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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Virginia Tech chapter.

We have all heard and seen the photos surrounding the current writer’s strike, though it didn’t seem to have a huge impact on a world heavily dependent on streaming services for their television. What the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) are fighting for could change the way many of those professions get paid. 

Truth is, our world of technology is constantly evolving and as creators, we must evolve with it. WGA and SAG-AFTRA meet once every three years with producers and studio owners to discuss and make changes to the documents that protect both creators and producers. This year, there would be no agreement. This led to the strike that halted all TV shows that are apart of the organization from airing. 

The last writer’s strike was in 2007 to reevaluate residual rates for DVD sales and new media. Residuals refers to a percentage of money paid to people who worked on the piece of media when it gets packaged, resold, or re-aired. So when shows are aired on cable TV stations like FOX or TBS it is guaranteed money into the pockets of writers, actors, and directors.

However when it comes to streaming services, the standard was set in 2007. Streaming services pay a single fixed residual, but when they began producing their own shows they were required to hire WGA writers. “In the 2007 strike, the WGA ensured that “new media”—basically, anything distributed online—was covered by the guild’s Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA), which guarantees the lowest amounts members can be paid for their work.” 

But writers are fighting for more than just money from the streaming of their shows, they are also fighting for hours. “Mini-rooms” are a current trend of the production world. Writers contracts are much shorter than they have been. “Mini-rooms” are very small groups of writers who brainstorm ideas for a short period of time and have much less of a connection with the final product. Not only are writers fighting to be paid for their work, they are also fighting for better hours and higher wages.

They are also fighting for the future of writers and TV, as they are trying to adjust to new technologies. There is a new technology that puts a certain amount of fear into the minds of artists: AI. Though most agree that it is not a problem that is very prominent now, they must stay diligent when it comes to protecting the creative process. 

So who are they even fighting? Well pretty much everyone. SAG-AFTRA and WGA are fighting against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) which includes the major picture studios (Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal, Walt Disney, and Warner Bros.), the basic television networks (ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS), and the major streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Apple TV+). 

After 146 days however, the light at the end tunnel is finally seen. WGA and AMPTP have finally come to a compromise, although details have not been released as of yet. SAG-AFTRA has offered their support and congratulations to WGA, but they have yet to come to an agreement. These agreements and future conversations will guide the future of writers and creative personnel working in the entertainment industry.

Caroline Reed

Virginia Tech '24

Caroline is a senior majoring in Multimedia Journalism and minoring in Creative Writing at Virginia Tech. Caroline has been apart of HerCampus for four years and loves being around such a fun group of girls! She loves writing short fiction, poetry, and news articles. She enjoys watching old movies and listening to Taylor Swift.