What’s going on with the current state of writing in Hollywood?
It’s no secret that things are not great between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP). The current deal they have ends on May 1st, 2023, and writers are looking for a better deal moving forward.
Why are the writers looking for a better deal? Well, they’re being paid all-time lows, and they want their fair share.
The Hollywood Reporter published an article discussing a new report released by the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW), which suggests that the organization’s members are falling behind in earnings and opportunities in the streaming industry.
The report found that although streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu have been expanding, the compensation for writers on these platforms has not kept pace with the growth. Shorter seasons and lower pay are putting many writers in precarious situations.
The most damning number in the latest WGA report?
A decade ago during the 2013-2014 TV season, 33% of TV writers were paid minimum rates. Fine, that’s 1/3 of writers and normal with turnover and new people breaking in. But in the 2021-2022 TV season, that number had soared to 49% working for the minimum rate.
Feature films are also in a lower-paying place.
The WGA discovered that the average duration of employment for a first draft in feature films, for which the writer is paid over $150,000, is six months, whereas it takes nine months for a writer who is paid under $150,000. The guild points out that writers who are paid less than $150,000 for their first draft work 50% longer than those who earn more. This is because low-paid or novice writers may be particularly susceptible to producers’ requests for unpaid work.
The WGA argues that writers who agree to a “one-step” deal, where they are only compensated for one draft of the screenplay, may be at risk of endless requests for unpaid rewrites and held captive by requests for additional unpaid revisions.
What does the WGA want? Compensation. Which only seems fair.
The WGA is urging companies to negotiate with writers to improve working conditions and wages and is also advocating for legislative changes that would ensure fair compensation for writers in the streaming industry.
We’ll keep you updated as things progress.