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Writers fight back in Hollywood

Olivia Barone

Anchor Staff Writer

Image via Martin Lopez/Pexels

Hollywood writers rallied together Tuesday and declared a strike for the first time in 15 years. This strike came after a meeting between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) failed to produce a contract that could satisfy both parties.

Noon struck on Tuesday and the writers of the WGA walked, voicing their outrage against the AMPTP after they failed to agree to compensation for writers who have lost thousands in income due to the rise in streaming services. These platforms such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have changed the game when it comes to visual entertainment, thus altering the professions of the creative minds behind the scenes.

No longer are series drawn out for dozens of episodes each season, but are often released via eight to 12 episodes at a time. Each episode is generally feature length with budgets equipped to meet high-value production, resulting in the outstanding series seen across all streaming platforms in recent years. However, with the decline in number of episodes per season and focus on production value, writers have been left in the dust. This drastic change in entertainment is no fault of their own, but writers across the country have suffered immense cuts in income due to a loss of consistency in their jobs as they are no longer tasked with writing years worth of episodes.

The rise of streaming services have also resulted in a lack of royalties for writers. Usually, writers, producers and actors would earn a sum each time a series would air somewhere other than TV, but the exclusivity of streaming platforms has made this uncommon. Writers’s paychecks are falling short and their hard work is undervalued.

However, despite the Guild’s pleas, the AMPTP insists they’ve also fallen on hard times. In recent years, Wall Street has lost faith in these streaming conglomerates and has thus refused to invest. Many entertainment platforms have been forced to lay off thousands of employees, making it difficult for them to consider compensation for writers and other facets of their production teams.

The effects of the writers’ strike has spread like wildfire. Popular late-night shows such as Jimmy Fallon’s “The Tonight Show” and NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” have since been forced to go on hiatus and began airing reruns. Even SNL has canceled their weekly performance this Saturday night. Many predict that daytime soaps and dramas will be the next to take a forced leave.

Instead of writing, members of the WGA now march the streets in New York City and Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, they can be heard chanting, “Whose stories? Our stories!” as they seek recompense.

The last time the Guild marched in 2007 for a similar disagreement with the AMPTP, they remained on strike for 100 days. Many expect that their determination has not died out.

The longevity of the entertainment industry is at stake as the creators behind our most beloved series and films look for producers to value their work. Meanwhile, the value of writing as a profession is hanging in the balance as both parties grapple to ensure their futures. A compromise must be made to satisfy these quarreling sides of the entertainment industry or the artists credited for the stories we love might fall to the wayside.


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