top of page

Scripted Silence: The Writer's Strike Settles

By Evyn Roliz

The 2023 SAG-AFTRA Writer’s Strike has finally come to a conclusion after entertainment companies proposed a new contract intended to better protect screenwriters. After 148 days of protests for higher pay and better working conditions, film and television writers will be returning to work.

“A lot of these writers, from the research I have been doing, are working paycheck to paycheck, meaning that they are not able to have a lot of money saved,” social studies teacher and NHP Productions adviser Mr. Kern said.

On September 27, 2023, entertainment studios and writers reached an agreement aimed to provide writers with higher compensation, especially regarding royalties for shows on streaming platforms. The agreement also covers the new placement of limitations on the use of AI for scriptwriting. As the use of artificial intelligence has become increasingly popular to generate scripts and other forms of writing, the jobs of unionized screenwriters were put in jeopardy.

“I can empathize with the need for performers to want to get paid fairly for their original work and not have studios rely on AI, thereby putting the careers of actors, writers, and others in the industry on thin ice” sophomore Siddhant Surya said.

Daytime talk shows were put on pause once the writers refused to produce material. Drew Barrymore, host of “The Drew Barrymore Show,” had announced that her show would be moving ahead with its premiere amidst the strikes of both SAG-AFTRA actors and writers. Following this statement, many fans criticized her willingness to continue while writers were still fighting for improved wages and royalties.

“To step down from hosting the MTV Awards when the strike began in May to announcing that her show would continue despite the work stoppage is incredibly hypocritical,” senior Sania Daniyal said.

Source by Zahra Mazkur

Writers went on strike for many reasons, including not getting sufficient pay and for being taken advantage of in the new world of A.I.

Barrymore revoked her statement soon after and decided that the show would remain off the air until the end of the strike. Now that the strike has concluded, daytime talk shows and late night talk shows alike are expected to resume this month.

While the strike was underway, “The Strike Force Five'' became a popular comedic podcast intended to provide listeners with a look into the lives of five famous talk show hosts whose shows were on pause. The podcast hosts consisted of Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyer. The proceeds were used to support the shows’ unemployed employees. As the strike comes to an end, this podcast will draw to a close as well.

“I think [the podcast] was a really outside-of-the-box way to ensure that [writers] could pay their bills,” Mr. Kern said.

Although the writer’s strike caused much of Hollywood to come to a halt for an extended period of time, the ultimate outcome of the strike is viewed as promising by many. For example, new barriers have been set up to prevent the replacement of screenwriters by artificial intelligence.

“[Studios] cannot use AI to write scripts or to edit scripts that have already been written by a writer,” Adam Conover said in an interview with The Guardian.

Although many consider this a positive step forward, especially for students who intend to pursue careers in the film and television industry in the future, the threat of artificial intelligence continues to loom over many career fields.

“I honestly feel that the threat of AI applies to any career, any field, and any profession,” sophomore Siddhanth Surya said. “I wouldn’t say the SAG-AFTRA strike has deterred me from wanting to pursue a career in cinematography, but it has definitely got me thinking about a backup plan and whether or not I should double major in college or learn another skill in case AI severely impacts career prospects in the entertainment industry.”


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page