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TV writers, actors push for pay parity

IANS | Los Angeles |

Hollywood writers and actors are batting for pay parity in an effort to bring transparency to the going rates for TV writers, actors and assistants.

Two Google docs titled TV Actors Salary and TV Writers Salary are making a buzz through the industry via social media posts.

The documents urge readers to give information about their salaries for working on series and pilots for specific networks and studios, reports People offering the information can remain anonymous.

The spreadsheets have asked for gender, race and ethnicity details of contributors as well as the experience level of each person, which has long been one of the biggest determinants of wages.

A female co-producer working at Warner Bros’ TV production makes $15,000 an episode for a 23-episode order. A female story editor working on an hour-long Fox production makes $5,900 a week.

The actors’ salary list had fewer entries by early evening on Tuesday. Most entries on the writers’ list appeared to come from women.

The anonymous, crowd-sourced effort naturally has its limitations as an accurate measure of salaries and disparities between the earnings of the white men who continue to dominate the industry and women and persons of colour.

Melissa Silverstein, publisher of the Women and Hollywood blog and artistic director of New York’s annual Athena Film Festival, was among those who spread the word of the docs on Tuesday.

Silverstein told that the effort began in the past few days with a group of writers working on TV series. The document was first shared among a small group of writers but spread like wildfire after links were shared via social media.

“It’s trying to take away the mystery of salaries and really empower people to understand how salary decisions get made. It’s trying to help people know what to expect when they’re making a deal,” said Silverstein.

“It’s really powerful to share these things. For so long, silence has been encouraged. I think this is an example of people saying ‘We will be silent no more,” she added.