So, about the Writers Guild of America strike…
Long story short, it’s totally justified and I support it.
Below I’ve posted the most recent list of the WGA’s demands, and the studios’ responses to them, so dive it if you want to, but the gist is, writers want more money and greater job security. They’re not getting as big a cut of streaming revenues as they feel they deserve, and they want safeguards in place to stop studios from using AI writing programs to do the work instead of talented, skilled humans in order to save money.
Now, take a look at the dollar figure at the bottom of page two. If the WGA got everything it wanted, the cost to Hollywood would be $429 million per year. The Hollywood film industry recorded revenue of — depending on your source — between $5.99 billion (yes, Billon with a Capital B) and $7.37 billion, and that is just the domestic box office take. Add in global box office and now we’re in the realm of $26 (+/-) billion. Hollywood’s total global film and TV market is worth $267.61 billion (2022).
The WGA’s demands equal .07 percent of the lowest figure cited above.
Hollywood can easily afford the WGA’s wish list.
They can also afford to provide writers with job security by A: not reducing them to gig workers, and B: not using AI — which, frankly, can’t write to save its artificial life, certainly not in the way Hollywood needs it to write. Scripts are not simply created, passed on to the production team, and never touched again. They are frequently rewritten on the fly, on set, and AI can’t adapt to that kind of environment. Don’t take my word for it, go read this thread by Sera Gamble (The Magicians, Supernatural) about what an on-set writer does during any given production.
And I’m not going to dive down the rabbit hole of AI as a substitute for human talent, but I am going to give a hearty “fuck all the way off” to anyone who dismisses the importance of human writers and advocates for AI to take over, especially if their argument involves anything along the lines of “writers are overpaid” (they bloody well are not) and “anyone can write” (no they bloody well cannot).
If you enjoy movies or TV at all, you should be behind this strike. You should be supporting the writers. You should not be playing cheerleader for a multi-billion-dollar industry trying to screw over hard-working, skilled, talented artists whose contributions to visual media are the literal foundation for everything. Every movie, every TV show begins with the writers. Without them, you have nothing to build on.
The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Draconian Measures: First draft underway.
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