On May 2, members of the Writers Guild of America formed picket lines across major studios in Hollywood, including the Disney lot in Burbank, California.
The Writer’s Strike
The last strike organized by the Writers Guild of America was for 100 days between November 2007 and February 2008. But much has changed in the past 15+ years in the entertainment world. Streaming services, influencers, and Youtube celebrities have turned Hollywood upside down. This time talks between the Writer Guild and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers – which bargains on behalf of Hollywood’s largest studios – failed to find a solution to the issue, leading to a vote to stop writing until they do.
RELATED: Walt Disney World Cast Member Union Wins Right to Strike
Approximately 11,500 writers are currently on strike. The gap between the Guild’s demands and what studios are willing to offer is thought to be pretty significant.
Artificial Intelligence: A Foe or the Future?
One of the main issues of contention is using artificial intelligence when it comes to writing. Among the many demands of the writer’s union, they request that AI be regulated, not write or rewrite literary material, or used as source material. Of course, the elephant in the room is whether AI could generate a blockbuster or an Oscar-winning film.
RELATED: Disney Cast Members on Strike Due to Layoffs, Wage Losses
With few exceptions, such as Avatar 2 (2022), Top Gun: Maverick (2022), and The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023), many studios have struggled to turn a profit since COVID. Disney itself has had a series of financial failures, including Lightyear (2022), Strange World (2022), and West Side Story (2021).
RELATED: The Cast of Avatar Have a Special Message for Disney Cast Members
It makes one wonder…can an AI craft better stories, more interesting characters, and unique plots (other than sequels and remakes)? Perhaps. And that may be the biggest argument against the demands of the writer’s union. If many current writers have yet to craft money-making scripts, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere. If not AI, then perhaps new writers?
In any event, it will be interesting to see how the strike plays out. For now, a series of TV shows have stopped production, and films have been put on hold. Whenever the issues are resolved, Hollywood can hopefully return to making movies. Good ones that will be worth the wait and box office ticket prices.