Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Examinations of the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes leading into the Labor Day weekend

As I promised yesterday, I'm updating the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes today. I begin with KCAL News reporting Hollywood studio chiefs reportedly meet as WGA/SAG strikes continue from last Thursday.

The chiefs of major Hollywood studios reportedly met Wednesday as writers, actors, and others in the entertainment industry continue to strike.
I was guardedly optimistic last month, when I wrote "While I still think these strikes are not ending any time soon, there is at least some progress." Well, the writers guild rejected the producers' offer, the producers didn't make a more acceptable counter-offer, and the talks ended. Now the producers are figuring out what to do next and it might be a PR effort to sway the viewers instead of more negotiations. They're counting on what I have written many times.
[As] I first wrote in 2011, "America is quite clear about its screwed up priorities­. My experience has convinced me that the surest way to get Americans to act is to mess with their entertainm­ent." I elaborated on that in both Possibly (not) the last Detroit Fireworks Show and Christmas music from the Cadets and Crazy Eddie's Motie News, adding "Americans want their entertainment, and will do just about anything to keep it going."
The studio executives are counting on that and hoping they can turn it against the writers and actors. What they might get are a bunch of (mostly conservative) people hoping in a fit of spite that Hollywood collapses instead. Be careful what you wish for; you might get it.

Speaking of Hollywood collapsing, that might be the effect of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on physical Hollywood, as Michael Jamin pointed out last Thursday in Everything You Need to Know About the Writer's Strike with Michael Jamin to VICE News.

Michael Jamin has been writing for television since 1996 with credits including Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill, Just Shoot Me, and Wilfred. He's been on strike with the WGA Union since May 2023. Jamin joins Samir Ferdowsi and Dexter Thomas live on Twitch to discuss the impetus and progression of the strike, and gives an inside look into the life of a Hollywood writer.
Just like EVs for auto workers, AI is a pressing technological issue for actors and writers. Welcome to the Singularity where the main effect is losing jobs to robots, not everyone becoming cyborgs or the machines enslaving or killing off humanity. Audie Cornish of CNN explored that topic and more in Hollywood’s Hot Strike Summer, again from last Thursday.

For Labor Day — the unofficial end of summer and the official holiday celebrating the American worker — we are checking in on the state of the striking actors and writers demanding more from the studios they work for. When the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) went on strike earlier this year, no one was sure how long the first dual strike in over 60 years would last. Six weeks later both unions are still on the picket line. This week we speak to industry insider, Franklin Leonard, about the state of the strikes and how this could change the way Hollywood works, and how we watch movies and TV.
All that podcast episode needed was visuals. If it had them, I would have made it my featured video.

All this talk of AI indicates that I need to explore that issue on its own. The Singularity is an apocalyptic scenario, after all, and is right on topic with the overarching theme of this blog. I promise I'll get to that after examining another possible SAG-AFTRA strike, this time against video game producers. Stay tuned.

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