Hollywood Writers Go on Strike

The Writers Guild of America, the WGA, has gone on strike, demanding higher pay in the new streaming-oriented landscape of Hollywood. What does this mean for the average audience member? Very little.

At a time when production companies’ stocks are plummeting, budgets are higher, and profits are lower, Hollywood cannot afford such a strike. Despite this, the strike will not likely lead to a higher quality of writing. Even if an agreement is made, the same hack writers who helped usher in the current financial difficulties with their artless scripts will just return with fatter wallets and bigger egos. The quality of the writing and storytelling in Hollywood will not change due to this strike. This will leave the audience in the same perpetual hell of terrible stories they were previously stuck with. Of course, there are many talented and respectable writers who are a part of the WGA, but they were not getting hired for any high-profile projects, so why would they be after the strike? Many shows and films may be shortened, delayed, or canceled — which is what occurred during the 2007 writers’ strike — but Hollywood is still Hollywood. The strike will change nothing of substance for the end products.

writers strike

However, there are a few positives to be gleaned from this situation for the average moviegoer, all of which are merely making the best of a bad situation. Because of this strike, Hollywood must stop the constant spamming of mediocre to horrendous content and focus what few writers they have access to on priority projects. These projects may not see an increase in quality, but the audience will be mercifully given a brief reprieve from the constant deluge of garbage that Hollywood has been shoveling into their homes for years now. Marvel, the greatest offender of this quantity over quality mentality, will no longer be able to overwhelm the audience with countless products, hoping that their sheer number will distract from their sheer ineptitude. This process has already begun, with all late-night talk shows being put on indefinite hold. This aspect, though small, can be seen as nothing but a boon for the audience as they are briefly spared from the perpetual cringe.

One final thing that must be addressed with this news is the misconception amongst independent creators that this strike will open the door for them to break into the industry. It’s heartbreaking to say this, but independent creators and Iron Age writers will not benefit much from this news. Despite the lack of working writers in Hollywood, these studios cannot just hire non-union workers to supplement the loss. Previous agreements with the unions prohibit this; otherwise, each production involved will lose its union status and the benefits that go along with that. This is the main power that the WGA holds over these studios; it’s their main bargaining chip at the current negotiation table. The studios are not allowed to hire non-union workers, so if the union won’t work, the studios have to at least attempt to capitulate. The same thing occurred in 2007. There wasn’t a sudden influx of independent writers breaking into Hollywood then, and there won’t be now.

No one benefits from this strike besides the writers themselves, and only if they get very, very lucky and are swift in their negotiations. Because if their absence damages the already struggling industry to a far enough degree, the money they’re demanding may not even exist when the negotiations subside. New creators can’t break into the industry, the studios were bleeding money even before the strike — and even more so now — the audience doesn’t get better content, and the writers risk bringing down the very system that they are attempting to exploit. The only positives to be found are in the audiences’ brief relief from constant sludge and whatever enjoyment the average Joe can derive from seeing Hollywood elites at each other’s throats.

Hollywood has been in a precarious position for some time now, and the WGA’s strike is not helping them or the audience that they’ve all forgotten that they work for.

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