1 min read

Season 4, Episode 173

Writers fighting for their fair share now have to worry about AI work



Guest Name:

Lisa Takeuchi Cullen

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Vice President of the Writers Guild of America East, Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to talk about the ongoing writers’ strike. Cullen also talked about the energy and support for the strike and what a fair, modern contract win involving artificial intelligence would look like and the impact it would have on the entertainment industry.

Cullen found her way into TV and Filmmaking by accident after serving as an international correspondent early in her career. She considered herself only skillful in writing, so after choosing to leave the world of print journalism, she took time to develop a new craft as a script writer. Early on, she wrote a pilot that was purchased and made by CBS. Afterward, she joined a group of writers who get to pitch and write shows for a living. Cullen said she considers herself considerably fortunate to have found this new career.

Each show written served as a year’s wage with a season’s work, and she would receive amazing pay for writing an episode and having it aired. Unfortunately, with the advent of streaming services, the yearly wage for a season and paychecks for residuals went away, creating the need for the current strike. The studios broke the work model that was successful and paying everyone their fair share, but the new model they are using is trying to cut out the writers and not pay them enough to pay rent, Cullen said. The writers on strike are seeking their fair share of profits from their creations being aired on streaming services. