For as long as I can remember, I have been writing stories. I remember when I was about 6 years old I wrote and illustrated a book without any drawing skills. When I got into eighth grade, I started writing poems and songs, especially after one of the poems I wrote for English class got published and won an award. I even started dabbling into screenwriting during quarantine. I aspire to become a famous writer of all kinds, but nowadays, that aspiration seems like a reach.
The Writer’s Guild of America, aka WGA, decided to go on strike in May 2023 due to unfair wages. Not only are the writers unfairly paid, but the actors and creators of hit TV shows have shown visual evidence of the disappointing residual checks they get. Companies and studios have the audacity to waste paper by sending a check worth $0.01.
Actors such as William Stanford Davis (Mr. Johnson from “Abbott Elementary”) and Giovonnie Samuels (Nia from “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody”) have both gone on social media in support of the strike. Davis posted a video on Instagram with the caption, “There ain’t nothing funny about a $0.03 residual check! What are we supposed to do with that? I stand strong with our union as we fight for what’s ours and for the success of the future generations.”
If you think about it, studios would be lost and discombobulated without their writers because, without writers, they would have never had the big hits that put them on the map. Imagine if the downfall of Disney Channel happened during “That’s So Raven” or “Hannah Montana” because they did not have their writers.
Honestly, as an aspiring writer, the way these companies treat writers makes me hesitant to get my name out there. Not only does it seem like there are not any negotiations from studios happening, but with the overnight popularity of AI, there could be a chance that it can replace human writers.
People might argue there are pros and cons for AI, but personally, I have seen enough movies and shows circulating robot takeovers to know that fiction can be turned into fact. It is all fun and games before things take a dark turn. I believe some people have become desensitized to what is really at stake for writers.
According to USA Today, “AI will remain a sticky wicket dividing executives and talent. And the longer this strike lasts, the more the studios and streaming services will depend on artificial intelligence. They are already doing this with the script screening process, synopsizing stories in milliseconds and diminishing the need for human story analysts.”
It is unfair how despite dedicating years, if not decades, to perfecting your craft for writing, acting or simply creating, it is met with disregard and disrespect. Six months into the strike, and neither party is letting up. I am biased, so for me, I have to side with the writers. All they have to do is pay their writers!