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The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Writers should continue striking against studios

Tribune Content Agency

The glitz and glamor of Hollywood has been replaced by chanting protesters holding picket signs on studio lots. Their message is simple — pay your writers. 

On May 2, 2023, the Writers Guild of America began striking after failing to negotiate a deal with studio bigwigs at the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).  The AMPTP denied the guild’s demands for better base pay, streaming residuals and protections from AI. As a result, filming, TV productions and scriptwriting came to a screeching halt. 

 Writers should not be expected to work for pennies while studio heads make millions. The unsung heroes of Hollywood deserve to be compensated for each hour they put into a production. 

The WGA reports that the lowest base salary for a staff writer is $4,546 per week, which for one season of a TV show can equal upwards of $100,000. While these figures appear positive, television writers rarely work on more than one season per year. Some writers even experience droughts, where they cannot find work for years on end. 

Writers rely on residuals received from TV networks. But budget cuts and the advent of streaming prevent many writers from being fairly compensated.

Most writers don’t have the luxury of working a 9-5. Instead, they are confined to “mini rooms” with underpaid, overworked newbies and expected to write award-winning TV shows. 

Imagine dedicating years of your life to a single show, writing storylines and developing characters. All the late nights and cups of coffee resulted in a stunning final product. Yet, you only earn a fraction of what studio executives make. 

That is not fair, especially when CEOs like Bob Iger are pocketing millions. To them, the salaries of writers must seem like chump change. 

I have not even mentioned the one fear shared by many screenwriters — AI. If studios remain unwilling to pay for quality content, many writers believe they will be replaced by AI. The WGA hopes to eliminate the use of AI for scriptwriting to protect the jobs of writers. 

Try imagining “Barbie” written by AI instead of skilled scriptwriters. The results would be disastrous. 

For now, there is no end in sight for the strike. The best thing we can do for now is support them. 

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