WGA Strike: Post pros weigh in on the impact to their business
With the Writers Guild of America now on strike for the second week over payment disputes relating to streaming content, as well as the potential for AI technology to create content based on the analysis of existing scripts, we surveyed production and post professional as to how their businesses are being disrupted.
Alkemy X is a creative studio with locations in the US (Philadelphia, New York City, Los Angeles), as well as in Vancouver and Amsterdam. Their work spans entertainment and advertising, and according to president & CEO Justin Wineburgh (pictured, left), they don’t anticipate any major impact to the studio’s business for the next 90 to 120 days.
“We expect to continue working on the projects already in our pipeline, without interruption,” states Wineburgh. “The immediate impact that we are seeing from the WGA strike is something that most of our company is navigating and, for certain, our visual effects department is working through in realtime as it relates to our episodic projects. While initially concerned that there could be a breakdown in the approval process (i.e., given that some showrunners are also writers), that has not materialized thus far and the creative process to get shots approved and finalized has not been impacted. As we continue to work through this strike, I am cautiously optimistic that the inherent uncertainty around related issues will remain irrelevant and of no moment.”
The impact to Alkemy X’s commercial division remains to be seen.
“Those projects have a larger timeline and, if the strike is not resolved in reasonably short order, there will not be new broadcast content,” Wineburgh continues. “As a result, advertisers may pull back on broadcast advertising media buys and look towards alternative digital distribution channels, which would certainly impact our commercial division.”
At this time, Wineburgh says the company is closely reviewing its own library of developed, still as-of-yet unproduced, unscripted content, and evaluating the viability of further development and potential distribution options for those projects.
“The strike in 1998 spurred the boon of unscripted programming, with the wild success Cops, and the 2007 strike saw a significant uptick in reality fare as well, launching such enduring franchises as The Amazing Race, Big Brother and countless others.”
As both a CEO and lawyer, Wineburgh says he is extremely sympathetic to fair wages and working conditions, while also understanding the prerogatives of corporations as businesses for profit.
“Right now, it’s essential for all parties to look at how to establish appropriate working conditions for these extremely-talented individuals, while still adjusting to the business landscape spurred by the streaming boom and the pandemic.”