Rushed Scripts, Confusion & Blacklisting Threats: How The UK Is Responding To The Writers Strike

fleeting effect wga The UK industry is still digesting the strike, with professionals we̵7;ve spoken to over the last 24 hours expressing a combination of solidarity, uncertainty, and the view that the strike will pale in comparison to other macro issues affecting their businesses. would be less problematic.

The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain was clear in its support for the WGA strike yesterday, reminding members that if they work under WGA jurisdiction during the strike they will be expelled from the Guild. it was published wide Guidelines and a Q&A, The WGA has its own rules during a strike Here,

“We continue to show our solidarity with our sister union and their members across the US as they begin industrial action to secure fair wages, decent working conditions and their rightful share in the future financial success of their work, ” Said WGGB Chair Lisa Holdsworth.

The full effects of the walkout will only become clear over time, but for now, writers, producers and agents are gathering intelligence and relying on contingency plans to keep major productions on track. Some were critical of how it got to this point, with one senior studio executive arguing that the industry had “gone to sleep” in the strike and there was not enough urgency to agree a resolution.

Productions filming in the UK & Ahead

There are currently a large number of US-UK co-productions underway in the UK, which could theoretically be derailed by strike action.

Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and Disney+ retainer Here are some of the major American dramas currently shooting in the UK. If the script was unfinished for them, the production could be in trouble if their American writers had to down tool. Amazon and Disney have not responded to a request for comment.

Amazon Prime Video’s ‘Rings of Power’

amazon prime studios

disney+ internal management and It is one of those shows known to continue production (in London) without any load as all scripts for season two were shelved before the strike began. the same is true for house of the dragon Season two.

The question remains as to how the shoot could take place without writers making changes to the script. Most major studio series and movies have writers on set 24/7, which isn’t possible during a strike. A well-known UK director said he was waiting for guidance from his studio on what could be changed in the production script now that the industrial action is underway.

Shows that have significant co-production funding but are housed in the UK with British writers appear unaffected at this time. This includes Disney supported am doctorWhich is helmed by Welsh writer Russell T Davies and is currently being filmed by Bad Wolf in Cardiff.

Warner Bros. beet juice 2 One of the major studio films to open in the UK in the coming weeks. Focus Features’ nosferatu and 20th century Foreigner Currently filming in Central Europe. The script for any film shooting this spring should be in a solid place. The strike is having an immediate effect on TV compared to film.

“It’s very complicated,” said a high-profile UK scribe. “If you are a UK writer working on a US show under WGA jurisdiction, you cannot continue until this is resolved. The Guild has been firm about this.

Working for UK Drama Indie, The Source is currently writing shows for streamers who are not covered under WGA contracts, so this means they can continue to work.

Writers at the WGA have spent the past few weeks furiously perfecting the script to meet strike deadlines.

HBO second season tokyo vice, Which is currently filming in Japan, we understand that writers who were quickly writing final drafts before May 2 were told they must timestamp all their scripts to prove when they were completed. Gone. The makers are now allowed to make minor changes to the script but within a very strict framework. Showrunner JT Rogers is still on set, but has also been barred from making any changes to the script.

We also hear that the scripts for priority movie packages sold at Cannes have been sped up in recent weeks to avoid disturbances during the strike.

Some European-based companies, such as peaky blinders Owner Caryn Mandabach Productions is not a WGA signatory, and thus can continue to develop with writers from across Europe. A commission from a European broadcaster is not contrary to union rules, and allows business to continue, especially in a global market less hostile to subtitled foreign content.

As one senior studio executive put it: “When train drivers go on strike in America, their European counterparts don’t follow suit.”

Agents and Producers Respond

UK agents have been locked in calls with their customers in an attempt to establish the magnitude of the issues, with some acknowledging the full scale of the long haul will not be known for days.

One agent admitted that the effect was more problematic than anticipated: “Our writers are more affected than we originally thought. We are still finalizing the land and have been getting a lot of calls from different customers to discuss this. We will have more clarity in the coming days.”

John McVey, CEO of manufacturer trade body Treaty, underestimated the potential damage of the strike. “There may be some American writers working for streamers here, but for most of our domestic stuff we have British writers on board, and that’s what broadcasters want, a British voice,” he said. “They wish there were more of them … No one is telling me ‘Oh what the f*ck are we going to do?'”

This notion was supported by a high-profile European drama producer who has created shows for streamers. He noted that offers for American writers to work on European shows were few until recently and vice versa. He added, “As Netflix seems to have roughly 75% of its total subscribers outside the US, you could say that local markets are more important to international shows today, so are local writers.” “When we talk to streaming services about global shows, they usually don’t ask about American writers.”

An American writer who works internationally said he believes American studios will be looking for ways to attract European and British writers, even if they are down-tooled by their local guilds. requested for.

Another high-profile international writer made the assumption that scripted execs at some major US networks are considering buying more shows from overseas rather than original commissions. But he also said that the idea of ​​importing writers from abroad is unrealistic. “You can’t expect writers from outside America to be able to come and write for the American market,” he said.

scripted slowdown

A prominent British producer said the timing could work in favor of streamers: “In a very cynical way, it could be a pretty good time for streamers who are currently thinking about how they can do less rather than more.” For all reasons we know there is a recession and the focus is on how they spend their money. It can be quite helpful counterproductively.

The broader slowdown in the scripted space was significant to many. Inflation, content and platform saturation, and streamer layoffs have all contributed to the slump in the high-end TV market.

A commissioner living in the UK who works for a US streamer said belt-tightening could make the writers’ strike “less of an issue” than if it had happened during the boom era.

Sister’s ‘The Power’ for Amazon Prime Video

Scripted slowdowns were a topic of discussion at the recent MIP TV. Studiocanal CEO Anna Marsh declared during her keynote that “the [scripted] The TV bubble has burst,” while Sister boss Jane Featherstone predicted a “traumatic” period as the drama market recovers and inflation subsides.

McVay said Featherstone’s prediction was not a bad thing. “We live through an extraordinary time when [buyers] Got nervous and all that, so you have to consider what we’re benchmarking against.” “What’s happening now is an improvement. Getting ahead of the boom is good because people working back-to-back were burning out and wage rates were through the roof.

A Scripted distributor, who talks with buyers across Europe on several projects, said networks are only being selective.

He said, “After Kovid, a lot of things came in the market and I think now there will be a period of less goods.” “Shows that are desirable and well packaged are still in high demand but some things just don’t seem necessary.”

writers make a stand

Many UK writers have posted supportive and sympathetic messages on social media. Many of them are subject to the same pressures and stresses felt by their American counterparts.

David Allison, a writer at Marcella And Trust Me, and a WGGB representative from Yorkshire praised his union’s response when it reminded members that they would be dropped from the guild if they worked under WGA jurisdiction during the strike: “Absolutely no mess, total solidarity,” he said. You secretly plagiarize the works of American authors and you are blacklisted.

Novelist Tony Lee, who writes under the pen name Jack Gatland, said: “I may be in the UK but as a member of The Writers Guild I stand in solidarity with the WGA.”

But there is also confusion among some UK union members about how the strike could affect them. The author spoke agbaje (gone too far) echoed a familiar refrain when he called on the WGGB to issue clear guidelines on what “solidarity” looks like:

fresh off the boat Writer Camilla Blackett warns UK union members about the “trap” that could come from being offered work in the US

Additional reportingJesse Whittock