Hollywood on Hold

Members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) are on strike over an ongoing labor dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

The WGA began this strike on May 2 with SAG officially joining a few months later, on July 14.

The WGA has been on strike over matters regarding better pay, limits on artificial intelligence (AI) and increased residuals, with SAG mirroring these sentiments.

According to AP News, “The guild wants to prevent raw, AI-generated storylines or dialogue from being regarded as ‘literary material’ — a term in their contracts for scripts and other story forms a screenwriter produces.”

Prof. Roger S.H. Schulman, a screenwriter and producer, said, “Because the entertainment industry has behaved unfairly in the past, it’s not unreasonable for writers to feel that it’s going to happen again with this next phase of technology.”

Due to the ongoing strike, Schulman said he can’t work on a production and also can’t take pitch meetings and propose new projects.

“There’s an entire pipeline that I have to stay out of, and that applies to a lot of my colleagues as well,” said Schulman. “It’s kind of like having a car race and not only do you have to get off the track, but you also have to put your car in the garage and take the tires off and put it up on blockers and take the engine out. It’s going to take a lot of effort to get things going again once a reasonable deal is struck.”

According to the New York Times, members of SAG are unable to work in front of the camera or promote current projects for the duration of the strike.

A central issue for both WGA and SAG is residuals, which have been heavily affected by the increase in streaming. According to the Associated Press, “residuals are long-term payments to those who worked on films and television shows,

negotiated by unions, for reruns and other airing after the initial release.”
Both unions say that while the streaming companies do pay their residuals it is a

pale imitation of what they once received.
Many movies and television shows are being delayed due to the ongoing strike.

Shows that used to produce weekly content have now remained idle for months. “I am a big fan of late-night television, and in particular Stephen Colbert. The

writing on that show is superb and I didn’t even realize how much I would miss the show until it went away,” said Schulman. “My times are a little bit sadder because I don’t get to see it.”

Many people around the world are feeling the effects of the strike, not only
for the sole purpose of losing their favorite late-night television shows but also for the potential job opportunities that can come along with them. For example, senior Stephanie Patella, experienced this feeling firsthand when her internship with Stephen Colbert was put on hold.

Patella has an internship coming up in the spring where she will be working with Stephen Colbert in NYC. However, due to the ongoing strike, she is unaware of if she will be able to experience this opportunity.

“I am not sure if my internship will take place because I am supposed to be going in person in the city to work for The Late Show. However, due to the writers’ strike, there’s a really good chance that might not happen because the show has not been on air for a very long time,” said Patella.

Patella has dreams of pursuing a career as a screenwriter. She said, “It’s really scary because I’m now in my senior year of college and I’m about to step out into the real world, except there’s a writers strike and we have no idea how long it’s going to go on.”

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Staff Writer and Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

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