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Writers Guild Squares Off Against Industry Executives In Hopes Of Improving Pay

In a fight for fair wages and worthwhile livings, a beaten-down Hollywood has just been served a potential knockout blow. On May 1, as The Writers Guild of America saw their three-year contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers expire, thousands of writers went on strike for financial reform.

         An action sought with failed negotiations between both parties that stretched on for months prior to the awaited expiration date Hollywood will be split into thirds. One being the executive side that bankrolls the business, the other an angered pact of writing workhorses and the final sect lying in the hands of actors, directors and any other creative bodies in the business.

         Productions have already seen a hit from the walkout, as “The Late Show” on CBS, "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on ABC, "The Tonight Show" on NBC, "Late Night" on NBC, and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" have stopped production and plan to run repeats for the foreseeable future, as reported by CBS News.

         A move viewed as a necessary cost for those in alliance with the guild, this holdup will impose a direct effect on the writers as well as associated employees within the industry. Catering services, makeup and wardrobe, on-site production and several other positions will soon be left without work as screenwriters and staff writers will be busy striking.

         Challenging the digital beast connected to a gradual decrease in wages, writers attest to the growth of streaming as the fuel for their campaign. By using less staff, these platforms promote a smaller quantity of writers while diminishing the quality of their pay. That, paired with the industry’s constant rotation of media, means the stakes of maintaining relevance for entertainment providers have never been higher.

         Despite this move and its recent effect on time-sensitive media such as talk shows, viewers can expect a standard flow of content in the months to come. A backup of new material, largely in part due to the length of time it takes for production to wrap on a project, makes the future for audiences appear stable.

         Streamers left without a writing staff could actually face a profit in the coming months as a vacancy in employees voids already depleted wages to zero. Additionally, the strike’s borders reside in the states, meaning foreign media is still available for entertainment conglomerates to pull from.

         Overcoming a lack of job stability and a potential boost to the very market they oppose, the guild  continues to stand together, with 98% of more than 9,000 union-represented writers authorizing the strike, as reported by The New York Times.

         A movement that has been over 15 years in the making, with the last strike occurring in 2007 in the midst of a national recession, taking 100 days to quench the preceding protest. Now, with this being the first strike in the age of streaming, a forecast for the future is absent, with projections for its closure varying in range.

         Onlookers to that of the Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild of America could have a direct impact on the campaign’s duration, as a disruption of writing, acting, and directing would topple the industry entirely.


       As the protest is in its infancy stages, the writing community is ready to fight for a change in protocol. Shaking the business at its core, the coming months will prove pivotal in determining whether Hollywood will topple under the blows it receives or accommodate to its spited creative contender. 

Source Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images


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