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The WGA Strike: Why It’s Important


By now, you have probably heard about Hollywood writers striking, but you might not know why. On May 2nd, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) labor union began striking due to unfair pay and treatment in Hollywood. Many prominent writers and actors such as Quinta Brunson, Chris Pine, Drew Barrymore, and Pete Davidson have expressed their support for the strike or are actively taking part in it.

Unfortunately, much of the major media coverage of the strike has been focused on what shows and movies will be delayed or affected by the strike, likely as a means to turn the public against the strikers. Several shows have already announced that they would be resuming production once the WGA’s terms are met, such as Stranger Things, Abbott Elementary, Yellowjackets, and several late-night shows. Naturally, many fans were alarmed, but it is important to know why writers are striking and why it’s important that shows and movies are delaying production in respect.

The main focus of the strike is to raise the wages of writers in Hollywood as the WGA expressed concerns about major cuts in incomes within the past decade. Writers are the backbone of all your favorite shows and movies, and it’s inexcusable that they would be compensated far less than the actors and producers working on the same productions. Without writers, these actors and producers would have nothing to work with–no one to spend hours upon hours writing and perfecting scripts with direction and comedic, heartfelt, and heart-wrenching dialogue.

This brings us to the guild’s next concern: the rise of AI. There has been a lot of talk recently about the advancements of artificial intelligence and how it could be used to replace real people, such as AI-generated movies, shows, and music. The problem with this is that AI-generated art in any form loses emotional depth and originality. AI pulls from preexisting sources to create new things, but they’re usually off in some way that makes it noticeable to have not been made by a human person. AI-generated writing also lacks the emotion and care put in by human writers who write from their own experiences or the archives of their imagination. Furthermore, the WGA isn’t demanding the removal of AI technology in Hollywood as a whole; simply that AI does not replace human writers and is only used as a tool to help or supplement.

Moreover, the Writers Guild is asking for more concrete terms in their contracts, such as how many writers would be working on a project for a specific time, as well as money for their pensions and healthcare. The latter request was outright rejected by the opposition, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), though hopefully if the strike goes on long enough, they will reconsider.

This is not the first time the WGA has struck–the last strike occurred from 2007 to 2008, and there were several throughout the decades before. The terms regarding payment are similar, but what’s new is the existence of streaming platforms. The billion-dollar companies bring a more complicated element to the strike, though the strikers are undeterred.

Many actors and directors have expressed their support for WGA members, so viewers must do, too. As mentioned before, the writers are the people behind the many shows and movies we love to watch. It may take a little more patience to wait for some shows to resume production, but I think it’s worth it to get some quality writing and treatment for writers.

Written by Alec Conwell

Check out more of our coverage of the writer's strike below!

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