And so it begins: Writers’ Strike 2023

Last Thursday, I wrote a little bit about the potential strike between the Writers Guild and the major studios (those groups are generalizations, nuance with the links).

The contract between the WGA and AMPTP expired last night with no extension. That means as of this writing, about 11,500 writers of film and television are on strike.

A picketer walks along the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard during the writers strike in 2007.
(Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times)

Discussions have popped up on various online forums I’m part of and even at my dayjob, so I figured I’d put together some links to some of the more informative articles I’ve come across.

First up is some background and Jason Frank’s “WGA Strike for Dummies” for Vulture. He’s been updating it as the strike has approached, since it’s a developing story. (Alejandra Gularte, also at Vulture, has done a brief follow-up as of last night and I’m sure there will be more coverage from them in the days to come).

There’s also Michael Shulman’s piece for the New Yorker which goes into some of the cultural and industry shifts behind the strike with a bit more “long-form article flair.” Perhaps a best way to explain the structural changes to how the TV sausage is made can be summed up by one writer noting “… a pandemic necessity that has become a cost-saving norm.”

Dominic Patten, David Robb, Peter White echo some of that in their reporting for Deadline, also mentioning the use of AI for writing. WGA wants to regulate its use and bar it from work covered by the minimum basic agreement (what you’ll often see referred to as MBA). AMPTP wants the flexibility to discuss technology like that every year (these agreements typically last three years).

Finally, the Los Angeles Times has a round-up of articles leading up to the strike and links to additional background.

The last strike lasted a little over three months. Will this last as long? With the DGA and SAG-AFTRA three-year contracts coming up next, who knows?

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