Screenwriters in battle
The WGA gave the kick-off at the beginning of May, and two and a half months later SAG-AFTRA joined. It was only on Aug. 11, more than a hundred days after the strike began, that the AMPTP — made up of more than 300 production companies, including giants the size of Amazon, Disney and Netflix — called on writers’ representatives to resume dialogue. On the part of the WGA, they confirmed that meetings since then have brought positions closer, but the offer remains “almost nothing, not even close to sufficient”. “The lawsuits come directly from our members and address existential threats to our profession caused by business model changes companies have made in recent years. We are not going on strike to leave part of the union unprotected when we return to work. “Every existential problem must find a real solution,” said the WGA in a statement sent to its partners Aug. 24.
Two days earlier, the coalition reiterated that key areas of the claim had been addressed: the role of artificial intelligence, improvements in residuals payout (revenues from program and film reruns) and cinema dynamics. Screenwriters and even the possibility of greater transparency of streamer metrics, key data to tie earnings to reproductions. And there was an offer that she says “represents the biggest salary increase for writers in 35 years”: a 13 percent increase in three-year contracts, with increases of 5 percent in the first year, 4 percent in the second, and 3.5 percent in the third year .
The number is far from satisfying the WGA, but it’s not crazy either. The specialist portal Deadline published a table last week that graphically shows what percentage of the income from the main course should be used in the proposal submitted to the alliance for the screenwriters’ salaries. The average among the top 7 (Disney, Netflix, Warner, Universal, Paramount, Sony, Amazon and Apple) is 0.18 percent; that is, for every dollar that comes in, 18 cents would go to the workers. For Disney, for example, they are projecting 82 billion in revenue, of which only 72 million would come from writers’ salaries (0.088 percent of the total), and in the case of Netflix, it’s just under 32 billion and 65 million for salaries. 0.206 percent).
However, executives continue to complain. The CEO of the most famous mouse house in the world is called Bob Iger and earns around 25 million dollars a year. However, in an interview with the All Your Screens portal, he explained that he was “personally offended” by the strikers’ refusal and said his petitions were “too expensive for an industry that has not yet solved the problems created by the pandemic”. . Iger also didn’t like that more than 80 percent of visual effects workers voted to form a union. On the side of Netflix co-founder Ted Sarandos, the concern isn’t so much what might happen in Hollywood as it is outside the box: giving in, he says, would set a terrible precedent for the audiovisual industry in the rest of the world , especially where the red N stamps. This is the case in Britain, India and South Korea, where unions have started to organize to negotiate the terms of next year’s contracts.
Shoot the producers
Meanwhile, consulting firm Gallup conducted a phone poll of more than 1,000 people across the United States to find out what they thought about the strikes. 72 percent said they had more understanding of the screenwriters’ situation, while only 17 percent supported the studies. For the interpreters, it is 67 percent on their side and 24 percent on the producers’ side. In this context, the fact that renowned actors raise their voices in front of the microphones of the press around the world for those who are less famous and less visible is a symbolic asset of enormous value. But it’s not easy for them to talk either, as SAG-AFTRA’s internal regulations state that promotional tours and interviews may not be conducted during a strike.
As this measure does not favor independent productions – including “independent” productions made outside of the core studios in the AMPTP – the union granted “exemptions” (“Exemptions”) to allow the artistic teams of these films to attend the Venice Conference. Toronto and Telluride Festivals. In turn, producers must adapt to the demands that have driven the level of violence. This was carried out by, among others, Neon and STX, the companies behind Michael Mann’s Ferrari, which has just had its first public displays at the European event with full presence of the cast led by Adam Driver and Penélope Cruz.
“How come they managed to meet all the requirements of the SAG while big companies like Netflix and Amazon didn’t?” wondered Driver, who interprets the legendary automaker, and continued: “Anyone, if people at SAG support a film that meets the terms of the preliminary agreement, it becomes clearer that these production companies are willing to support the people they work with and the others are not.
Mann, in charge of Fire Against Fire and The Informant, responded to Driver’s position by stating that “Ferrari could be made because a lot of the people who were working were forgoing high salaries.” me. This film was not made by a major studio. No big studio wrote us a check. That’s why we’re here, in solidarity with those making claims,” said the director of one of the films, who is already a permanent contender for the top awards competition of the culminating Hollywood red carpet season will march with the Oscar. Will there be a solution before the founding gala of the Wirtschaftsschau? Or will it be a starless ceremony?