for WGA Board of Directors
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Hi.  Thanks for coming.  I'm incredibly proud of our union, and I believe we can be even stronger and more powerful than we are today.  If we aren't moving forward, we are moving backwards. Let's be the vanguard of the industry in equal pay, parental leave, higher fees, and increased diversity employment.  We create important narratives in our work -- let's do it in our lives. 

Who?

I have been a member of the WGAW since 1993.  I began as a playwright and screenwriter.  My first television job was on "My So-Called Life."  I have been writing primarily half-hour television since 1999, where I'm a writer, showrunner, and director.   My husband, Adrian Wenner, is also a proud card-carrying member of the WGAW.  We juggle our jobs with parenting our eleven year-old son, Owen, who spent a lot of time in a Baby Bjorn while we walked the picket lines in the 2007/2008 strike.

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Candidate Statement

So, I’ve never run for anything.  Not even Student Council back in the 80’s, when high school was delightfully complicated, like a John Hughes movie.  And until the Writers’ Strike in 2007, I had happily enjoyed my health insurance coverage and bemoaned filling out those stupid dues declaration forms that take way too much time.  Like most of us, my head has been buried in jobs, raising kids, and dealing with aging parents.  

In 2007, I walked in a circle every single day for 14 weeks in front of Paramount, often with my five month-old baby strapped to me.  It was horrible, but I am so proud that I did it.  We are part of an endangered species – a successful, healthy, and powerful union.  If the political tides continue in the direction they have been going, unions will be diminished and ultimately destroyed.  But here’s the thing in our industry:  they will always need writers.  Nothing can happen without us.  Nothing.  The studios and networks cannot cast something, finance something, market it, and publicize it unless we write it.  The agents will have nothing to sell and nothing to “package”.  The producers – and even our own agents -- rely on our low self-esteem to keep us second-guessing ourselves into a quiet, compliant hole.   We need to remember that we play a very distinguished, significant role in this industry and use that as a compass.

We are at a turning point – a real change in the way people experience entertainment.  We need to lead the way in addressing those changes to protect us both now and in the future.   I remember so clearly back in the hell of the 2007 strike how the AMPTP pretended they didn’t know what the future of new media would be – or if there would even be a platform for original films and television on the internet.  Now, ten years later, we see Netflix spending countless amounts of money from what seems like a bottomless, magical purse.   

It’s important we reach out to our younger members to get them more involved, so they can understand the value of our union – their union.  Which isn’t run by a bunch of old white guys, but it’s made up of them.   Their voices need to be heard to keep us relevant and forward-thinking.  I can’t wait until the term “diversity hire” is no longer used because it sounds so cringingly racist and out-of-date.  Or when we stop using the terms “writer” and “female writer,” (which implies that it’s normal for a man to be a writer, but not a woman) because a writer’s gender is irrelevant.  Actually, I’m done waiting.  That time is now.   We should be on the vanguard of this change, not needing the studios – of all people – to have to legislate this for us.      

In a time where many of us feel so frustrated and powerless, it’s essential to remember that we can make changes within our own union for better health care, parental rights, and worker protections.  We can be the vanguard of industry standards.  Unlike so many unwieldy institutions in our lives, the Writers’ Guild is not only truly accessible… it is us.

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We members of the WGAW endorse Betsy Thomas for the Board of Directors of the WGAW:

John August  (board member)

Cindy Appel

Jeff Astrof

Gemma Baker

Ike Barinholtz 

Maggie Bandur

Aseem Batra

Bobby Bauer

Owen Burke

Angelina Burnett  (board member)

Jill Cargerman

Adam Chase 

Robb Chavis

Cindy Chupack

Jen Crittenden

Taylor Cox

Bob Daily

Marjorie David  (board member)

Garrett Donovan

Mark Driscoll

Jonathan Fener

Jeff Filgo

Dave Finkel 

Mary Fitzgerald

Alan Freedland

Matt Fusfeld

Greg Garcia

Noah Garfinkel

Eric Gilliland

Charles Grandy

Mark Gross 

Neil Goldman 

Jessica Goldstein

David A. Goodman  (board member)

Rob Greenberg

Mathew Harawitz

William Harper

Keith Heisler

Al Higgins

Chris Hogan 

David Hollander

Matt Johnson 

Angela Kinsey

Chad Kultgen

Roger Kumble

Bill Kunstler

Bob Kushell

Bill Lawrence

Dan Levy

Joni Lefkowitz

Douglas Lieblein

Warren Lieberstein

Courtney Lilly

Josh Malmuth

Meg Marinis

Todd Milliner 

Theresa Mulligan

Kieran Mulroney

Brigitte Munoz-Liebowitz

Andrew Hill Newman

Corey Nickerson

Nicholas Peet

Chrissy Pietrosh

John Quaintance 

Andy Reaser

Andrew Reich

Amy Rhodes

Jessica Runck

Michael Schur

Jonathan Stern

Chuck Tatham

Tami Sagher

Ajay Sahgal

Danielle Sanchez-Witzel

Dan St. Germain

Kenny Schwartz

Niki Schwartz-Wright

Mark Stegemann

Rob Sternin

Prudence Fraser

Rachel Specter

Lindsey Stoddart

Jay Tarses

Matt Tarses 

Phil Traill

Rob Ulin

Nia Vardalos

Krista Vernoff

Matt Walsh

Jackie Walters

Joe Wengert

Stephanie Weir

Adrian Wenner

Emily Wilson

Rick Wiener

Bill Wrubel

Ira Ungerleider

Ahmet Zappa

Dottie Zicklin

Eric Zicklin

 

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