By Lexie Zanghi | October 9, 2023
Photo Credit: Michael M. Santiago on Getty Images
After 148 days, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, the first Hollywood strike in 15 years, has finally ended. Their contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) was set to expire, and they had been negotiating since March on new terms, but failed to reach an agreement.
According to AP News, some of the things the writers wanted were better pay, better residuals, staffing requirements, shorter exclusivity deals, and assurance on the increase of artificial intelligence. What does this all mean?
For starters, the writer's pay rate has decreased due to inflation, “Ten years ago, 33% of TV writers were paid the minimum rate,” the Associated Press said. “Now, according to the WGA, 49% are. Accounting for inflation, writer pay has declined 14% in the last five years.”
There is no entertainment without writers, so they think they need to be paid more. Without good writers getting paid what they deserve, the quality of entertainment will drastically go down because all of the talented, skilled writers will start leaving.
With the boom in streaming platforms, a whole new ballgame for standards for workers has been introduced. Before the strike, writers were getting basically nothing for their projects that were on streaming services such as Netflix or MAX. This is because when shows were solely on cable TV, writers’ projects would be aired on repeat. Whenever a show would be repeated on a channel, they would earn residuals. Since streaming services allow movies and shows to be available anytime anywhere, they have no need to pay workers residuals. Also, there is a higher need for more media more frequently, so the writers also wanted increased staffing requirements for shows to fulfill their needs.
Shorter exclusivity, which means a worker has to work only on a certain project, deals have to deal with the length of a project or show, “Writers might have once expected to spend almost a year working on a 22- to 25-episode season of broadcast TV,” the Associated Press said. “Now, the average season is much shorter. Popular shows like ‘Bridgerton’ might have only eight episodes. Not only does that diminish writers’ per-episode pay, it can limit them from working on other programs if they’re tied to longer terms of exclusivity.”
One of the main things that writers, and actors as well, are concerned about is artificial intelligence, or A.I.. Both the writers and the actors want safeguards around it, especially since it is still very new.
Luckily, now that the strike is over, writers got many of their demands they fought hard for. Get ready to see the return of your favorite talk shows, late-night shows, and for writing on television shows and movies to resume.
But what does that mean for the actors?
Once the SAG-AFTRA strike is over, everything will resume, with everyone hopefully getting what they deserve. As of Oct. 7, SAG and AMPTP are currently renegotiating terms.
According to Variety, SAG is seeking a new three-year contract with similar protections and wishes that the WGA were asking for.
If all ends well, production will begin again on your favorite shows and movies,
and everyone will get back to work.