Creating entertainment in Hollywood was much simpler before streaming. The writers wrote, the actors acted, the show would air, and everyone would get paid for their part in the project along with residuals if the show was picked up for syndication or re-runs. This was the structure that everyone involved in creating the show could rely on to earn income after the series had come to an end.
Now that the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) has joined forces with SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), it is not just the writers and actors feeling the pain. The shutdown has a ripple effect that reaches all the workers behind the scenes as well. Lighting, sound engineers, set design, catering, makeup artists, and a ton of other occupations that are crucial to the process may also be out of a job.
At the heart of the strike are two major demands – fair pay and regulations for AI technology that will soon come for all industries everywhere. While there are not many examples of just how far AI could impact Hollywood, the possibilities are endless. AI could end up being the “writers” for movies and shows. Using this technology wouldn’t create anything new, it would take bits and pieces of what exists out there on the internet and make a script.
It is possible that AI could also take the likeness of actors and actresses to where they may be seen in the movie but not actually be acting in the movie. There may not be a need to hire extras if AI can create them. If there were no sets, no actors, no writers, or no crew, everything would be generated, not created.
Meanwhile, the top Hollywood executives made hundreds of millions of dollars over the past 5 years.
See the unofficial List of productions impacted by the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike.
Making movies and shows in Hollywood sounds like a very prestigious and lucrative career if you associate the industry with the top 1% of actors making millions of dollars per movie or per episode. But the writers are the heart of Hollywood. The stories are made into scripts by the writers. To get a project off the ground, the script must make the rounds to the production studios, and the actors must connect with the script and the story to want to bring it to life. The directors need to believe that the story can be brought to life. The audience needs to have that emotional investment in the storyline, characters, and progression from beginning to end.
Do the right thing
The giant Hollywood studios do have a plan – wait until the writers run out of money. “The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses,” a studio executive told Deadline. Another with inside information about the tactic called it “a cruel but necessary evil.” – Distractify
Without the writers, no story would be told, no characters would be created, and popular culture would barely exist as it is today. Actors wouldn’t have any projects they would want to be a part of. The studios continue to make a lot of money, but without the writers, they wouldn’t have anything to make money from.
For more information about the Writers Guild of America, where to picket, and how to help, click the image below or this link here.