Intermittent rain and quite a bit of wind didn’t seem to deter striking writers from hitting picket lines again in Los Angeles on Thursday, many of them galvanized by the previous night’s solidarity rally which drew more of 1,800 members of the Writers Guild of America.
During the Shrine Auditorium rally, the first of its kind since the strike began on Monday, guild leaders spoke at length about the issues where the WGA and the Alliance of Film and Television Producers have remained furthest apart. .
“Hearing the leaders really talk about what it was like to be in the (negotiating) room and hearing their words was just breathtaking,” Susan Hurwitz told The Hollywood Reporter on the Thursday picket line at Sony Pictures Studios. A writer-producer whose credits include The tick And Preacher, Hurwitz also addressed the other unions – the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE – who expressed their support for the writers. “I think everyone is more determined to fight,” she added. “For the first time, it really feels like we’re all together. It made for an incredible encounter.
Three issues seemed to permeate most conversations on the picket lines: the heightened energy, courtesy of Wednesday’s meeting, speculation about upcoming guild negotiations for the DGA and SAG-AFTRA, and, shortly after noon, the Pacific, the AMPTP breaking their silence for the first time. since the strike began. The studios shared a point-by-point document earlier Thursday, aimed at least in part to refute the WGA’s version of events, explaining their stance on sticking points such as “mini-rooms” and the growing furor of not not actively work to regulate artificial intelligence.
Outside the Warner Bros. lot. Discovery in Burbank – which, alongside Netflix, has been one of the busiest picket locations – THR met with WGA Bargaining Committee Co-Chair David Goodman to get an instant reaction to the AMPTP missive.
“I took a quick look,” said Goodman, who mentioned seeing the part on AI where the studio statement said “writers want to be able to use this technology as part of their process. creative, without changing how credits are determined, which is complicated given that AI material cannot be copyrighted.
“That’s a very telling comment,” Goodman added, the audio of his interview barely perceptible over the insistent roar of car horns beeping support for the picketers. “We need a guarantee from them that the literary material will be written by a human being. It’s a very simple question. For them, this commitment does not harm their bottom line at all… They say they are our partners. Take that pledge and say, “We’re only going to work with writers who are human beings.” It’s crazy that I have to say that.
Given that Wednesday night’s event also included leaders from the Teamsters, DGA, SAG-AFTRA and IATSE, the possibility of a multi-union strike – still a long way off, as similar contracts from the DGA and from SAG-AFTRA do not expire until June 30 – was also considered by many.
“This is for all of us,” said SAG-AFTRA member Colleen Kresoja, who was picketing Sony earlier in the day. “Fairness to one of us in the industry; fairness to all. I’m here to support the writers… I want (the writers) to get a fair deal and I’ll stand by them until they do.
Hurwitz, for his part, expressed mixed feelings about the prospect of other unions potentially following in the writers’ footsteps. “I hope the DGA and SAG-AFTRA don’t have to strike because we do,” she said. “It would be amazing if it came to that, if the only way to win was to do it together. That we really shut everything down.
Goodman was present at Wednesday’s event and had similar things to say for the other unions that were showing up. “I think it’s very clear that their members and their leaders all recognize that our fight is their fight, that we’re at the tip of the spear and that we’re all facing an existential crisis in this industry,” he said. he declared. “We have to work together, and we are. It’s very rewarding for the first time to see this kind of unity in a Writers Guild fight.
Publicly, WGA and DGA leaders haven’t always shared the warmest or most hazy reports, but this moment is seen as an opportunity by many. Goodman, however, brushed off speculation of further strikes.
“What I know is that their members want change – DGA, SAG-AFTRA and (what we saw) IATSE last year,” he said. “I have no way of knowing what SAG-AFTRA and DGA will or can do, but I know their members are hurting and they want change. DGA Negotiation) Jon Avnet to speak at our rally. It meant so much to me and our members. Whatever is in the past is in the past.
Thursday marked the first full day of picketing in Los Angeles, as Tuesday started late for organizational reasons and Wednesday ended in time for WGA members to attend the shrine rally. yellow jackets co-creator and co-showrunner Bart Nickerson, who was unable to attend the gathering, spoke with THR ahead of Warner Bros. Thursday about his decision to stay online. And his words seemed to express what so many people online claim to feel without getting bogged down in the often wonky outlets.
“Over the last ten years, it seems that the position the writer has, in terms of compensation and respect within the industry, is eroding,” Nickerson said, echoing comments he had. made at THR in March. “It has come to a turning point and something has to be done.”