The Brilliant Way TV Writers Are Combating Pay Inequality
Television writers, assistants, producers and directors are sharing their salaries anonymously via a Google document.
It’s long been the cultural custom not to talk about salary. However, as we’re finding out more often, this leads to significant pay gaps between genders and races. And instead of just accepting that these are the way things are, a group of television workers are finally realizing that, with a little help from Google docs, they can empower each other to get paid what they deserve.
A public Google spreadsheet has been circulating among those who work as TV writers, assistants, executives, directors, producers, and crewmembers. Everyone who works (or has worked) in the field fills out a survey that asks for the year in which they describe their demographic information, information about the show they worked on, and how much they got paid for it. The information from the survey then automatically fills into a spreadsheet that candidly shares all the data. At time of writing, the spreadsheet contained hundreds of responses.
The goal of the Document is to arm those entering or working in the industry accurate information about what a person should get paid for a certain job, based on studio and experience. However, as more people have filled out the survey it’s become apparent that the television industry is just as ripe for the pay gap as all other industries. But the hope is that the transparency will allow some workers to then negotiate higher pay rates. “Yes, people in industry are fully aware that experience, leverage, etc. factor into pay,” the Rules page of the document says, “This is still helpful to many of us to cross check studio/network we’re at.”
The awesome collaborative project comes at the heels of Hollywood embracing a more equal industry. Just a few weeks ago, it was announced that Michelle Williams only made $625,000 to reshoot All the Money in the World while costar Mark Wahlberg raked in $5 million. In 2015, Jennifer Lawrence penned a passionate essay for Lenny called “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars?”
However, you don’t have to work in the entertainment industry to fight for equal pay. Peel back the salary veil and talk to friends in your industry about how much they make. Once you’re armed with the correct information, you can go in and ask for what you deserve. Not sure what you should say at that point? Here, five things you can do to finally get that raise.