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Hollywood Writers Strike Come to an End After an Agreement to a Tentative Deal

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

When a movie or a show becomes successful, the actors receive great attention from the public and the media companies receive a great deal of money. However, the writers who created the original work usually do not get as much applause or reward. After a long time of enduring toxic conditions of employment, members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on a strike, which began on May 2 and lasted for 148 days, making it one of the longest labor strikes in the Hollywood industry. Upon an agreement to a tentative deal on Sept. 24, the WGA strike has come to an end with a new contract between writers and studios.

“It makes me feel kind of sad because I love watching television and I go to the movie theaters all the time,” sophomore Crew Carlile said. “A couple of my favorite shows thankfully have not been delayed, but some of them have been delayed. I’m just not seeing as much promotion for movies anymore because the companies have to spend more of their money to promote it.”

Prior to settling on an agreement, Hollywood writers demanded more payment, including residuals based on viewership and higher wages. In addition, with an increasing development of artificial intelligence (AI), the writers were concerned their original work would be undermined by AI-generated materials which could lessen writers value in Hollywood.

“It’s interesting when you compare it to how other countries treat their artists and writers,” English Department Chair Lee Norment said. “In Ireland, for instance, if you are a writer you can get a government subsidy. It would be nice if our culture had a similar attitude but we don’t unfortunately.”

The new contract includes several changes that will bring writers a variety of benefits. Financially, a 12.5% increase in payment over the next three years – 5% upon ratification, 4% and 3.5% in each prospective year – will address one of the biggest outcries among writers. The writers’ original work will also be protected from AI influence as companies will be prohibited from requiring writers to use AI softwares like ChatGPT. The new contract also contains a new minimum staff requirement – three writers for shows with six episodes, five writers for shows with seven to 12 episodes and six writers for shows with more than 13 episodes – and guarantees writers 20 weeks, or the “post-greenlight room” period, when a show is greenlit. Overall, the writers won many deals they hoped to achieve.

“I think the people behind the movies that are not shown on screen should also be credited and acknowledged for their work because they are the ones who made it [the original work],” senior Eva Yi said. “The actors are who help the writers bring their ideas to life so the audience can see it.”

To ratify the new contract, around 11,500 union members will vote between Oct. 2 and Oct. 9. Meanwhile, the public believes the WGA strike will affect actors, who are currently on a strike for similar reasons that is led by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). Although the tentative deal for writers will not directly affect the SAG-AFTRA, it will likely fuel the actors' strike's progress and contribute to a framework of the new contract for actors.


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