Monday night, amidst all the Met Gala madness on the East Coast, the West Coast was the site of the final hours of negotiation before the strike deadline between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), aka the studios that produce movies and TV shows. No deal was reached, a writers’ strike is on, and picketing began on Tuesday afternoon. AMPTP was the first to get out their statement : “Negotiations between the AMPTP and the WGA concluded without an agreement today. The AMPTP presented a comprehensive package proposal to the Guild last night which included generous increases in compensation for writers as well as improvements in streaming residuals. The AMPTP also indicated to the WGA that it is prepared to improve that offer but was unwilling to do so because of the magnitude of other proposals still on the table that the Guild continues to insist upon. The primary sticking points are ‘mandatory staffing’ and ‘duration of employment’ — Guild proposals that would require a company to staff a show with a certain number of writers for a specified period of time, whether needed or not.” Okay, so the sticking point is so-called “mini rooms”. As I mentioned before , there is a lot on the table with this round of contract negotiations, from restoring at least some of the residual payments streaming distribution has destroyed, to dealing with the encroachment of AI into the creative process, to beefing up the guild pension and health care plans (also gutted by the lack of streaming residuals). But mini rooms are a big deal, because they’re essentially another way of cutting payments to writers. Lacking residuals was already doing immense damage to people’s livelihoods when mini rooms became a thing, and writers saw their compensation and job opportunities dwindle even further. Here’s how a mini room works. Let’s say I pitch a show to a network, they like it, but they’re not 100% sold. Instead of giving me the green light, I get a few months to bang out a few more […]
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