First off, I have no skin in this game. Yes, I am a writer, but I am also in my mid-40’s and live nowhere near where this type of writing work happens so the odds of my ever being a WGA member are probably less than 1%.
But I think it’s very important that we as writers stand with those who remind the people who make a lot of money off of the product of our labor that writers have value. There is no television series, no movie, no animated whatever that exists without someone writing that story.
Writers are core and essential to the entire entertainment industry. We are where all of it starts.
So, let’s back up a second. What is the WGA? The WGA is the Writers Guild of America (as I understand it there’s a west and an east version). They describe themselves as “a labor union representing the thousands of creators who write scripted series, features, news programs, and other content.”
They are the reason there are minimum payouts for creative work in those areas. They negotiate so that creators receive residuals for the work they do. If a series like Friends runs forever and sells forever and generates revenues forever it seems pretty logical that the people who wrote that content should also be paid for that success. They are what made that series possible.
But with the rise of streaming and the general trend (not just in entertainment but everywhere) towards consolidating as much wealth as possible at the owner and executive level, it’s become much trickier to make a living as a writer in Hollywood.
(Note again, I am not part of that part of the industry so I may get some of this a little bit wrong. Don’t use me as your definitive source on terminology or issues.)
Basically, though, as I understand it, the WGA is in negotiations about some really nasty trends in the industry that are designed to squeeze out as much money as possible for the non-writer-owners and executives and to reduce the number of writers used and the ability to train the next generation of writers.
Everything I’ve seen about the negotiations makes sense to me. Someone needs to stand up for writers and address these issues.
And since the general public may see a stoppage in new content if there’s a strike, I think even us likely-never-WGA writers also need to show our support for our fellow writers and their strike if it happens. So that’s what this post is about.
I support the WGA and their efforts on behalf of their writers.
(On a side note, I had this epiphany this morning about this whole moment of time being crafted to put people at each other’s throats over sometimes legitimate issues all so we miss the fact that the very very top of the wealth scale are sucking up as much wealth as they can while driving us towards a cliff many won’t survive. And I don’t know how you fight back against that when it’s so pernicious and widespread and will only get worse with the new tools they’re going to use to put us at each other’s throats, but if you’re someone who’s like, “writers who get to write for Hollywood are so lucky they should just suck it up because look at me, I’m poor” miss me with that shit. You’re playing into their game with that crap. Attacking people who make $30K a year while indirectly supporting those who make millions a year makes you a fool and a stooge.)
Anyway. A few links:
WGA West website about the strike : https://www.wgacontract2023.org/take-action/strike-authorization-vote
And where I get most of my information on this, John Roger’s Twitter which has lots of shared threads from others who can speak better to the whole thing: https://twitter.com/jonrog1