AMPTP’s Return to the Table Has Writers ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ : ‘Their Strategy Didn’t Work Out’

“I’m not worried that we will compromise. I think people are still ready to be out here as long as it takes,” WGA captain Emma Soren says

Members and supporters of SAG-AFTRA and WGA walk the picket line at Sony Pictures Studios on July 21, 2023 in Culver City, California
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As Hollywood’s major studios and the Writers Guild of America prepare to reopen negotiations after almost 100 days of the WGA strike, many picketers find themselves hopeful to some degree.

“We think it’s good. We’re out here, we’re putting pressure on these companies. I think their strategy didn’t work out,” WGA captain Noah Schechter told TheWrap Wednesday while picketing at Sony Studios. “I think they thought SAG was gonna make a bad deal for their members then they’d be able to put more pressure on us. So I think they’re realizing they’ve got two unions with a lot of strength, a lot of solidarity, and hopefully we can find a compromise, a negotiation that will make this business sustainable for writers and help the studios do what they do best which is entertainment.”

Schechter, who formerly worked in biotech, shouted out the community organizing of the WGA since the early days of May when the strike began.

“I think the only thing worse than being out of work would be being out of work alone. Getting to come here every day has been helpful,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of friends on the line, met a lot of writers, shared a lot of ideas. I’ve learned a lot about the business, about why we’re out here, what these changes that we need will do for people. I’m tired, but I feel like I love my union a little bit more most days.”

Other writers approach the news with caution, knowing that past strikes have not led to solid negotiations in the first round of protests.

“I’m optimistic. It’s good that they finally reached out, but I’m also cautiously optimistic, knowing from past strikes that it still takes a while after you first go back to the table, but we’re gonna be out here as long as it takes,” WGA captain Emma Soren said. “Just looking at how many people are here today. Yeah, and every day. I’m not worried that we will compromise. I think people are still ready to be out here as long as it takes.”

Soren, a writer on Hulu’s “Koala Man,” emphasized similar thoughts to Schechter’s about the studios’ “strategy” to wait out the drought of writers signing deals and working.

“I think one thing that the AMPTP and the studios vastly underestimated was how they have already created an environment [containing] all the issues that we proposed solutions to,” Soren said. “They’ve created this environment where when you only work a 20-week room once a year because it’s 10 episodes or whatever instead of how it used to be where you would work consistently eight months a year — we were prepared for this. Everyone’s already used to not working a majority of the year, which is not how it should be. Everyone is already used to having to budget their money so it goes further right for allowing bouts of unemployment. I think they didn’t realize how prepared we were in that respect. And we are prepared because they made it that way.”