As the Hollywood writers’ strike enters its third week, black picketers see the push for better pay and contract terms as a way to bolster hard-won gains they say aren’t generating enough profits for writers. color creators.
The Writers Guild of America went on strike on May 2, bringing much of the entertainment industry to a halt after failed negotiations sparked the first strike in nearly 15 years.
For weeks, thousands of writers have campaigned for pay rises and changes to a streaming-based business model that many say has put their livelihoods in jeopardy. Black guild members see the fight as tied to another: They say improved representation in TV and movies has come at the cost of sustainable careers for the very writers who drive that progress.
Following massive nationwide protests against the killing of George Floyd in 2020, streaming operators including Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video joined a wave of big companies publicly pledging to improve racial equity in their rows and products.
Since then, streamers have earned, by some measures, higher marks for diversity than their traditional counterparts: minority writers were credited on 20% of movies streaming in 2022, compared to 12.4% of others. theatrical releases, according to The Latest UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report.
But some in the industry say that work on the streaming side in particular is becoming more precarious and less paying.
“They don’t really give shows the chance to find an audience the way they used to,” said Kyra Jones, 30, a Los Angeles-based writer and actress.
The last two projects Jones wrote for: «Queens,» a musical drama that aired on the ABC broadcast network with R&B singer Brandy and rapper Eve, and «Woke,» a comedy that aired on Hulu about a borderline cartoonist, they were canceled after one season and two seasons, respectively.
Jones said his work on «Queens» has earned him at least $16,000 of residuals, or compensation for content distribution or broadcasts, compared to just $6,000 for «Woke.»
Between WGA Stated Lawsuits it’s that studies reconcile pay disparities between streaming and broadcasting like the one Jones pointed out. The guild also says streaming shows are being canceled more frequently, creating less stable schedules for creators as entertainment giants continue to lean on their streaming offerings.
What you’re missing is just how much compensation for writers has changed with the new age of television.
Charlene Cortes Corley, Nielsen
A recent WGA survey found that the average weekly salary for writers and producers has fallen by 23% over the past 10 years when adjusted for inflation.
“What you’re missing is how much compensation for writers has changed with the new era of television,” said Charlene Polite Corley, vice president and head of diverse perspectives and initiatives at Nielsen.
A spokesperson for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents major media companies in negotiations with the WGA, mentioned above statements on the strike, saying the hiring quotas are «incompatible with the creative nature of our industry» and that «writers have only recently begun to see» a 46% increase in broadcast waste following 2020 contract negotiations .
NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News, is a member of AMPTP.
Jones said she had started developing a show about black cowgirls that she recently sold to Freeform, a multiplatform ABC channel aimed at younger viewers, but the strike halted that work. Her savings, and her parents, will help her “stay alive” in Los Angeles, she said, even if she has to find a new apartment with a roommate. Meanwhile, she landed a second job at Northwestern University as a virtual advocate for students affected by sexual violence.
The WGA’s last strike, which began in late 2007, lasted about three months and left dozens of shows shortened or cancelled. The popular comedy «Girlfriends,» directed by Tracee Ellis Ross, for example, ended abruptly without a series finale in early 2008. Black social media users have recently speculated Yeah other shows featuring racial minorities could meet similar fates this time around.