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Preserving the Art of a Succession and I Think You Should Leave Writers’ Room

Photo: Netflix

We’re crossing the one-month mark of the 2023 writers strike, and things are getting complex! Namely, the question of what it means to “support” the strike keeps coming up. People who walk a picket line, then go to Cannes Film Festival — is that cool? What if they talk about labor on the Croisette? In this extremely online strike, the rules of conduct are being assembled on a daily basis. “Some of us extremely lower level & poor as shit writers have been clocking in everyday for this strike & even before so it really breaks my heart to see extremely rich people just not give a fuck,” tweeted strike captain Caroline Renard. “And not be held to the same standards or more since they’re supposedly leaders.”

Then you have people like Amy Pascal, who recently said she was a supporter of the strike while obfuscating producers’ potential role in ending it. When asked about a fourth Tom Holland Spider-Man movie, she said, “We’re in the process, but the writers strike, nobody is working during the strike. We’re all being supporters and whenever they get themselves together, we’ll get started.” Who exactly needs to “get themselves together” in this scenario? But hey, it was nice seeing the Ted Lasso crew at the WB picket line before the show’s finale.

Inter-Guild Solidarity

The Directors Guild of America is entering its final week of scheduled negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. On Wednesday, the WGA, Screen Actors Guild, and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees issued a joint statement in solidarity with the DGA. “As eyes around the world again turn towards the negotiation table, we send a clear message to the AMPTP: Our solidarity is not to be underestimated,” they wrote. “The Hollywood guilds and unions stand united, and we stand strong.”

The Strike Hits Google Maps

At the time of publication, the image of Amazon Studios in Culver City that comes up on Google Maps has the picket line in it. The Google Maps contributor who took the pic contributed picket shots of Sony Picture Studios’ motor gate and the Culver Studios.

Succession Hammers Home the Need for On-Set Writers

It’s series-finale week for Succession, everybody! We’re sad! But people behind and in front of the cameras for the show are using their platforms to emphasize the importance of writers. An excerpt from Lucy Prebble’s season-three script book mentioned that show creator Jesse Armstrong liked having at least two writers on-set for every day of filming. And in a wrap-up discussion with Deadline, Jeremy Strong took a shot at the people who think AI will replace human writers: “AI ain’t gonna write Succession, or Chinatown, or The Godfather. It’s just not going to. If we don’t nurture and provide the infrastructure and the apparatus to support and engender and create another generation of writers who are deep thinkers, who are grappling with the big things the way Jesse, Aaron Sorkin and Eric Roth and Amy Hertzog are grappling with the big things, then what’s left is decadence. And that’s terrifying, because in our culture, decadence is the last stage before collapse.”

The Strike Main-Character Award (Good)

I Think You Should Strike. In his gushy thread, Seth Meyers writes that he supports the strike, so that young writers can one day work on a brilliant, freaky show like I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson, which just dropped its third season. “This is a show that will make a certain kind of kid want to grow up to be a comedy writer,” he said. And he’s right! The series is a master class in brilliantly weird comedy writing. So congrats, Tim Robinson, for being the Main Character (Good) this week by way of Seth Meyers.

The Strike Main-Character Award (Bad)

Kim “Nobody Wants to Work Anymore” Kardashian crossed the picket line to work on American Horror Story this week. Per strike captain Warren Leight, actors are required to work through June 30. But Kim didn’t use her relative privilege to support the strike. “We set up a line, she was driven past it into a waiting freight elevator,” Leight told the Daily Beast. “Building security guard put on a bulletproof vest, which seemed over-the-top.” Whether you want to blame Kim for being tone deaf to the struggles of the working class or FX producers and Ryan Murphy for putting actors in that position is up to you.

But what’s this? A challenger approaches? Taika Waititi-Ora gave a speech at a Hollywood Reporter event that critics said was out of touch at best. The gist was trying to give a speech without writing one, as that could be considered a strikebreaking activity. “Man, I can’t wait for the strike to be over. As a WGA member, I can’t wait for us to get the thing that we want,” he said.

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Preserving the Art of a Succession and ITYSL Writers’ Room