By: Hayley Strahs
On Sept. 27, the union leaders of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) voted unanimously to end the writer’s strike. During the 148-day strike, all writers that were a part of the WGA halted their work, pushing back production of various feature films, such as the third and fourth installments of James Cameron’s Avatar and the live-action Minecraft movie. The WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) negotiated a deal valued at 233 million dollars.
On Oct. 9, the members of the WGA voted officially to approve the WGA-AMPTP deal. Out of WGA’s 8,525 members, 99 percent voted in support of the agreement. The WGA and the AMPTP contract will be in effect until May 2026. Upon the contract’s approval, all members of the WGA received a 5% minimum pay raise, and will receive additional 4% and 3.5% raises in May 2024 and 2025, respectively.
Additionally, the contract states that artificial intelligence (AI) cannot rewrite previously written literary material and prohibits AI-generated works from being considered source material for any screen projects. Writers are able to use AI for additional purposes, depending on their companies’ discretion. Companies must also disclose whether they provide AI-created materials to their writers or not. In a summary of the agreement, WGA wrote that “AI-generated material can’t be used to undermine a writer’s credit or separated rights.”
The contract also implements a required residual centered around the viewership of a series or film, going into effect on Jan. 1, 2024. The AMPTP agreed to disclose the number of viewed hours of specific screen works, assuming that the public would not receive this information. Movies and shows viewed on streaming platforms that 20% or more of the service’s subscribers interacted with within 90 days of release entitle writers to a 50% bonus. For a project with a 30 million dollar budget, writers would receive a 9,031 dollar bonus for a half-hour episode, $16,415 for a full hour, and $40,500 for a full-length movie.
In addition, the contract also renewed a showrunner training program valued at $250,000. The program aims to teach writers the ins and outs of show running, aiming to create a new, knowledgeable batch of showrunners for Hollywood’s future.
Despite WGA’s strike ending, The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) is still on strike. For many years, SAG-AFTRA has requested 2% of all streaming revenue, which AMPTP consistently refuses. In an email, an AMPTP representative stated, “After meaningful conversations, it is clear that the gap between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA is too great, and conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction,” further setting back any hopes of the SAG-AFTRA strike coming to an end.
(Sources: AP, CNBC, Forbes, LA Times, NBC, NPR, SAG-AFTRA, WGA)
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