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The Pitchfork

Three strikes, and Hollywood is out

It’s known that many actors and writers in the film industry have been on strike from May to October 2023. Over 160,000 actors under the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA were on strike along with around 11,500 writers apart of the Writers Guild of America.

In March of this year, the WGA announced that 99 per- cent of its members had voted that their pay and protections were being infringed upon, and demands needed to be made. By May, negotiations had failed between the WGA and many studios. This was the ignition needed to start the strike, with many starting immediately after. Despite studios saying that they are doing their best to resolve the strike quickly, little to no progress has been made. However, in September of this year, the WGA and entertainment studios agreed to a tentative deal, which addressed the concerns with A.I. producing and rewriting shows/movies.

On average, a Hollywood writer gets paid around $69,510 dollars a year. This is if they have steady gigs, which is not always the case. With the strikes, unless they’ve found another job, they’re making nothing. While the WGA can provide loans and emergency funds to writers on strike, it’s negligible.

“I know at least two former students who work in the production of films and shows. Regardless, I spoke to one student the other day who said that he is anxious to get back to work as he has been working in the restaurant industry to make financial ends meet,” an IB Film teacher, Adam Russell, said.

The strike has had a five billion dollar impact on the U.S. economy, with three billion dollars being only from California’s losses. Unemployment is also on the rise in California, going from 3.8 percent in July of 2022 to 4.7 percent in July of 2023. A big concern of writers and visual effects workers are their jobs shifting towards being solely run by A.I. A.I. has already been shown to produce impressive visuals without any VFX artists.

Content like soap operas, reality shows, and older shows made before the strike have increased in popularity, although some new shows have been doing well. For example, Ahsoka (2023). (Qu)

“However, one can ‘massage’ one’s prompts within A.I. to fine tune and improve the quality of writing. That said, I don’t think A.I. is going away, and I know that writers want to have careers, so I do believe that guidelines need to be developed and implemented in the industry,” Russell said.

Despite all of this, all hope is not lost. There are plenty of people working to have A.I. work with people instead of against them. The WGA and the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) are planning to continue negotiations in the coming weeks and months, and hopefully end the struggles of writers and actors.

Many shows have been heavily postponed due to the writers strike. A big one is Stranger Things season 5, which was originally supposed to come out in 2024, is now planned to release a whole year later in 2025. (Qui)
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Harrison Pacin, Staff Writer
Harrison Pacin is freshman, class of 2027 at MHS this year. He is currently on the engineering pathway and of course, a new staff member of the Pitchfork. Harrison is also planning on joining the TSA to build on his engineering experience outside of class. After high school, he plans to either pursue aerospace engineering, journalism, or potentially law. Harrison is very excited to be included in the Pitchfork staff this, and hopefully coming years.
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