Hollywood Writers On the Brink

(Image via usatoday.com)

Business Manager: Brendan Flaherty

Email: bflaherty1@umassd.edu 

As the contract for Hollywood writers closed on May 1st, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) came together and started a strike on May 2nd.

The WGA is angered by the amount that is being demanded of them and the little pay they receive, according to USA Today.

A similar protest occurred from 2007-2008, when the same issues arose, resulting in a slowed production of television and film.

The stress on the workers of the WGA is likely a result of the constant demand for content that the popularity of streaming services has created.

Other genres of television are impacted, too, such as talk shows and other regularly aired television programs. 

Variety on MSN provided a plethora of shows and current productions that will see a halt in progress.

For example, all late night shows will “go-dark” during this period of time due to the fact that these shows rely on the writers to create their scripts and plan out episodes.

This will go into effect almost immediately as late-night shows are written days before going live rather than weeks.

Some other popular shows that the article mentioned are Cobra Kai, AMC shows in general, House of the Dragon, Stranger Things, and many more.

While fans of these shows are understandably upset, they must also try to realize the injustices that the WGA is facing. It’s unfortunate that this is what it took for their voices to be heard.

Many influencers, actors, and others have voiced their support for the WGA and understand that this is important.

One such influencer that has taken the attention of the media through her association with the WGA is Jennifer Coolidge, who publicly defended the WGA while accepting an award at the MTV Movie & TV Awards.

“I stand here before you tonight, side by side with my sisters and brothers from the WGA that are fighting right now, fighting for the rights of artists everywhere.” said Coolidge during her acceptance.

Whilst some TV shows and companies, such as Netflix and HBO, are slowed in the progression of their shows, other companies continue to proceed in their efforts.

A company that has not seemingly been slowed by the strike is Paramount. They have content that is ready to be released, as they expected a writers’ strike.

According to Bob Bakish, CEO of Paramount, they have “many levers to pull, and that will allow us to manage through a writers’ strike,” in an article from Deadline on MSN.

Although it was made clear that Bakish is sympathetic to the writer’s plight, going on to say that “writers are really an essential part of creating content that our audiences enjoy…”

(Image via usatoday.com)

Some believe that the strike is very foolish and that the strike would be detrimental to all aspects of production companies and studios, from employers to consumers.

According to Mary McNamara from the Los Angeles Times, “The entertainment industry can’t afford it,” and goes on to talk about how there is no positive from this situation.

After a pandemic, a lack of jobs, heightened political division, and other societal struggles, McNamara believes that a strike would be detrimental to the industry and the people working in it.

She believed that a negotiation needed to happen to suit the needs of the WGA and to create a conversation about ways to help writers cope with the unbearable amount of work and the little pay they receive for it.

The poll was taken to gauge the guild member’s approval of the strike. 

The result was a whopping 97.85% approval rate, and so they did.

But only about 79% of guild members would actually be able to take part in the strikes, as the remaining percentages would likely continue working. 

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) was butting heads with the WGA in order to come to a final agreement on how to satisfy both parties. Unfortunately, such an agreement was never made.

The party that is receiving the short end of the stick is obvious. 

AMPTP needs to stop screwing around and come to the table with reasonable responses to the WGA’s core demands,” says McNamara.

Justin Halpern, writer, and showrunner for hit shows such as Abbot Elementary and Harley Quinn, came forward to talk about the widely held misconception that television writers are extremely wealthy. 

A lot of our members can’t even pay their rent.

Abbot Elementary is yet another one of the shows that would see a slow in their production due to the strike.

AMPTP believed that their negotiations were reasonable, and they claimed not to be in fear of this strike. “Its inevitable ratification should come as no surprise to anyone,” AMPTP told ABC News.

(Image via npr.org)

Although the strike has officially started, many people have joined the sides of the writers in support against their injustice. There is still hope for a peaceful and quick resolution to this strike.

No information has been dispersed on the progression that the strike has made in creating new and fair terms.

The writers can be seen outside of their offices and around the streets holding picket signs and loudly protesting to ensure that people can finally understand.

How long this strike could last is unknown. 

It is clear, however, that a change needs to be made. The entertainment district will suffer, and the writers will suffer if no change is made to suit their dire needs.

We can only hope now that the strike can end peacefully and swiftly.


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