As we all know, thanks to technology and the Internet, the cost of doing business in the creative trades (advertising, design, photography, TV, etc) has dropped like a stone, allowing for a flood of competition.
In short, what often made the trades a really sweet gig for creative types started getting less sweet by the day. Yes, the shareholders and C-Suite are still doing fine and dandy, but for lesser mortals working in the trenches, not so much.
Naturally, we’re now seeing the same exact phenomenon with the current Hollywood writers’ strike. Without giving a lecture on how the economics of TV writing has changed, let’s just say that their situation is very similar to what’s happened in the other trades. The money and status from writing have diminished over time (unlike the compensation packages of the execs), while competition (‘eyeballs”) has proliferated by orders of magnitude (hello, streaming). Needless to say, the writers are not too happy about it.
Not only is the pay worse nowadays, but to get a TV writing job you essentially have to live in one of the two most expensive cities in the US (LA or New York), so the writers are hurting.
Will the striking writers and their union (The Writer’s Guild of America) have their demands met in the end? According to some people in the media, they’re getting a lot of local and union support from the Hollywood community, and Hollywood execs seem to be conceding that some of the strikers’ disruptions have been effective, which is nice for them.
But that’s the problem. It’s all just “nice.” None of this actually changes anything. The fundamental problems that caused the strikes still remain. Not to mention there’s the A.I. issue which nobody really knows what to do about. The jury is still out on how much disruption to the trade it will actually cause.
And so it goes. Does the presumed toxic culture of Hollywood elites value human ingenuity, and are they willing to pay the cost required for people to have the space they need to be creative? The strikes, typically a last resort, would seem to suggest not.
The interesting thing is that this problem is being replicated across the economy.
All of humanity’s greatest challenges are fundamentally solved through human creativity. The challenges of Hollywood are a metaphor for the rest of society. Someone should write a screenplay.