Writers Guild Strike Officially Ends
The WGA has reached a preliminary agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for a fresh three-year Minimum Basic Agreement. On September 26th, the Negotiating Committee, WGAW Board, and WGAE Council unanimously recommended this agreement. It will now be presented to the members of both guilds for ratification. Voting for eligible members will be open from October 2nd to October 9th, and they will receive voting materials when the voting period begins.
Additionally, the WGAW Board and WGAE Council have also voted to terminate the restraining order and conclude the strike as of 12:01 am PT/3:01 am ET on Wednesday, September 27th. This permits writers to resume work while the ratification process is ongoing, without affecting the membership’s ultimate decision on contract approval.
The WGA has proposed a requirement for a minimum of six writers for TV series that receive the green light for a minimum of six episodes per season. The agreement stipulates that at least three writer-producers, who are more experienced members, must be hired for all series, with the showrunner counting towards this number if applicable.
The number of less experienced writer members or staff writers to be hired will increase on a graduated scale based on the number of episodes ordered. For example, a six-episode series necessitates at least three writer-level hires, while series spanning 7-12 episodes per season must hire five writers, and those with 13 episodes or more must employ six writers.
This new contract component includes an exception for solo-writer shows, such as “The White Lotus” or “Big Little Lies,” where a single writer is responsible for scripting all episodes. In these instances, the initial agreement between the writer and the studio, network, or streaming platform must specify the writer’s sole responsibility from the outset. In summary, the minimum staffing requirements apply “unless a single writer is engaged to write all episodes,” as outlined by the guild in its summary of key deal points.
Additionally, there are new regulations concerning the duration of employment for writers, accompanied by another fresh provision aimed at guaranteeing that writers with less experience have the opportunity to observe the production and post-production phases.
According to the guild, “2 writer-producers must be engaged for the shorter of 20 weeks during production or for the duration of production alongside the showrunner.” This provision addresses the issue of writers and writer-producers not receiving adequate exposure and apprenticeship time required for their growth into full-fledged showrunners.
The updated arrangement provides writers with a bonus for successful original TV series and movies that achieve widespread popularity on subscription-based platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Max, Hulu, and other streaming services.
This bonus applies to high-budget productions specifically created for streaming platforms. While the majority of original series on major streaming platforms meet the high-budget criteria, the focus on content designed exclusively for streaming implies that older series originally produced for non-streaming platforms, such as the USA Network drama “Suits,” which has recently gained popularity among Netflix viewers, would not be eligible for this bonus.
The WGA fought hard against the advent of AI in the use of writing. To summarize:
AI is incapable of composing or modifying literary content, and AI-generated content will not be recognized as source material according to the MBA. This means that AI-generated content cannot be utilized to undermine a writer’s credit or separate rights.
A writer may opt to employ AI during writing services with the consent of the company, as long as the writer adheres to applicable company guidelines. However, the company cannot mandate the use of AI software (e.g., ChatGPT) for writing services.
In cases where materials given to the writer have been produced by AI or incorporate AI-generated content, the company must inform the writer of this fact.
The WGA retains the authority to assert that the utilization of writers’ material for training AI is prohibited by the MBA or other legal provisions.
You can see the exact terms of the deal reached with the studios here. Are you happy that we are moving towards the resumption of films and television shows? Share your thoughts on the strike in a comment and check back for more updates on negotiations with the Screen Actors Guild.
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