The strike that has been called by the Writers Guild is now upon us in full force. It is a job action that is a response to what the writers feel is an existential crisis they have been calling attention to for years and now threatens their very livelihood as a profession.
Many of their proposals are similar to those that we in the IA have been asking the employer to address for multiple contract cycles, such as fair residual compensation for re-use of product on streaming platforms.
The writers are struggling with reduced annual incomes due to the shorter seasons that the streaming model provides. So are we. We in the Art Department all struggle with the streaming business model as it has become more challenging to put a decent year’s worth of employment together when the projects are only 8-12 episodes instead of the 22-24 that existed in prime-time television shows.
The writers have introduced proposals requesting minimum staffing and length of prep time for pre-greenlight rooms (the notorious “mini rooms’), which has allowed the employer to save money by shortening the time they have to pay for fully staffed writers rooms. We too have faced similar challenges when presented with increasingly truncated prep times.
They’re asking for more money just as we ask for money. The employers maintain that they cannot afford to pay for increases that could minimize the effects of inflation, yet continue to add more producers with no end in sight.
I bring these up to demonstrate that their fight is our fight.