Meet the Negotiating Committee: Eric Heisserer
Bio: Eric Heisserer is a screenwriter and showrunner most known for Arrival (2016) and the Netflix series Shadow & Bone. He is least known for Final Destination 5 (2011).
What prompted you to join the Negotiating Committee?
I had wanted to make another run at joining the Board of Directors last year, but my production schedule made that impossible, so I requested to enlist with the Negotiating Committee and offer whatever help I could, particularly with regards to the current state of feature writing. I've had firsthand experience in efforts that help advance protections for many of my peers, and that sort of experience motivates you to try even harder, because you realize just how big the stakes are.
Tell us about a time when you have felt a strong feeling of solidarity with your fellow writers.
When I started the Bird Box arbitration, I thought it was a singular battle between me and a streamer. But as the months turned into years, the scope kept widening—it wasn't affecting my residuals alone, but compensation for countless writers. All of us were being robbed by the same baron. There were moments when the WGA legal counsel and I had a choice to either settle or continue the silent war, and we pushed forward. The result was a resolution that returned stolen earnings to hundreds of members. And while I wasn't able to stand alongside those members on a picket line for this one, I felt as strong a sense of solidarity then as I had in 2007.
What makes the 2023 contract cycle different from past ones that you have witnessed or in which you have participated?
The 2023 contract cycle is an existential fight for proper compensation for all of us, across the board. I haven't experienced this sense of the bottom falling out beneath us before, not even when new media was taking hold and threatening to disrupt business as we knew it. Chris Keyser repeated it in his speech to members because it's true: This is about putting money back in writers' pockets, and power back in writers' hands.