Writers Strike: The Underdog Fights Back
The Writers Guild of America is gearing up for another strike. 6000 union members voted towards this new strike with 96% being in favor.
Unless a deal can be struck with Hollywood studios and producers by the first of May, then the strike will start on May 2nd, affecting many different projects from live late night television like Conan or SNL to big budget Hollywood blockbusters.
The last time a writers strike took place was back in 2007 and lasted a total of 100 days until another deal could be reached. This strike has been held responsible for a string of lackluster television and movie productions between 2007 and 2008.
TV shows such as Heroes, The Office and Chuck are all popular series that suffered poor episodes, bad story choices, and boring characters. Some TV shows of the time even had to be cancelled, shows such as Reaper and Pushing Daisies, both shows with large cult followings had episodes cut down and were cancelled prematurely in my opinion.
The creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, (although not a part of the Guild), even released an episode in response to the 2007 strike.
Titled “Canada On Strike” the entire country of Canada, fed up with how the rest of the world can’t take them seriously, decide to strike together. The main characters are annoyed that they can’t get new episodes of their favorite television show and go out to end the strike.
The whole episode is a metaphor for the writer’s strike of 2007, with Canada being the writers, the boys being the audience and fans, and the rest of the world playing the big executives who care so little that they’ve quickly found replacement Canadians in Denmark.
Many factors are contributing to this new strike. Producers have been requesting shorter seasons of television, and writers work under contract to work on one show at a time, but are paid per episode, a 10 episode average as opposed to the 22 episode average of just a couple years ago.
Strikers are demanding an increase in wages to circumvent this trend, more healthcare benefits, along with a larger share of online revenue from publicly available clips of TV shows online.
If this strike takes effect, you can expect your favorite shows to suffer from a lack of polish. Writers from popular shows such as The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, and even the second season of Netflix’s Jessica Jones are Guild members.
The Writer’s Guild of America will be striking on Tuesday if no deal is reached. There’s no doubt in my mind that this will be the case.
This strike however is not the end of enjoyable entertaining media. During the 2007-2008 strike, many writers went online to produce their own projects such as Felicia Day’s The Guild, and Wil Wheaton’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog.
Writers should be celebrated for the great work they do. It’s not easy creating worlds out of a single concept.
If my own experiences as a writer are of any comparison, the amount of work these people do is astounding and unbelievable coming up with hour long stories week after week that continue to hook me.
One only hopes things will go well for these struggling artists.
Do you think that the Writer's Guild and Hollywood will be able to come to an agreement before May 2nd? Let me know in the comments.