A new rumor claims that the Writers Guild of America (WGA) negotiators are not actually concerned about residuals due to streaming viewership being so bad.
This rumor comes from YouTuber Gary Buechler of Nerdrotic, who appeared on the Valliant Renegade channel and provided details of a conversation he allegedly had with a WGA negotiator.
Buechler stated, “AI is definitely part of it, that’s a huge part of this strike, but the other one is residuals. The WGA negotiator tried to downplay them saying, ‘Well, we’re not too worried about the residuals. We want more upfront.'”
He then explained why they want more upfront, “The reason they want more upfront is because, apparently the WGA is aware of the numbers. The lead negotiators, the head of the WGA, they can’t share them, but they are aware of the numbers. And their response is, ‘Eh, we’re not worried about residuals.’ And you want to know why? Because there’s no residuals. There’s no numbers. So they want more money upfront.”
The WGA revealed a list of proposals they offered the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) as of May 1, 2023 on their website. The proposals include 6%-5%-5% for all minimums including residual bases.”
They also want full theatrical terms including better initial compensation and residuals for streaming features with budgets over $12 million.
For episodic television, the WGA wants writers’ rooms to be made up of at least 6 writers and have demands for a minimum number of writers based on episode counts above six episodes. If writing is down before a series is greenlit, they want a minimum of 10 consecutive weeks of work. Following greenlight they want a minimum of 3 weeks per episode and half of the mimimum staff must stay employed through the production and at least one writer stays employed through post production.
In addition they want to increase their weekly rates for TV weeklies as well as create a new Writer-Producer tier.
For streaming, they want to be compensated based on the streaming service’s foreign subscriber count. They also want to “establish a viewership-based residual—in addition to existing fixed residual—to reward programs with greater viewership. Require transparency regarding program views.”
Finally, they want to “Regulate use of artificial intelligence on MBA-covered projects: AI can’t write or rewrite literary material; can’t be used as source material; and MBA-covered material can’t be used to train AI.”
In an update on August 4th, the WGA detailed that negotiators Ellen Stutzman and Tony Segall met with Carol Lombardini and AMPTP and that the AMPTP “were willing to increase their offer on a few writer-specific TV minimums – and willing to talk about AI – but that they were not willing to engage on the preservation of the writers’ room, or success-based residuals. She did not indicate willingness to address screenwriter issues, Appendix A issues, and many of the other proposals that remain on our list.”
What do you make of this rumor that WGA negotiators are not too concerned about residuals, but would rather focus on upfront compensation?