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The Existential Crisis at the Heart of the Hollywood Writers’ Strike

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Screenwriting, once a solidly middle-class vocation in Hollywood, has become akin to a kind of gig work. In the past ten years, structural changes in the film and television industries have fundamentally altered the way that writers in Hollywood earn their livelihood. The rise of streaming has modified how TV seasons are aired, how residuals are paid, and the kinds of risks that networks are willing to take on new ideas. Shows hire fewer staff writers, and employ them for less time and less money. The arrival of A.I. has made this tenuous situation even more precarious. Michael Schulman spoke to a number of writers before they went on strike, and joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss the conditions that gave rise to this major labor action—and the spirit of the picket line a little more than a week in.

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