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Writers’ Strike: What are the minds behind Hollywood’s biggest hits complaining about?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Last Tuesday (2), around 11.500 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) officially went on strike. On April 17th, a vote was taken among the members to decide if the strike would happen or not and 97.85% of the members voted yes.

The decision was made after the WGA had spent the last two months trying to reach an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), an association that represents most of the biggest television and Hollywood studios, such as Disney, Apple, Paramount, Warner, Netflix and Amazon.

It’s not the first time that writers go on strike to claim their rights. The last one happened in 2007 and lasted 100 days, resulting in a loss of more than US$2 billion and affecting the path of several major productions, such as Greys Anatomy and Breaking Bad.


The main point of the strike are the effects caused by streaming platforms. With the rise of streaming services, the way that writers are paid do not match the size of the projects, and those platforms have developed an unfavorable way of working for these writers, which has resulted in their work being devalued in all parts of the business.

Also, the companies have been profiting more and more, and investing in big and expensive productions, yet the same companies refuse to pay these workers fairly. Writers claim to be facing an “existential crisis”. Here’s a look at the main demands:


Even though the number of jobs available has increased due to the proliferation of streaming services, the amount that writers earn has lessened. According to WGA, the median weekly writer-producer pay has decreased 4% in the last decade. Accounting for inflation, the decline is 23%. Nowadays, half of TV writers are paid the minimum rate, while, in 2013-14, only 33% were.

Due to the formula of streaming services, writers started to work for shorter periods of time. Streaming shows usually have shorter seasons with 10 to 13 episodes, and writers are typically paid by episode. According to the WGA, the streaming transition resulted in precarious and underpaid new models of jobs, separating writing from production.


One of the demands which the AMPTP showed resistance in making an agreement was the responsible use of Artificial Intelligence. The writers are concerned about how the tools offered by AI will be used by producers in the script process. They fear that it could cross the line and result in the devaluation of writers, becoming an excuse to pay less these workers.

Writer John August said to the Hollywood Reporter that they want to make sure these technologies are going to be used as tools to help writers and not tools used to replace them.

The guild demanded that AI couldn’t be used as source material and write or rewrite literary. The proposal was rejected and the AMPTP offered annual meetings to discuss the technological advancement.


The WGA is also demanding better residual’s payment. Residual is the money that writers, actors and producers earn based on the distribution of their productions, when these productions are “reused”, being one of the most fundamental way these workers make money. Reruns used to provide to these workers a big money return.

When it comes to streaming, the studios have not agreed to keep paying residuals like it’s paid on broadcasts. That means that even if a production becomes a big hit, achieving international success – something that streaming services have been achieving very easily – the writers are not properly rewarded for it. The guild requires “transparency regarding programs views.”


Also a consequence of the rising of streaming services, what used to be known as “writers’ room” shrunk, and now there’s a new common structure called “mini rooms”. That means that studios are hiring fewer writers, decreasing writers’ opportunities.  In these “mini rooms”, writers work in advance of the production which means having no commitment. Writers can work in a show not knowing it’s destiny.

There’s an issue when the use of mini rooms is established to write few scripts to help to decide if the show will keep going on or not. The problem is that even if the show doesn’t get renewed – or greenlighted – the writers still get tied up for a period of time, not being able to start another job, and if the show is renewed, these writers will hardly be kept in the production. 

WGA asked for a minimum number of staff present in pre-greenlight rooms and post-greenlight rooms, aiming to preserve the writers’ room, but the proposal was rejected.

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The article above was edited by Julia Queiroz.

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Isadora Quaglia

Casper Libero '26

Journalism student. Passionate about film and culture, true believer of it's power as social agent.