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Hollywood writers strike for first time since 2007, with streaming in focus

May 02, 2023 12:15 AM ETNetflix, Inc. (NFLX), AMZN, DIS, AAPLCMCSA, SONY, WBD, PARA, PARAABy: Jason Aycock, SA News Editor155 Comments
Diverse Writers And Actors Support WGA Strike

Charley Gallay/Getty Images News

Hollywood writers voted Monday night to go on strike just after midnight Pacific Time -- the first such labor stoppage in the entertainment industry since the strike of 2007, and one that once again threatened to slow program production that had recovered from

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I'm predicting the golden age of anime is next.
I_Am_The_Walrus profile picture
WBD is crashing, headed back under $10...
The problem with Hollywood is they don't tell interesting stories anymore. People don't want to watch endless remakes of movies from decades ago with a low-effort gender or race swap.
nerd_rage profile picture
@Mrholiday Interesting recent stories: Succession, Severance, Better Call Saul, Rick & Morty, Curb Your Enthusiasm, White Lotus, Perry Mason, Under the Banner of Heaven, The Last of Us. Not much swapping going on there and what there is, seems to work.
@nerd_rage there's 10x as many shows as before. What's the % hit rate now? Seems like a lot of hits, but far more misses.
Dives in Aeternum profile picture
I bet the tens of thousands of content creators producing content on YouTube won't be participating, or care and will likely benefit. It ain't 2007 anymore, good luck.
nerd_rage profile picture
@Dives in Aeternum AI won't be participating. The foreign writers who produce a lot of streaming content lately won't be either. I don't think the WGA has the leverage they think they do.
I_Am_The_Walrus profile picture
People should be striking against hollywood writers, the writers do nothing but promote and propagate the democrat's culture wars. Fire them all...
@I_Am_The_Walrus just turn it off, causes brain rot
I_Am_The_Walrus profile picture
@kata I never watch...
xamd profile picture
You are a hypocrite. Stop commenting here if you dont watch.

While I agree with Kata on brainrot, Tiktok is like smoking 10 cigarettes in your mouth all the time to the TV one pack a day smoking.
wwloon32 profile picture
Very funny read:

Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is one of the entertainment companies represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Some editorial employees of the NBCUniversal News Group are represented by the Writers Guild of America.
Many of the comments are addressing AI, as in ChatGPT could write movies. But what these writers and Hollywood in general aren't aware of is that their industry is dead and they just don't know it yet. Very soon anyone with a vision and a work ethic will be able to craft an entire movie from script to sound on their home computer and release it immediately for public consumption using AI tools. We will get movies that actually have heart and something to say rather than the bland politically correct stuff that's been coming out for the past ten years.
nerd_rage profile picture
@Paul Deeb An AI-written script would be nothing special. Okay most TV and movie writing is nothing special but why would anyone take your mediocre script in particular and use it to make a movie that people would watch, by adding the factors that make them popular, namely expensive production values and big IP?

I see two big use cases for AI writing:

1. Mary Sue uses AI to write a Harry Potter fanfic starring herself. Maybe she can create some visuals to go with it and turn it into a little fanfilm, uploaded to YouTube. Her coterie of friends will adore it. Everyone else will ignore it, which is good, otherwise Warners lawyer might show some interest in the copyright infringement.

Everyone can do this now so multiply this times millions. That's a lot of new content and ad revenue for YouTube and time people are devoting to their own and their friends' fanfilms that isn't being spent on professionally made media. Movie studios and streaming platforms will take a hit but this won't destroy their business model. This is just an extension of what already happens on YouTube.

2. Warners kicks JK Rowling to the curb and uses AI to write their new Harry Potter series. They might as well, Harry Potter is just a compendium of cliches that Rowling filched from elsewhere, that's something AI is perfectly capable of doing.

