Writers’ guild is back!

Over the past few months, we’ve been closely following the writer’s strike in Hollywood. These professionals, awakened to the use of artificial intelligence in creativity, and fueled by sustained dissatisfaction over unfair compensation and missing bonuses for hit productions, brought the Hollywood industry to a standstill when their creative minds declared “enough is enough.”

Initially, CEOs and platforms may have believed that this display of discontent was fleeting, expecting that a few negotiations would swiftly restore order. However, fast forward to the present, and this has become one of the longest-standing strikes witnessed in Hollywood’s history. Writers have been resolute in asserting their rights, and it appears they have met with success. But what have they achieved exactly?

On September 24, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) announced the positive outcomes reached on an agreement with Hollywood major production companies and studios. On a summarized version of this agreement (94 pages long), there are some topics to highlight. 

One of the key accomplishments of the strike has been the establishment of fair compensation for workers with a yearly minimum pay increase of 3.5-5% over the next three years for most writers. This has resulted in adjustments to royalty rates when content is distributed through alternative platforms. Additionally, content creators now have greater in the production and revision of their work, which fosters increased creative freedom. These changes are not limited to content alone; they extend to the work environment, where efforts are underway to create a more supportive atmosphere for all employees.

Moreover, the use of AI, has emerged as another intriguing and pivotal aspect of the negotiations. Restrictions on AI usage have been implemented to safeguard the craftsmanship and originality of scripts and content. The most important restrictions contemplate that AI shall not be used in the creation or co-creation of content, and by any means can this tool “be used to undermine writer’s credit or separate rights.

The way these limitations will be revised is the through the terms of the collective agreement and  of course the standards settled by the law.

In summary, this agreement has reignited the production of many projects that were previously on hold in the Hollywood industry. However, it’s important to note that actors are still on strike, and studios appear to be grappling with how to fully resolve this situation. Both strikes highlight how streaming services have brought about a fresh demand for creativity in Hollywood. By emphasizing quantity over quality in their offerings, they have stirred unease among industry professionals.

So, can we anticipate a surge in higher quality original productions? It’s worth noting that the predominant offerings on streaming platforms and even in cinema have largely comprised sequels and prequels, with only a handful of truly original works featuring entirely new storylines. As the industry navigates this transformative phase, there’s a growing hope that a renewed focus on originality and creativity will lead to a broader range of compelling content for audiences.

Photo by Nikhil Mistry on Unsplash

Absolutely, the development of original projects and the cultivation of creativity do indeed require more time and effort. If we aim for higher quality content, it’s important for us as users to exercise patience and have faith in writers and creators to dedicate the necessary time to craft their work meticulously. This investment in time often leads to more engaging and rewarding viewing experiences in the end. Take, for example, the creative process behind ‘Stranger Things,’ one of the most successful series not only on Netflix, but across major streaming platforms. It takes an average of one and a half years to produce a season comprising just eight episodes. Nevertheless, the profitability and impact of these series are deemed invaluable by the streaming platform. Is the industry prepared to extend some benefits to actors and writers? If not, then perhaps the longest strike in Hollywood wasn’t as successful as it seemed.

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