Hollywood Screenwriters set to strike first time in 15 years
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) is preparing for their first strike in over 15 years, as negotiations with major studios over wages have reached a stalemate.
Over 9,000 Hollywood TV and movie screenwriters, representing over 98% of voting members, are expected to participate in the upcoming strike.
The strike comes after the studios failed to come to an agreement with the writers over compensation for their work that frequently lingers on streaming services for years, as well as the potential effects of artificial intelligence on writing.
The WGA has advised its members to be prepared to picket if a new deal was not negotiated by the deadline.
Late-night programming may end as of midnight (US time), and upcoming programming and films may experience delays.
The impact of the strike could be significant, as the last WGA strike in 2007 cost the US $2 billion.
Despite the studios’ statement that they need to reduce expenses due to mounting debt, residuals payouts to writers reached an all-time high of $494 million in 2021.
However, the writers claim that they are still being paid less than ever, with many struggling to make ends meet in expensive cities like New York and Los Angeles.
“Although we are producing creative output that meets the needs of the streaming era, we are being paid less than ever,” said Alex O’Keefe, a writer for the comedy-drama series The Bear and a member of the union. “And writers like me, especially young, Black, indigenous, and writers of color, have infused the process with an entirely new wave of creativity.”
“However, we are finding it difficult to live in cities where we need to be in writers’ rooms, such as New York City and Los Angeles.” According to Alex O’Keefe, “I wouldn’t categorize all writers as being poor or broke, but I can state that I have $6 in my bank account.”
The strike is a result of an “existential crisis” that writers are experiencing, as they fight for their creative value and wages.
The WGA is determined to fight for the rights of its members, who are the backbone of the entertainment industry, as they embark on this historic strike.