A strike of this magnitude has not been seen for 15 years: but why are the screenwriters going on strike, and what consequences will there be on the small and big screen?
Writers Guild of America announces strike
For the seventh time in history, screenwriters put down their pens (and shut down their computers): the Writers Guild of America (WGA), or the association that represents screenwriters working in Hollywood, announced that from Tuesday 2 May the category will officially go on strike. The collective agreement expired after 3 years and negotiations with the representatives of film and television producers have been stalled for weeks now. The last strike of this magnitude took place 15 years ago, and its effects spilled over into various products, starting with many TV series which saw some seasons close earlier than expected and with significantly fewer episodes.
The reasons for the writers’ strike
The category has decided to strike to ask for greater economic recognition and working conditions that reflect the great change that has taken place in the world of film and television entertainment, especially with the advent of streaming platforms. Screenwriters are called to work at an increasingly tight pace, to produce a greater quantity of content and to deal with a profession characterized by precariousness and exploitation; for many of them it is very difficult, if not impossible, to be able to maintain themselves in the cities where they work, such as Los Angeles and New York.
Programs, TV series and films at risk
The first titles to be affected by the writers’ strike will be American television programs, including such cult favorites as “Saturday Night Live”, “The Tonight Show” Starring Jimmy Fallon, “The Late Show” by Stephen Colbert and “Jimmy Kimmel Live”: a series of reruns are already planned on US screens to fill the void left by these shows. In the long term, the consequences could also be felt in the world of TV series and cinema: some titles expected in the near future could postpone their release date, but it all depends on how long the strike will last.To the sound of “no contracts, no content”, the writers’ strike will have repercussions on the entire entertainment production chain: not only actors (millionaires), but also workers, operators, technicians and all the fundamental figures that populate the set.