(Los Angeles) A Tuesday night meeting between striking Hollywood screenwriters and top executives from Disney, Universal, Warner Bros and Netflix resulted in yet another dialogue of the deaf for an industry crippled by a historic social movement, announced the Industry Feathers Union (WGA).
After three months of radio silence and the actors going on strike in mid-July, screenwriters and studios resumed negotiations in early August. But despite a new offer from employers to improve pay and working conditions, and to regulate the use of artificial intelligence, the talks are still deadlocked.
Tuesday night’s encounter was “a sermon on the quality of their one and only counter-offer,” the WGA said in a statement. “It was not a meeting to reach an agreement. It was a meeting to make us give in. »
The presence of big bosses Bob Iger (Disney), Donna Langley (Universal Pictures), Ted Sarandos (Netflix) and David Zaslav (Warner Bros) was not enough to restore quality dialogue.
Hollywood had not known a simultaneous strike of actors and screenwriters since 1960. This double social movement costs the sector millions of dollars every day.
But for the WGA, the studios’ counter-offer is full of “gaps” and “omissions”, and falls short of the “existential threats” facing the industry.
“We came to the negotiating table with an offer that addresses the priority concerns expressed by screenwriters,” said Carol Lombardini, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the employers.
“We are deeply committed to ending the strike and hope the WGA will work towards the same,” she added.
The AMPTP unveiled the elements of its new offer to the press.
Studios and platforms propose in particular to increase the minimum salary of screenwriters by 13% in the space of three years, and to share with the union the hours of viewing of programs broadcast in streaming. Audience figures so far confidential.
Streaming revenue sharing remains the sinews of war: just like actors, screenwriters want to be able to earn a lot more when one of their films or series is a hit on a platform, instead of receiving a lump sum payment, whatever the popularity of the program. But the studios only propose to restructure this remuneration system “in the future”.
In terms of artificial intelligence, they offer screenwriters the ability to rework scenarios initially generated by an AI, while being considered the sole author of this work and therefore without being paid less.
On the other hand, they remain silent on the possibility of training an AI from existing scenarios, a red line for the WGA.