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Striking Hollywood writers say major film studios don’t understand what a screenwriter does : NPR


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Movie and TV writers are actually of their eighth week of a strike towards the key movie studios. Either side are at odds with what is strictly meant by “writing” in Hollywood’s new streaming mannequin.


Movie and TV writers are actually of their eighth week of a strike towards main Hollywood studios. They’re demanding higher pay, fairness and protections from the rise of AI. However one of many core points on the desk can also be an existential query – what precisely does a screenwriter do? From Hollywood, NPR’s Mandalit del Barco has this story.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Screenwriting, for TV particularly, has been a collaborative course of beginning with an thought – say, a drama a few good-looking Los Angeles protection legal professional who works out of his automobile.


LISAGAY HAMILTON: (As Choose Mary Holder) The Lincoln Lawyer – that what they name you?

MANUEL GARCIA-RULFO: (As Mickey Haller) Some do, sure.

DEL BARCO: Author Michael Connelly created “The Lincoln Lawyer” and likewise “Bosch: Legacy” and two different collection. He is been on the picket traces this summer time.

MICHAEL CONNELLY: And there is not a day that goes by in a manufacturing the place the author does not have a query to reply. And, like, does this match with what we simply shot within the final episode?

DEL BARCO: Connelly says which means writers are ideally all the time concerned in all the pieces from preproduction to postproduction. It is also essential for them to be on set through the filming course of, says Yahlin Chang, a showrunner for “The Handmaid’s Story.”

YAHLIN CHANG: You need to have a author prepared at a second’s discover to rewrite a scene.

DEL BARCO: Generally, a scene must be lower for time, or an actor needs to tweak a line. Chang says that is the way it needs to be, however this sort of on-the-fly writing and rewriting is changing into extinct.



DEL BARCO: Writers on the picket traces in Hollywood this summer time say streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon are more and more hiring writers like employees on an meeting line. They work individually from one another on-line in so-called mini rooms, writing scripts earlier than a manufacturing begins after which getting dismissed from the method. Overburdened showrunners, administrators, actors and others are anticipated to complete the rewriting, they are saying. Howard Rodman says that is how he was requested to work on a high-profile hourlong drama that premiered this month.

HOWARD RODMAN: There was no room filled with writers. There have been simply assignments that got here in by textual content, and my work was completed the day that images commenced. There was no continuity. The duties have been totally divided up between ideation, writing, on-set writing, on-set producing.

DEL BARCO: Rodman is a working screenwriter. He is additionally a professor of screenwriting on the College of Southern California, and he is a former president of the Writers Guild of America West. He additionally grew up because the son of a screenwriter, and he is seen how dramatically the method has modified.


DEL BARCO: Starting within the late Fifties, Rodman’s father was a author for the TV reveals “Route 66” and “Bare Metropolis.”


UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR: There are 8 million tales within the bare metropolis.

RODMAN: The way in which “Bare Metropolis” and “Route 66” have been made, there have been two guys. My father, Howard Rodman Sr., and an exquisite author named Stirling Silliphant wrote or rewrote each certainly one of 39 episodes per 12 months.

DEL BARCO: He says in his father’s day, story editors, as they have been referred to as, received concepts from freelancers, however they did all of the writing themselves.

RODMAN: Each season began with a seven-week lead time. That seven-week lead time was passed by Christmas, and the remainder of it was achieved on amphetamines. To get by way of that ordeal, it takes a toll in your physique and psyche, and it did on his. He died when he was 65 years outdated.

DEL BARCO: Rodman says that modified by the Nineteen Seventies, when teams of scribes have been employed to brainstorm and script out tales in so-called writers rooms.

RODMAN: These folks labored just like the satan, however they did not must exhaust physique and soul the way in which individuals who put out reveals in my father’s era did.

DEL BARCO: However after the rise of streaming and what many contemplate a TV renaissance, a brand new age of company mergers and layoffs have meant studios try to chop prices, and writers say they’re those being sidelined. Throughout contract negotiations with the Alliance of Movement Image and Tv Producers, the WGA wrestled over how and when writing ought to occur.

DANIELLE SANCHEZ-WITZEL: We have been telling the AMPTP, you can not separate writing from manufacturing. Writing occurs by way of all of the phases of constructing tv.

DEL BARCO: Danielle Sanchez-Witzel is a author for Hulu’s rom-com musical “Up Right here” and an govt producer of the upcoming Netflix collection “Survival Of The Thickest.” She’s additionally on the WGA’S negotiating committee.

SANCHEZ-WITZEL: What streamers got here in and did was determine, why do not we simply write all of them forward of time? We will do much less episodes, so let’s write all of them, after which you may simply go shoot them. And we’ll rent as few as folks as doable for as brief period of time as doable for as little as doable. And so that could be a massive cause why we’re out right here preventing.

DEL BARCO: The writing room mannequin on location and within the combine was how newbies realized the way to change into showrunners. The writers strike has put a giant query mark round how and what they will be writing for TV sooner or later. Mandalit del Barco, NPR Information, Hollywood.


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NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content is probably not in its ultimate kind and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability might range. The authoritative document of NPR’s programming is the audio document.


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