And I'm not picking on Harry Potter, most big IP content is so poorly written (just look at the Star Wars prequel and sequel movies, plus Obi Wan and Boba Fett on Disney+) that AI might be able to do a better job. The advantage here will be to the owners of big IP, since they can reduce costs by not hiring writers. I'm not sure how soon AI can create eye-popping visuals of the Avatar type, but when that happens, then Hollywood can really cut costs. This will more than make up for the Mary Sue problem.

Moral of the story: the AI takeover means big IP wins because it's the only defense against the democratization of content and the destruction of the entire business model of Hollywood. If Mary Sue's Harry Potter fantasy takes off like a rocket on YouTube, Warners lawyers can lower the boom when it reaches a threshold of awareness, popularity and ad revenues going to Google and not Warners. If Mary Sue somehow manages to be successful with her own original IP, then she's a threat to Hollywood, but I don't expect this to happen very often. The reason stuff takes off like a rocket is because there's a built-in fanbase.
@nerd_rage Interesting cooment. I was more specifically talking about people who want to write their own films but then create them without a cast and crew. True Famous actors can copyright their likeness and the same with characters but a filmmaker can just make something similar without being a fan film or infringing a copyright.
nerd_rage profile picture
@Paul Deeb The main holdup there is that individuals don't have the right to big IP. They can try to create and promote original IP but how often does that happen? It just gets ignored in favor of what people are already fans of.

The route for ordinary folks is via another medium: novels, graphic novels, games. JK Rowling was a nobody who invented her own IP in books. GRR Martin wasn't exactly a nobody when he wrote the Game of Thrones series, but same general idea. The Last of Us was a video game, Sandman was a graphic novel, etc.
nerd_rage profile picture
Will my US Netflix no longer have new content from foreign countries? I doubt it. Ditto for all the other streamers. All those shows are effectively crossing the picket line.
@nerd_rage exactly. The same thing is happening in the comic book industry. People would much rather Read Manga than the current garbage coming out from DC and Marvel.
MAYHAWK profile picture
You mean left-wing, liberal companies won't give the Dem-run unions everything they want? hahahahahahaha
Code Talker Market Analysis profile picture
@MAYHAWK If you think Zaslav is left-wing, or anybody who is the CEO of a PUBLICLY TRADED COMPANY-- I've got a bridge to sell you.
wwloon32 profile picture
@Code Talker Market Analysis I certainly think FOX need your bridge :D
MAYHAWK profile picture
@Code Talker Market Analysis
You missed the point. They profess to support the liberal socialist line until it comes time to put up or shut up. Then they fall back on good old capitalism and bring down the financial hammer.
Streaming content should improve now. Ha! They didn't pick an ideal time to strike with all the layoffs...not the smartest bunch.
@geocsmith They re going to show how much they arent needed. ChapGPT can do it better.
@kata Thats ChatGPT lol and won't make typos either.

ChapGPT is much better than ChatGPT. He's a good chap.
CWatsonSD profile picture
AI? Interesting. Saw what happened to Chegg, Inc. yesterday. Personally need to start thinking more about impact on investments. As for writers, they might want to start diversifying.
Non-GAAP Earnings profile picture
The more I study this issue, the more I have to laugh. Literally, you can do a screenplay these days using the assistance of ChatGPT. It's a low-value occupation, which really should pay maybe $15 or $20 an hour. These people are demented thinking they deserve above-market salaries.
Code Talker Market Analysis profile picture
@Non-GAAP Earnings If those are the screenplays you want, you deserve them: those would be terrible movies/shows.
Non-GAAP Earnings profile picture
@Code Talker Market Analysis The way to use ChatGPT is not to have it write your script from scratch. We're a long way from that. You use it to sketch out broad plotlines and you have it help you with clever lines. It makes the job of a screenwriter way easier, in other words, and greatly expands the pool of people who can write a good screenplay.
Code Talker Market Analysis profile picture
@Non-GAAP Earnings I'm a writer, and I tried ChatGPT. It might help write plotlines and phrases for a bunch of drooling stupid people, but not for most real audiences.
Chancer profile picture
A writer should write a screen play about this.
But they cannot, because they are not working.
Non-GAAP Earnings profile picture
@Chancer It is funny when you think about the word "working." You have people who get to go to Starbucks and just write stuff on their laptops, and they actually get paid crazy amounts. This is from Indeed.com: "Screenwriters typically receive between 2% to 3% of the production budget of the film or project, which can be a lot if the budget is large. For example, a screenwriter who creates a screenplay for a film with an $800,000 budget that pays them 3% earns $24,000 for their work."

