BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL | The opening credits of the superhero “Deadpool” movie lists the usual participants: stars, director, producer, etc. When the writers’ names appeared onscreen, so did the additional credit: “the real heroes.”
Film and television writers walked off the job Monday, demanding, among other things, better pay. On Wednesday, the walkout’s third day, hundreds of writers, members of the Writers Guild of America, East, circled the block on Broadway at 19th Street that houses the offices of Netflix, the streaming service whose use of original productions has grown exponentially over the past decade.
The strike’s effects were felt immediately as late-night talk shows all ceased production. The effects on scripted television shows and movies will take longer to be noticed. But if corporations that own TV and movie studios don’t reach an agreement with the guild, new productions will eventually dry up.
Strikers spent several hours circling the block, chanting, “New York is a union town!” and several call-backs, including, “When I say AI, you say, bye bye!” a reference to artificial intelligence and ChatGPT, a potential threat to writers. And being writers, most created their own picket sign messages, such as, “For Your Consideration: A Fair Contract,” “I Stream You Stream We All Stream for a Fair Contract” and “Do The Write Thing.”
Wait a minute! Someone actually pays writers to write?
Yes, a multinational corporation like Netflix that is worth $142 billion — that ranks among the planet’s top 100 most valuable companies — should be able to pay its writers.