The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has gone on strike due to AMPTP stonewalling, so your movies and TV shows could suck for a while. / Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers / protest signs
Image provided by Writers Guild of America.

All Your Movies and TV Shows Are Going to Stop or Suck as Writers Guild Goes on Strike

In 2007 the Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike, and we all learned that writers are actually a really important part of making good movies and we should probably pay them fair wages. Well, most of us learned that. Studios in Hollywood seemingly did not. So for a new contract between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and the WGA this year, the studios, represented by the AMPTP, held out against many of the guild’s entirely reasonable demands, and we are, as of today, once again seeing the majority of Hollywood’s writers going on strike.

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For anyone paying attention, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Negotiations between the Writers Guild of America — the union that represents film and TV writers — and the AMPTP have not been going well at all, with both sides claiming that the other is at fault. WGA says that the studios would not even begin to negotiate on their core sticking points, while the AMPTP says what they want is too much. Too much in this case is the kind of stuff that makes being a professional writer more of an actual job than a gig, including minimum staffing (a show would need a certain number of writers on staff), the establishment of viewer-based streaming residuals, the use of artificial intelligence (or not), and full pension and health contributions for writing teams.

There’s also, of course, money as well. The WGA is looking to increase pay and benefits by $429 million over three years, whereas the AMPTP is only offering $89 million. The two sides seem extremely far apart, with the AMPTP not even offering a counter-proposal to the WGA, and it’s not clear what’s going to bring them back together.

What will the Writers Guild of America strike mean for us, the viewers? Well, immediately, not much. Plenty of series and films have their scripts ironed out and will be made just fine, though without the benefit of good rewrites if needed. However, as time goes on it will mean that we’ll have fewer shows and movies coming out, and those that do come out will almost definitely not be up to any standard that we’re hoping for. In fact, there’s an immediate impact as late-night shows, which operate on a nearly constant writing cycle, are already shutting down.

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Matthew Razak
Matthew Razak is a News Writer and film aficionado at Escapist. He has been writing for Escapist for nearly five years and has nearly 20 years of experience reviewing and talking about movies, TV shows, and video games for both print and online outlets. He has a degree in Film from Vassar College and a degree in gaming from growing up in the '80s and '90s. He runs the website and has written for The Washington Post, Destructoid, MTV, and more. He will gladly talk your ear off about horror, Marvel, Stallone, James Bond movies, Doctor Who, Zelda, and Star Trek.