Hollywood Screenwriter Explains How Woke, Diversity Hires Will Be Out Of Jobs Under New WGA Deal
Screenwriter Script Doctor recently asserted that woke, diversity hires will be out of jobs under the newly minted deal that the Writers Guild of America signed with the studios.
During an appearance on Midnight’s Edge’s Midnight’s Edge in the Morning, Script Doctor shared his thoughts.
He was asked by the show’s host Andre Einherjar, “Will there be less jobs for writers now when you have guaranteed writers room?”
Script Doctor responded, “Well, this is one of the things I didn’t like in regards to the guaranteed writers room because you have compelled hiring. But it looks like certain members in the union on the negotiating committee have turned that inside out a little bit for the benefit of writers that know how to finish script and maybe not push too much ideology in there. Don’t get me wrong there’s definitely some veteran writers out there that are drinking the Kool-Aid, but the vast majority of them, the ones that do preach this are younger. I’ve been learning through my colleagues that a lot of them have actually spent more time striking and spending time on social media than actually expanding their portfolio of scripts to pitch when the strike is over.”
After briefly comparing himself to his colleagues, he continued, “So basically what we are seeing here from the youngins is there’s going to be less, possibly less opportunities for them especially in something like the pre-greenlit or mini rooms. And that comes down to two factors that I can think of right now.
“The first one is that the current MBA clearly defines that a showrunner has to be a union writer,” he said. “So it can’t be an internal executive producer like a Kevin Feige. It also gives them a bit more power in to who they select for the writing positions in the minimum staffing mini rooms and it also says that whoever they select has to be approved by the company or the showrunner has to argue for them to be involved.”
“Now, with regards to those rooms, you have showrunners that would only– a real showrunner, a good showrunner is only going to hire writers that they are going to get value out of in their room. Which means that if you are diversity hire and that’s all you’ve got going on you are of no value to a showrunner which means you are not going to get your ‘guaranteed hire’ over there. And I think that’s a good thing,” Script Doctor elaborated.
As for his second point, he detailed, “The other aspect with regards to the contract pertaining to mini rooms is that the compelled hiring has now increased– the compelled hiring and the extended timeframe for which they have to work on the show, which is like the minimum of 10 weeks.”
He explained, “That essentially turns the mini room into something more expensive than the traditional model of developing a pilot, producing the pilot to be screened before an audience test to see whether or not it’s actually going to be good, and then giving it the greenlight to go into an actual series order. The mini room basically tries to force a hit show within a six episode, or eight episode, or ten episode structure, get it all written before any of it is filmed, and then push it out there.”
He then provided an example, “You can take a look at a pilot like Ahsoka and say to yourself, ‘Okay, that’s a show that was done in a mini room. It was done by one writer Dave Filoni. And if you put that through the pilot test there’s no way it would have been picked up for the remainder of the episodes.’ And that’s a good thing. You don’t want that.”
“So, right now, it looks like mini rooms are kind of being, for the moment, they’ll be kind of priced out on a budget side of things from the studios because it’s more lucrative and less risk for them to actually go back to shooting a pilot, testing it, and then determining whether it’s going to be given a series order as opposed to building a show in a limited amount of time and then just pumping it out for you to be stuck with it, and can’t control, develop, or change it based on audience reception,” he elaborated.
Script Doctor then asserted, “And when you have those types of orders and you have the showrunner being in charge of it and picking the writers they want to work with and being able to argue why they need it for the benefit of the show, you then basically exclude any of the writers in town that are not going to be of value to you.
“And I think everybody listening and gentlemen on the panel know those types of writers are not going to be lasting in this industry because they’re not qualified. And I think that’s great. I think that’s great that there’s less jobs for them because that gives me a better chance for having more job opportunities,” he concluded.
