The Film and TV industry's production ground to a halt as writers went on strike for 148 days, and actors for 118, with the Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild of America taking action due to the impact of online streaming services. Notable US productions, including Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story Season 12, Disney’s Andor Season 2, and the Blade Runner 2099 Mini Series, all came to a standstill due to the strikes.
The world of streaming, with services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Now TV, has created a highly accessible platform, diminishing the specialness of films and causing decision fatigue. The ease of access has also led to a decline in cinema attendance, TV viewership, and DVD purchases.
Kimiko Glenn, star of Orange is the New Black, has been an outspoken advocate on social media, addressing the issue of meager royalties from streaming services. Other actors, like Matt McGorry, have shared their experiences, highlighting the disparity between the success of shows and actor compensation.
Writers, often working freelance, face challenges with stagnant pay rates, deflation in earnings, and a lack of stability, exacerbated by changes in the entertainment landscape. The Writers Guild Association's data indicates a significant percentage of writers receiving the minimum basic rate.
Despite soaring budgets for TV shows and films, the creators and writers contributing to these stories find their pay not commensurate with the industry's growth. Higher paying roles have become fiercely competitive, even for seasoned professionals.
The strike has had far-reaching effects, causing financial and mental stress for those in the entertainment industry, not limited to the US but also affecting productions in the United Kingdom, including Deadpool 3 and Wicked.
Charities like the Entertainment Community Fund have played a crucial role in providing support to those affected by the strike, with celebrities contributing time and memorabilia to fundraising efforts.
The strikes have now officially concluded, with actors securing a historic deal that includes the highest pay increase in 40 years, improved residuals for streaming services, and safeguards against AI impacts. President Joe Biden commends the collaboration between SAG-AFTRA and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
For writers, a similar deal addresses concerns about AI, banning its use for jobs that could be performed by humans. The agreement also includes an increase in the minimum pay rate and favorable changes to residuals/royalties.
As the progression of streaming services continues, these new contracts are expected to open doors for stable, structured, and secure jobs. While actors and writers return to their positions with optimism, only time will reveal the long-term impact of these developments on the industry.
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