Over 11,000 members of the Writers Guild of America decided to go on strike causing a ripple effect in the TV and film industry. Since last week, most film and TV productions have stopped which could impact the Georgia economy. The state of Georgia received $4.4 billion due to film productions in 2022.
Lisa Bonner, a veteran entertainment and intellectual property attorney, recently spoke with ADW to shed light on the how the writer’s strike will impact Georgia and why TV streaming and Artificial Intelligence will play a role.
Can you provide insight on why writers in TV/Film decided to strike and what are the next steps?
What is happening in terms of the writers strike and how we got here is the writers and the American Motion Pictures and Television Producers. That’s made up of 350 television and production companies. They’ve been talking for the last six months about compensation for writers. And they wanted a sweetening of the terms of the current deal with the WGA. The studios and Hollywood has seen this coming for some time. So it would be safe to say that this is not a surprise.
Can you break down how streaming has played a role in this?
One of the things that occurred during 2007-08 strike, they wanted to take a wait and see position with the residuals paid to the writers. We now see that streaming has become a bigger piece of the pie. So there are different residual formulas for streaming and networks. There are four glaring issues that has caused this writer’s strike to take place.
How has the strike impacted Georgia thus far?
I can’t speak specifically on all of the shows. But for filming that’s going on in Georgia, there are a couple of shows that are still in production and have not slowed down yet. At the moment, we might not see a particular impact on the film and television industry as a whole here in Georgia. But they are pushing back on the start of new productions that were scheduled. They do generally have a writer on set for most productions if a scene is not working or they may need to rewrite it. In this instance, you don’t have a writer on set to rewrite because of the strike. I know a couple of shows that we’re supposed to start production in June and they’ve pushed them back until August, and they are filming in Georgia.
Can you give some insight on how Artificial Intelligence is going to play a role in this strike?
The WGA wants to ban the use of A.I. to write and rewrite scripts. If you look at ChatGPT, it takes a lot of stuff that is online and it spits out an amalgamation of different items. So what they don’t want to do is use the scripts that may have been already written so that A.I. can get the cadence and learn how to effectively write a script. If you start feeding actual scripts into the source material, A.I. is going to eventually get it. That would obviously negate the use and the need of certain writers. So the WGA is pushing back on that portion of A.I. They’re not trying to ban it as research material, but they don’t want A.I. to take our jobs.