Over the past several months, there has been a storm brewing between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Association of Talent Agents (ATA). A breakdown in conversations could fundamentally change the way some of our favorite media is made moving forward. However, writers in the WGA are no strangers to standing up for their rights in the ever-changing media environment. And part of that includes working to support each other in the unsure times.
LaToya Morgan (Into the Badlands) is trying to send the ladder back down to help writers who don't have access and opportunities. This past week, she started the #WGAStaffingBoost hashtag on Twitter to help support writers looking to be staffed on a TV show this season.
SYFY FANGRRLS spoke with Morgan over email to find out why the hashtag is important and how it can help build a supportive community.
What was the impetus for starting #WGAStaffingBoost?
The impetus for the hashtag really sprang out of a desire to amplify and give visibility to writers. It grew out of ongoing conversations I've been having with several writers and folks at the Guild who are just as passionate as I am about trying to help writers get their name and work out there. The idea of a short pitch of who you are, what you write and why you'd be an asset in the room seemed like a simple thing to fit into a tweet and the hashtag could be searchable for showrunners, producers, execs and people who do the hiring to check out and hopefully connect with writers.
What is the goal of the hashtag? What do you hope is accomplished by it?
The goal is connection. Just in retweeting the responses it's clear to see that there is a wealth of talent out there just waiting for the right people to find them. There's already been some pretty big name showrunners who have requested to read scripts from writers who've responded and several senior-level writers who've vouched for the writers they've worked with and offered to recommend them. It's really been fantastic to see this grow in just a couple of days. My sincere hope is that through the hashtag writers get read, writers get hired and writers build communities with other writers.
What is your history with staffing season and how would something like #WGAStaffingBoost have helped you in the past?
I've gone through it myself a few times and I know how difficult it can be. It's very hard to get noticed. With the hashtag, people have not only been linking to their scripts but their comic books and their art. Or to their music, their shorts, and their project presentation pieces. That's the beauty of social media — you can quickly reference something that might be hard to get that out in a meeting. We are writers after all. Sometimes it's just easier to write those things down. But it's a creative, out of the box way to get attention in the mad rush that is staffing season. I think the hashtag can be a great resource.
How do you think #WGAStaffingBoost can help amplify marginalized voices especially?
So many of the responses were from writers of color, LGBTQ+ and women who were really excited to share their point of view and their material. The brilliance is blinding. Their skills are incredible. Everyone is just looking for that chance to shine and show what they can do. Some are repped and have worked on shows, but several others haven't and are looking for their first show. Some are trying to break in as writers assistants, PAs or script coordinators. There's a range of experience levels. And there's West Coast, East Coast, Midwestern and international writers who are responding. Making this an open, positive and supportive thread is part of why I think it caught fire.
Visit the #WGAStaffingBoost tag on Twitter to see some of the amazing and talented writers out there ready to bring their unique voices to your screens.