Meanwhile, many folks like auto mechanics, plumbers or roofers have to do real work and get paid far less.
Code Talker Market Analysis profile picture
@Non-GAAP Earnings Do you think 24k is a lot?
Non-GAAP Earnings profile picture
@Code Talker Market Analysis In the example given by Indeed, an $800,000 film is a very low-budget one, and I would think 3% is more than fair. You go to Starbucks and write the script, send it off and your work is done. If you look at a $50 million film, 3% of that is $1.5 million. That's *way* more than fair.
Alice21 profile picture
How we judge writing is subjective. I d have a few changes I would love to see.

1. Turn on the lights. Stop filming movies in low lighting. If you can’t do your CGI in full lighting, don’t to it.

2. Don’t ever again make more than one sequel.

3. Make an American police show that doesn’t involve pretty people whipping out their Glocks and yelling “stop ! Police” from 50 feet away and then doing a foot chase. Watch a few British cop shows to se how that works.

4. How did something as funny as Big Bang evolve into a depressing show about family issues called Young Sheldon? Stop doing that.

5. A good detective show doesn’t need to add the detectives baggage or the criminals baggage for that matter.

These are just a few obvious examples that I thing could be improved on. I think my problems with current entertainment lie more with production than writing but what do I know.
Non-GAAP Earnings profile picture
@Alice21 One show I think you'd like is the cop show Hunter from the 1980s. Full episodes are on Youtube.
It also doesn’t doesn’t take much writing to turn out films with nothing but digitized special effects, crashes and a lot of fire and explosions.
Alice21 profile picture
@Radcon3 , true dat.
craftbrewinfo profile picture
Oh wow I guess that means no more superhero sequels ( or sequels in general ) that's all they ever seem to “write” anyway
PennyPlanSupporter profile picture
Remember when white collar professionals (like journalists and movie/TV writers) looked down on factory workers and coal miners and arrogantly told laid off blue collar workers to simply "learn to code"?

Pepperidge Farm remembers...
Good, let em strike. The crap on TV and in the movies is not worthy.
@outlook69 Yeah really. F them and the studios.
When the movie quit with everything bltgqxyz and white male bashing, I might actually look to see if there are movies I might consider seeing. Until then they can all pack sand.
It is a shame these studios have no problem way overpaying the stars all the while shafting the people putting words into the stars mouths.
Non-GAAP Earnings profile picture
@sdavid04191 Laws of supply and demand. American colleges pump out zillons of new graduates every year who have the ability to write scripts, so there's no particular reason they should be paid inordinate salaries. I agree about the "stars"--if studios were smart they would study what franchises like SNL do, which is to hire unknown actors for cheap.
Pitnick profile picture
@Non-GAAP Earnings The average American college graduate has the "ability to write scripts" in the same way that the average toddler with a paintbrush has the ability to paint a picture.
Non-GAAP Earnings profile picture
@Pitnick I Googled and saw that there are about 28,000 English literature majors produced by US colleges each year. If you took those in the top 1%, that's 280 new screenwriters each year. That's plenty, and there's no reason to pay these people crazy above-market salaries just to go to Starbucks and type stuff on their laptops.
"calling all AI reinforcements to active duty!"...'y'all be careful now that you don't strike yourselves out of a gig!'...Hal

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