If you are even tangentially aware of the entertainment industry (and one would assume you would be if you are interested in reading this site), then you should know of the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike after the negotiations were pretty much called off by the executives, studios, and companies on the other side of the table. After receiving basically an insulting offer of nothing, the Guild, with an overwhelming vote in favor, called for a full strike last week immediately halting any writing being done for shows. This means no new scripts sold, no rewrites, no set writing or correcting, just no writing of any kind done on film or television by union, or prospective, union members. For a concise description of the strike, watch this:
Now, the ongoing strike is entering its second week. More and more members have joined picket lines across various productions and studios across the country. The DGA (Directors Guild of America) and SGA (Screen Actors Guild of America) have both expressed support and have seemingly vowed to join the WGA and their efforts especially with their own contracts being up for negotiation with the AMPTP soon. Furthermore, they have already seen how many of the attacks and provisions that the WGA is fighting against have also been included to some extent in the provisional contracts already presented. The current pickets and work stoppage has already shut down various productions including BLADE, Stranger Things, and putting many others on permanent hold regardless of the studios and corporations attempts to work around these strikes.
None of this is surprising as more and more executives and companies have tried to squeeze every drop of blood from the stone to push their own salaries up and make the line on the graph go up in the pursuit of impossible, exponential growth. Of course, this can only be done by removing workers and paying the ones still present even less. Again, corporate greed by people with no real skills and an utter lack of appreciation for talent or art is not surprising. What is surprising, however, is the support that the WGA currently has across the board. Yes, from other guilds, thankfully, but also from audiences, fans, agencies, etc. And more surprising is how little control over the message the studios and money actually has at the moment.
Social media is being used as it was originally intended and giving a voice to the powerless. Writers, actors, picketers, streamers, and really anyone supporting the strike can hop on to Twitter or Instagram or TikTok or, hell, even Twitch and begin streaming and discussing in real time what the actual situation is. Even better, they are going to the picket lines and interviewing the strikers and putting real faces to the stories and giving time and attention to every voice and perspective possible. Plus, the writers are able to respond, now that they are not in rooms working or pushing to get meetings, to the complaints or opposition in real time, as well, and just destroy the opposition in an eloquent, entertaining, and engaging manner. Frankly, the AMPTP drastically underestimated how petty and prepared the WGA was for this, or how the other unions would look to their actions as a guide for their own eventual negotiations.
Because that is what it will take: a complete unified force of the writers, directors, actors, and every single union and guild member holding the line against the rich and empowered. Make no mistake of the importance of this moment. We have already seen so many other industries and fields and careers destroyed by these corporate assholes who worship at the altar of Capitalism and serve to only see the line on the graph tick up. All is in service to that. Journalism, at all levels, has become a sad, pale imitation of its former self. The railroad industry is more profitable for the corporate overlords but has never had more accidents, less workers, and such desperation from the ones that remain. And the service industry is constantly growing but getting worse and worse with each passing year. We are living through the results of unfettered, unrestrained capitalism that only benefits a few, and we cannot continue down this path.
I know the attempted narrative is that these writers are whiny, privileged, and overpaid, but nothing could be further from the truth. Most working writers, even in the WGA, make less than teachers and service workers. They are not asking to become rich. They are merely asking to make the job of writing a viable career path. They want to be able to afford basic food and shelter at the cost of a studio exec only being able to afford three instead of four vacation homes and to downgrade to a mid-sized instead of a full sized yacht. And this is an important fight because if the WGA wins, then other unions can also win, and that could be the first domino in taking back some power and wealth from the rich assholes who do nothing and provide nothing to the world. Because, honestly, that is who is on the other side of the negotiating table: a bunch of privileged dicks who were lucky enough to be born with a silver spoon and access to even more resources.
So, support the WGA and their actions. Support the other guilds and unions if and when they have to strike. Support all workers across all industries in their efforts to live and fuck over the wealthy. It’s the only way forward!