He then responded to a comment from Andre Einherjar who stated, “Let’s face it, a big part of the problem that we’ve had, especially with MCU of late, isn’t just the producers behind the scenes have gone nuts. It is also that the writers rooms are staffed with incompetence and general assorted activists. Many of whom would be these younglings, if you will, that come in not through merit but through other means, and produce a bunch of bulls**t.”
Script Doctor replied, “If it’s not through merit, they’ve done something that’s made them hot in the moment and then you have basically the studios clamoring at them to work for them for writing. They overbook themselves or overstretch themselves. And then they end up becoming terrible because they’ve signed 9 deals that are due over the next year and a half or two years to turn in. Trying to write nine feature films in two years is a really difficult thing to do especially if they are going to be maintaining quality.
“And on top of that, you’re putting them out there, you’re getting notes back, you’re going back and forth, you’re dividing a lot of your time,” he noted. “This is the big red flag I’ve pointed out especially with Dave Callaham… He’s written Wonder Woman 1984, Zombieland 2, Mortal Kombat, and Shang-Chi. Those four movies alone came out within a year of each other and they were all terrible, but he was a hot ticket item writer for the studios.”
Switching to television, he commented, “Now, if we are going to have a little bit less, especially on the television side of thing, where they’re not going to be producing as many shows that has a benefit because it’s getting more into quality over quantity.”
“And on top of that maybe there’s a chance that you guys out there in the audience will actually start seeing other shows that are not being pushed solely by Disney and also some of the other networks. That would be a good thing because there’s probably a lot out there that you haven’t seen yet that might actually be of your fancy. So, it backfired against the woke. That’s great,” he concluded.
Script Doctor did go on to recognize that the new deal will not eradicate all of the woke writers from Hollywood, at least not immediately, “A number of the members of the current WGA board that were expecting this to lead to hiring of those types of hires are disappointed to learn about this. However, they are probably also prominent enough in the industry to get a show here and there. So they will be, of course, hiring that. So you will most likely have those types of shows peppered throughout still for a little bit.”
He continued, “Here’s the other part too, because of the new residual metric, the more money you get comes based on the fact that you have to obtain 20% of the subscriber viewership or more in order for you to make the most amount of money. So if you care about making money as a writer that means you have to make a good show.”
“And you will soon see that certain habits such as the stuff that we can point to Disney doing is not going to be very profitable,” he posited. “And it will be a difficult time for some of those writers that get those opportunities to learn that lesson. And it will be a difficult time for us as an audience being exposed to those shows and then, of course, turning them off and trying to finding something else. And that’s a good thing.”
“It’s basically like their desire to want more money based on those residuals has forced them to basically say, ‘We actually have to do [a] good job now.’ And I think that’s great. So, it looks to me that irony has prevailed in regards to the quality of the work is predicated on the merit of the show and how well that appeals to an audience and gains viewership, ” he shared.
He then declared, “Once I think enough of the industry learns that rule everyone else will start benefiting from it, at least on the entertainment side of things.”
The idea that a number of writers will be out of jobs following the WGA deal was recently claimed by financial analyst Valliant Renegade on his YouTube channel where he stated, “The union bosses of the WGA have declared victory against Hollywood studios; meanwhile, a lot of the rank and file writers, the union members themselves are probably going to be out of work and perhaps even looking for new careers.”
He explained, “So, pretty much as we predicted or as any economics textbook could have predicted of this, if there was going to be an artificial increase in labor costs then there was going to be a necessary offset by way of production costs.”
Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva also reported that a number of her anonymous sources informed her there would be less work for writers.
She wrote, “Accelerated contraction, more competition, reeled-in budgets, fewer overall deals and possibly more cancellations are some of the things industry sources are preparing for.”
One source informed her, “No one is buying. This is the worst marketplace that I have ever experienced.”
An anonymous writer also informed her, “Across the board, what I have heard from buyers is they will be buying less and making less.”
Another anonymous studio executive also stated, “The strike just sped up the inevitable pullback; I suspect everybody will be doing less.”
What do you make of this idea that woke, diversity hires will be weeded out of Hollywood writing rooms?