For all Mankind writers and co-EPs David Weddle and Bradley Thompson

Guild & Industry

Partners Celebrate Contract Victory

For veteran writing team David Weddle and Bradley Thompson, greater pension contributions make the future look bright.

For nearly 30 years, David Weddle and Bradley Thompson have been breaking stories, swapping passes, finding creative common ground, supporting each other against studio zaniness, and doing all of the things that members of a writing team do to thrive. 

Weddle and Thompson on the picket lines in 2023.

The ratification of the 2023 MBA has helped make an already formidable partnership that much stronger. Now, for the first time in their years working together on series ranging from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to Battlestar Galactica, CSI, The Strain, and their current series, For All Mankind, Thompson and Weddle will both receive pension and health contributions as though each was writing as an individual. 

“It makes a huge difference,” Weddle said. “Given that Brad and I are older and we don’t have that many years before retirement, it’s especially crucial and important to us, so we’re very happy about this.”

Thompson agreed, expressing that during their 28-year career, they had been accruing pension benefits at a slower rate than colleagues who write as individuals. “This will make my retirement decision easier,” he added. “I won’t have to move to Michigan.”

The banter between the two longtime friends is easy, and they routinely mess with each other (and with the interviewer). Weddle and Thompson may be one of the longest writing partnerships still working. They were both at USC film school in the late 1970s and became aware of each other in a method acting class. Upon learning that they shared an interest in writing, Thompson and Weddle exchanged scripts and discovered that they liked each other’s work. Weddle also cast Thompson to act in an L.A. production of a play that he had written.

Then they split off to pursue different careers—Weddle to explore directing and work as a journalist, Thompson to the world of engineering where he designed fiber optics. Weddle’s 1994 Sam Peckinpah biography If They Move…Kill ‘Em!, drew the admiration of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine showrunner Ira Steven Behr. While visiting Behr on the DS9 set, Weddle asked if he could pitch the show. 

He then called Thompson who he knew was a sci-fi fan. Thompson, who wasn’t loving the life of an engineer, was only too happy to give TV writing a shot. 

Given that Brad and I are older and we don’t have that many years before retirement, it’s especially crucial and important to us, so we’re very happy about this.

- David Weddle

“We studied the show, and then we went in and pitched, and Ira spent three hours with us, which was unheard of,” Thompson said. “He took one of our pitches, wrote it on the board in one sentence, and that’s the story we sold. From that point, we have been working together.”

“We always remained friends, and we have a lot of sensibility that we share, particularly that we both had fathers in World War II,” Weddle added. “We studied Deep Space Nine for about a month. I didn’t know what anyone was talking about. ‘What’s a Cardassian? A woman who lives in Encino? What’s a Ferengi?’ But we sold that first script, and Ron Moore wrote the teleplay of our story. We sold two scripts the next year and we had an office at Paramount. We were TV writers.”

David Weddle serving as a lot coordinator at Sony during the 2023 strike. Photo by J.W. Hendricks.

As their careers were launching back in the mid-1990s, Thompson and Weddle didn’t give much thought to pensions, despite learning from DS9 producer René Echevarria that vesting in a pension would be a highly coveted goal five years down the line. Weddle figured his career in the industry might not even last that long.

That was almost 30 years ago. The partners have enjoyed successful careers. Both insist that they want to keep working, but they also want the security of knowing they can call it quits when the time comes.

“Most of our friends in the business who are our age are already taking their pension,” Weddle said. But splitting their contributions put he and Thompson behind their cohort.

Both men were active during the 2023 strike. Both served as captains and Weddle was a lot coordinator at Sony who often delivered impassioned speeches at member meetings. Thompson and Weddle contend that the adjustment to the pension contributions for teams came as a happy but somewhat unexpected outcome of the contract victory.

“I was on the lines mainly for the fact that the rest of the stuff was so unjust,” Thompson said. “I figured I’m still in this career and this was the deal that was set 30 years ago, and I was going to live this out. What was happening in terms of AI and mini-rooms and young writers not being able to afford to live and still write…that’s what got us out there.”

“I never for a minute thought we would get [the health and pension adjustment for teams]” added Weddle. “It wasn’t until the final meeting when we had a deal and they announced all of the things we got. That’s when it hit me: Oh my God, we’re getting this! And that’s an amazing achievement for Brad and me in particular.”

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