The reports that the writers' strike could be nearing its end are good news for TV and movie fans, but they've got to be even better news for folks like Nina Bargiel. As a member of the Writers Guild of America, Bargiel — who wrote 17 episodes of Lizzie McGuire and has worked for several animated shows — has been on the run since the strike began in November, working three part-time jobs, blogging on a couple of websites, and marching on the picket lines.
As part of the Adopt a Writer project, Bargiel answered some of my questions about her life on strike. You can check out her work at The Slack Daily and The Post-Apocalyptic Workout, and to see what Bargiel had to say to me, read on:
What was your first TV writing job, and how did you get it?
I moved out to California right after college in 1994 with the thought that I'd be an agent. Two weeks in the UTA mailroom disabused me of that notion, although I did end up at ICM as an assistant to a television lit agent. I'd read client scripts and think "I can do that" (which is what everyone thinks!) but it wasn't until a few months later when my older brother, a naturally funny guy, decided that he was going to quit his finance job in New York and move out to LA to be a stand-up comedian. I suggested we try writing a script together, and suddenly we were TV writers. At that point I had started working as an assistant to my friend and mentor who was an executive producer, and when she was tapped to run Lizzie McGuire in 2000, we were offered our first gig.
When did you become a member of the WGA? In practical terms, what does that mean for you, whether you're working on a show or not?
That would be 2000, when I got the job as a staff writer on Lizzie McGuire. As a Guild member you're eligible for insurance if you earn a certain amount of money per quarter, and they also handle your residuals and your pension. However, it does not mean job security. The WGA doesn't get you work; you and your representation are responsible for that.
I've got lots more from Bargiel on her life as a striking writer, so just read more