|Unions, guilds and locals—oh my! An evening with the Writers Guild of America, East
Every entertainment project begins with the creativity of the writer. The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) represents thousands of creators of what we see and hear on television and film, as well as the growing world of original digital media. From independent films and big budget movies, to variety shows, daytime serials, news programs, documentaries and animations, WGA writers are involved.
How does someone become a WGAE member? What are the benefits? How does the union assist its members in their careers? Join us for a Q & A session focusing on these questions and more. This program is part of NYWIFT’s ongoing series exploring the many ways that unions and guilds help further the career prospects of their members.
Geoff Betts has been a business agent with the Writers Guild of America, East for the past three and a half years. He administers the guild’s Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) and represents guild members on the east coast. Prior to working at the WGAE, he worked for six years with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as a Union Organizer and Representative. Geoff has a Masters of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin in Radio, Television, Film.
Ann Burdick is currently senior counsel at the Writers Guild of America East (WGAE) where she is involved in arbitration, negotiation and litigation on behalf of writers in the television and screen genres. Prior to her current position, Burdick worked at the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), an entertainment union representing actors and broadcasters, and the General Counsel’s Office of NYSUT, New York State United Teachers, a state union representing teachers and healthcare professionals.
Elliott Kalan is an Emmy-winning writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He also hosts Closely Watched Films, a monthly screening series at 92YTribeca; co-hosts the film podcast The Flophouse; and writes freelance for Marvel Comics. Previously, he was a weekly columnist for Metro newspaper, one-half of the sketch comedy duo The Hypocrites, and a graduate of the Tisch Department of Dramatic Writing.
Melissa Salmons is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild East. She served on the 2007-2008 MBA Negotiations Committee and has been on the Council since 2007. She has written for the daytime serials Guiding Light, As The World Turns, Another World and The Young and the Restless, as well as the MTV animated series Liquid Television. She is currently on staff at One Life to Live. Salmons has received six Emmy nominations, taking home two awards and ten Writers Guild Award nominations, winning three.
Michael Winship (pictured above) is senior writing fellow at the public policy research and advocacy organization Demos, the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Bill Moyers Journal on public television and President of the Writers Guild of America, East. Since 2002, he has written a weekly column for the 200 daily and weekly newspapers of GateHouse News Service. It also appears on websites worldwide, including The Huffington Post, Truthout, Common Dreams, Alternet and the Bill Moyers Journal blog. Winship has worked for America’s major PBS stations, CBS, the Discovery and Learning Channels, A&E, Turner, the Disney Channel, the Children’s Television Workshop, and National Geographic, among others.
Produced by Ethan Bordman
NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council
New York State Council of the Arts
Join the conversation on Twitter: #nywift | @nywift
NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Last updated: Mar. 14, 2014