Zoe Marshall for the 2019 WGAw Board of Directors

Zoe Marshall
Jul 14 · 5 min read

I’d love your endorsement, but first — HERE’S WHY I’M A GOOD CHOICE FOR THIS:

I commit to driving across town in rush hour traffic to 3rd & Fairfax to attend meeting after meeting (and actually pay attention). I commit to unearthing the problems membership faces and put in the hours with the rest of leadership to address them. I commit to making myself available so that guild members of all stripes can be heard.

...But, why?

Well, writers love stakes, right?

I was a writers’ assistant last year. One who, thankfully, staffed. Better still, I was brought back for a second season and promoted to Story Editor. I’m running for the Board because voices like mine (read: female, of color, lower level) need to be heard and represented RIGHT NOW.

Any number of us is one ill-timed dry spell away from our contingency plan (for me, it’s taking room notes again and putting my Jamba Juice smock back on — a fate I wouldn’t wish on anyone). And it’s because I know how fleeting writing jobs can be that I will treat a place on the Board with the same diligence, urgency and integrity as my own career.

It’s why I linked up with a friend in the heat of the ATA campaign and organized a series of 5 staffing and development mixers for over 750 writers, showrunners and executives. People staffed from these, got meetings, got read, connected with other writers who it may have otherwise taken them years to link up with. All because, writers have a unique ability to empower and mobilize other writers.

I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve got energy to spare, and want to help figure it out. I want to give voice to emerging writers in the conversations that impact our union and our careers. Union representatives with a perspective that aligns with the majority of the membership’s reality can be infinitely helpful in the fight for our well-being. Not to mention in the allocation of guild resources to give writers what they need. Is it a mid-level training program? A mixer? A development workshop? Hit me up — let’s talk about it!

SO HERE ARE MY GOALS:

1. TAKE BETTER CARE OF OUR MOST VULNERABLE WRITERS. (Including but not limited to):

· Getting more people of color and women on staff, and providing support to help them move up the ladder (The wage gap is real, people. Time to suture that shit up).

· Permanently do away with 75% of scale for staff writers and the option not to pay script fees to staff writers in our MBA.

· Cap the number of times you can repeat staff writer.

2. EMPOWER NEW MEMBERSHIP WITH INFORMATION (that in turn will help the guild as a whole). When I joined the WGA, I read through the entire welcome packet cover to cover, including the MBA and Schedule of Minimums (I was excited). But there wasn’t a seminar to walk me through it, or explain how these parameters affect my everyday work life and changing career. My aim is to amplify what our union can do (and has done) for us by helping educate new members first and foremost, and offer an opportunity for other members to re-familiarize themselves if need be. Owning our power as a collective involves more than paying ourselves first and our reps second — it all begins with information, because it’s easier to enforce our rights if we all understand what they are.

3. MAKE YOUR GUILD (and that 1.5%) WORK EVEN HARDER FOR YOU. When the ATA campaign began, I was terrified of what a disruption of that magnitude would mean for me. So I drove to the guild and they put my 1.5% to work. From connecting me with showrunners to help co-host the staffing mixers to hunting down my late pay, every time I’ve called on the Guild for something, they’ve answered.

But I cannot ignore the outcry from members who’ve felt a glass wall between themselves and their union — as if the guild is for some and not for others. I want to suss out the source of those experiences and prove to the membership with action all the ways the guild can be helpful in supporting our careers, craft and well being.

I’ll repeat again for the folks in the back: YOUR GUILD EXISTS FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF PROTECTING YOUR INTERESTS AND YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BE HEARD. I’m not running for the Board as some elaborate intellectual exercise or ego boost — I want every single guild member to feel as supported by their union as I do.

TO RECAP:

· I’m a lower level female writer of color, and I want to keep working. Beyond that, I want to see stories of people like me told on screen. And to work with dope writers who are different from me. And to see marginalized writers rise in the ranks.

· I want to know my rights as related to the work I do. And get paid for it. In full. On time. Every time.

· I want to one day have children and not have to go into bankruptcy to deliver them because my healthcare is comprehensive. And to eventually close the lid on my laptop and retire with peace of mind because thanks, Pension.

· I want to know where 1.5% of my income is going and have a say in how it’s used. I want to feel as though my union’s leadership cares as much about my ability to work, as their own.

Consider it presumptuous, but I’d be willing to bet many of you want similar things. I’m going to fight like hell for these things for myself. And if you’ll let me, I’d love to do the same for you.

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Want to endorse me? Click HERE

Zoe Marshall

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