It’s been quite a couple of months for labor and for Hollywood (both independently and together).

We don’t have any WGA or SAG-AFTRA members on staff here (at least not yet—if you are and you want something to do during the strike, hit us up). But we do know these facts and realities:

  1. Despite reporting record corporate profits since the pandemic, big production studios are paying writers and actors less than they were in 2019.
  2. 87.3% of SAG-AFTRA’s 160,000 members make less than $26,000 per year. That’s less than a California worker making minimum wage full-time for a year.
  3. Digital streaming, the medium by which most television and film is consumed, routinely pays writers of blockbuster shows with millions of viewers royalties that total less than a dollar.

Perhaps worst of all, production studios have made no secret of their desire to remove humans from the television and film production process altogether; replacing background actors with digital doubles for which the model was never fairly compensated, replacing the screenwriting talent development process with “mini-rooms,” and eventually replacing all writers and actors with AI models like ChatGPT and DALL-E.

At Reel World Theology and Redeeming Culture, we believe very strongly that every story we create and enjoy says something about the God who made us and the story He wrote and made us a part of; and it seems to be that if, eventually, the only stories we will be able to see are manufactured and pantomimed by artificial intelligence based on the combined work we’ve already produced as a society, those stories will say fewer and fewer original things worth paying attention to.

Further, art and story are not mindless. God is the Master Storyteller and Artist who composed the most beautiful tapestry of art and story that weaves throughout all of creation; which means that a full experience of humanity, as God intended it, requires us to create and enjoy beauty. The people who create that beauty deserve to be paid accordingly.

What does this mean for us during the strike?

First, we won’t cross the picket line. I mean, nobody’s asking us to, but we wouldn’t if they did.

Second, critique and journalism aren’t strikebreaking, so we’ll continue operating as we are.

Third, the WGA and SAG-AFTRA have not called for a general boycott of film or television yet, so we won’t be doing that either.

And finally, if the strike continues long enough that the content coming from Hollywood begins to dry up, you’ll probably see us writing more about old films, about storycraft and film theory, and about other fun stuff. (Honestly, we might do that anyway. It sounds like fun.)

In any event, we hope a fair and mutually beneficial deal is reached quickly. There are more important things than stories; but one of those more important things is the people on the picket line. Best of luck.

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