The 2023 Writers' Strike and the Importance of Self-Advocacy for Creators
For the first time since 2007-08, Hollywood is facing another writers' strike. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) is currently in a contract dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which is the entity that represents studios and networks.
Negotiations for a new contract began in March, but they have yet to yield an agreement. As a result, thousands of writers have taken to the picket lines, halting production on some of the most popular TV shows and films in the industry.
The Impact of the Writers' Strike
The writers' strike has had a significant impact on the entertainment industry. Late-night talk shows, such as The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, are no longer airing new episodes.
Many TV shows and films, including Stranger Things and The Batman, have had to delay production, which could ultimately result in delayed release dates. In addition, streaming services like Netflix and Amazon have been forced to slow down their content production.
“It’s really important that writers be paid for their work.”
Better Compensation in the Era of Streaming
One of the main issues at the heart of the negotiations is the WGA's desire for better compensation for writers in the era of streaming. The WGA is seeking higher residuals for writers when their work is streamed online, as well as more protections for writers in the event of layoffs or staff reductions.
The WGA argues that writers should be fairly compensated for the use of their work on streaming platforms, which have become the primary way that people consume entertainment.
The AMPTP, however, has pushed back against the WGA's demands, arguing that the proposed changes could have unintended consequences for the industry. The AMPTP has stated that the WGA's proposed increases in residuals could result in increased costs for producers, which could ultimately lead to fewer jobs for writers. They have also argued that the WGA's proposals could result in more complicated compensation structures, which would make it harder for writers to be paid fairly.
Many writers have spoken out in support of the strike and the WGA's demands. “It’s really important that writers be paid for their work,” said writer and producer Alex Gregory in an interview with Vanity Fair. “The industry is changing, and we need to make sure that writers are being fairly compensated in the new landscape.”
The Importance of Self-Advocacy for Creators
The strike has also highlighted the importance of self-advocacy for creators. In a recent opinion piece for MSNBC, writer and producer Wendy Calhoun argued that writers need to be more vocal about their worth and their value to the industry.
"Writers are often reluctant to advocate for themselves," Calhoun wrote. "But the truth is that we have a responsibility to stand up for ourselves and our colleagues. We need to make sure that our voices are heard, and that we are being compensated fairly for the work that we do."
The Strike's Impact on the Viewing Audience
The tension between self-advocacy and the impact on the viewing audience is evident. While the strike is an important step in achieving fair compensation for writers, it also has consequences for the audience who consume the content.
In an interview with USA Today, film and TV historian David Thomson said, "It's terrible for audiences, of course. They'll be left with reruns and no new programming. But I think the industry is gambling that the public will eventually forgive and forget."
The WGA and the AMPTP are continuing negotiations, and it remains to be seen how long the strike will last and what the ultimate outcome will be. However, what is clear is that the strike is a reminder of the importance of fair compensation for creators and the need for self-advocacy in the entertainment industry.
The good news is that a writer's strike can bring attention to important issues and help build momentum for change. As writers fight for fair compensation, it's important for creators to take note and learn from the strike. Self-advocacy is crucial, and understanding your worth and value is essential to being a successful creator in today's media landscape.
"The WGA is fighting for a more equitable future for all of us..."
A More Equitable Future
While the tension between the writer's self-advocacy and the delay of projects can be frustrating for viewers, it's important to remember that these issues are part of a larger struggle for fairness and equity in the industry. Ultimately, the hope is that a resolution can be reached that benefits all parties involved and helps to create a more just and equitable system for creators.
In the meantime, those on strike are standing strong, and the impact of their actions is being felt across the industry. As writer and producer Shonda Rhimes said in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, "The WGA is fighting for a more equitable future for all of us. It's our responsibility to stand with them and support their efforts."
The writer's strike may cause some disruptions in the entertainment industry, but it's also a sign that creators are standing up for themselves and advocating for their worth.
As the industry continues to evolve and change, it's important for creators to stay informed, stay engaged, and continue to fight for fair compensation and recognition. After all, the success of the industry depends on the success of its creators.