Ah well, that’s the common complaint of those of us who struggle in the writer’s world and are not Stephen King. The Hollywood crowd, those who write for the screen or tickle Stephen Colbert’s audience, are unhappy once again and who can blame them, Malibu is an expensive place to live.
According to an article in the Daily Kos, “the Writer’s Guild of America says that, over the past decade, median weekly writer-producer pay has declined 4%. Factoring in inflation, the reduction is 23%.
That’s not Hollywood talk. It is common to workers in a multitude of industries, and it is the result of a pretty generic tactic: companies attempting to shift the highest number of workers possible to the lowest wages possible. While the raw dollars involved may be higher in TV/film than in other industries, so is the cost of living; the median list price for a house in Los Angeles, where most writers need to live, was $1.1 million in April, according to Realtor.com.”
Well, the poor babies and here I am struggling to pay the $400 rent in a flat in Prague, with thirteen published books and still buying groceries on Social Security. The other side of that is the $112,679 average salary of Writers Guild Of America members. Aside from Jennifer Lawrence, an actor’s yearly pay is approximately $40,000, which is 34% below the national average of $60,575. Even so, I’m solidly on the union side of the argument and a strong believer that the destruction of the union movement in America is why we have such an embarrassing gulf between rich and poor.
But the plot thickens, as artificial intelligence comes up to bat in the 9th inning of a tied ball game. Producers now have ChatGPT and other such emerging technologies in their back pocket and, if the walkout is a long one, we may find a very strong hitter at bat in an industry that is no longer entirely at the mercy of writers.
AI doesn’t live in Malibu.