Striking writers wreak havoc on sets
By Melissa Cantor, Editor at LinkedIn News
The Flying Squadrons are on set, but they’re not there to dazzle cameras with aerial maneuvers. These are battalions of picketing Writers Guild of America members out to cost studios millions by disrupting movie and television shoots. Named after striking 1930s textile workers, these WGA squads are blocking deliveries to sets, closing off production-lot entrances and photobombing scenes shot in public places, The Wall Street Journal reports. As one veteran showrunner tells the Journal, “keeping a show up and running involves the exact same skill set required to shut a show down.”
- “Billions,” “Severance,” “American Horror Story,” and a new “Ghostbusters” movie are among the productions that have recently been delayed, disrupted or postponed due to demonstrations by striking WGA workers.
- The writers’ strike is now into its sixth week.
Last week, I proudly participated in a “Bike The Strike” event in support of the ongoing WGA Strike. This strike is personal to me, not only because my partner is an active member, but I’ve given the film and TV industry 6 years of my life. I was an underpaid and overworked assistant camera operator right up until the COVID pandemic shut everything down.
The pandemic was a time where we were all forced to stop. Stopping allows for observation and reflection. Stopping, observing, and reflecting are crucial steps that we all need to do (and do often) in order to better understand ourselves and what we’re up against.
I emerged from the pandemic as a certified personal trainer – something that was much more in line with how I want to be spending my time and something that I might not have found and invested in if I had never taken that time to stop, observe, and reflect.
Stop – This is the hardest step, mainly because it will likely involve you saying “no.” No to consuming and distracting yourself. No to the pull of hustle culture. No to working when the conditions aren’t sustainable.
Observe – Take note of your motivations. What drives you? Is it your goals? Your family? Your pursuit of fun? Your want to help others? What do you value and what do you want out of this life?
Reflect – Ask yourself, am I acting in accordance with my values? Are those around me supporting my values? What is a small change I could make that would bring me closer to the life I want to be living?
I believe that self-care is an act of resistance. The only way we can really know how to care for ourselves is to know ourselves. We’ll never really know ourselves unless we commit to stopping, observing, and reflecting. Greedy people in positions of power don’t want us engaged and defiant, they want us distracted and compliant.
While many have commented about the bigger issues pressing the nation, we sometimes forget how entertainment has always helped soothe the nation during difficult times.I’d argue that the WGA strike has an impact that may only get a passing glance from some, but has a wider impact on us all.
According to the Library of Congress, “entertainment helps people forget their troubles.” (Source Link in Comments)
It matters to many who live and work in the arts because it isn’t just a hobby, but their livelihood.
I remember joining the picket line during the 2007 Writer’s Strike in support and solidarity.
I had been an elected member of AFTRA representing actors prior to its merger with SAG and it just felt like the right thing to do.
The headline back then was that Jay Leno was going to pay his laid off workforce.
While it may seem like writers are upending productions, they are fighting for some of the same things that we all see time and time again on LinkedIn.
Per the The Associated Press (see Source link in comments):
-Shorter Exclusivity Deals
-Assurances on AI
The last point about Assurances on AI is one that hasn’t received as much attention, but is important.
While artificial intelligence may be a useful tool to some industries, it feels like an easy, cost cutting (and dare I say it, lazy) workaround for production companies to usurp or infringe on writers domains, creativity, and ownership of 100% original IP.
I loved watching the winners on last night’s Tony Awards share their support for the WGA members and their fight for the above-mentioned issues.
What are your thoughts about artificial intelligence tools writing the endings or filling the gaps on your favorite shows?