The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian


This poll has ended.

When is the first acceptable day of the year to start playing Christmas music?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter.

ETHS student athletes prepare for the upcoming winter season.
Winter Wildkits: Winter sports forecast
November 17, 2023
Marcia Hartigan began her journey in the ice cream industry during her sophomore year of high school. Now, shes the owner of Hartigan’s Ice Cream Shoppe, a beloved Evanston ice cream parlor.
The inside scoop
Audrey Bodine, Staff Writer • November 17, 2023
The hidden Evanston board game community offers fun friends and connections.
Game on!
Izabella Paracuelles and Ashlyn Rogowski November 17, 2023
The Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette
A world united
Milo Slevin, Feature Editor • October 20, 2023

To studios: act the write way

Hollywood actors and screenwriters push for equitable pay in streaming age
Liviana Sumi

On May 2, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike, seeking higher pay and other improvements to working conditions. Two months later, on July 14, Hollywood actors, who are a part of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) joined the writers on the picket lines, and both are still striking as of Sept. 18. The writers argue that their working conditions are poor and they’re not being paid sufficiently. This strike is Hollywood’s first since 2007.

The WGA is refusing to work until three major things are improved: protection from AI, increased job opportunities, and higher wages.

One of the main concerns for writers and actors is AI taking over their jobs and likenesses in the future. An NBC article states, “Technology that replicates individuals’ faces and voices is becoming more prominent in Hollywood. Chatbots like ChatGPT, which can convincingly reproduce human writing, have surged in popularity since late last year.” If AI continues to grow within Hollywood, many actors and writers will inevitably lose their jobs.

In addition to losing their jobs to AI, writers are also getting significantly fewer job opportunities due to a decrease in the amount of writers who are needed to work on each episode.

While studios used to have around twelve writers working on a show, they now have four to five. This is a significant drop, which is why the WGA is taking action.

Lastly, the WGA and SAG are demanding higher pay. According to reporting from the Today show ‘The 2023 writers’ strike explained’, “Median weekly writer-producer pay has declined 23 percent over the last decade when adjusting for inflation.” Writers and actors believe that they’re not being paid adequately, so they are refusing to stop striking until compensation is up to par.

The 2007 Hollywood writers strike lasted one hundred days—the current one lasting substantially longer. An article by the Washington Post explaining the details of the past writers strike says the writers wanted “their compensation [to] reflect how technology… affected the creation and consumption of their work.” The goal of these writers was to increase the amount of the residuals they gained with the increase in DVD sales and on-demand video. Residuals are the payment that people who work on films make from their work being replayed or rerun after the original release. These goals are similar to the current ones, with the focus shifting from DVD sales to compensation issues over streaming.           

However, the last time both writers and actors were on strike together was over 60 years ago, in 1960. The writers at the time were protesting for studios to pay into pension and health funds, and pay higher wages as well as residuals concerning their work being played for television and television reruns. Television continued to rise through the 1900s, and became a popular source of entertainment beginning in the 50s. As more and more Americans watched movies, shows, and their reruns, the people who made those films wanted their fair share of money that the production companies were making from those reruns. Although the actors and writers were striking together, the 1960 strike lasted over twice as long for writers, with the strike lasting only 42 days for the actors and 97 for writers.

To get more insight into how actors are being affected by the strikes, we interviewed a professional actor who is currently in high school. The student, who is kept anonymous because she is currently participating in the strike, says, “When the writer strike hit, and there were fewer TV shows and movies [being produced] for the big companies, the [number of] auditions that I was getting [became fewer and fewer]. And then once the SAG strike hit, [whereas] I used to get three or four auditions a week, now I get zero.”

Many viewers of television are also being impacted by the strikes, noticing a decrease in the amount of media being released.

“There aren’t as many summer blockbusters…[with only] a couple of big movies that came out this summer,” the student agrees. “I always like to watch a good movie, but with the strike, the big companies that produce the number one on the New York Times’s list aren’t coming out.”

Though there is a notable decrease in media being released, not everything has been brought to a full stop. Shows and movies are still being put on streaming services in the upcoming months that were produced before the strike. Production is halted on nearly every project currently, but since the time between production and release can be so lengthy, there are still movies and shows that can be released.

As far as when this will end, no one can be sure.

“We don’t really know, because there are two really big groups [in the striking unions versus large production companies] fighting against each other,” the student tells.

“We just don’t know which one’s gonna give in first,” the actor concludes. “But hopefully it doesn’t last much longer.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Evanstonian
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of the Evanstonian. We are planning a big trip to the Journalism Educators Association conference in Boston in November 2022, and any support will go towards making that trip a reality. Contributions will appear as a charge from SNOSite. Donations are NOT tax-deductible.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Meera Field, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Meera Field (she/her). I’m a sophomore and I write for Arts and Entertainment. This is my second year writing for The Evanstonian, and I'm excited to continue writing about things I care about. Outside of The Evanstonian, I like to hang out with my friends, cook, and skate at Robert Crown. 
Elliot Hoffner, Staff Writer
Donate to The Evanstonian
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Evanstonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *