By Nick Bilton, May 9, 2023
When you’re writing a story about an issue that affects a large group of people, whether it’s for a news outlet or a television show, you often pick one person as the anecdotal lead of the tale. That character serves a purpose: to make a specific thesis feel less nebulous and more, dare I say, human.
Right now in Hollywood, there are some 11,500 humans who could be the lead of this particular story. Writers who have spent their careers holed up in writers rooms or coffee shops, figuring out plots and characters and dialogue and stuffing them into 30- or 60-page scripts. But this past week, those same screenwriters have woken up, donned blue T-shirts that say “Writers Guild of America,” grabbed a red-and-black picket sign, and descended on the sidewalks of one of the big Hollywood studios. Then, as gangly palm trees sway nearby and rivers of cars flow along Los Angeles’s concrete canals, these writers have trudged back and forth on the pavements in front of Paramount Studios and CBS and Disney and Netflix—on strike as screenwriters for television shows and movies for the first time in 15 years.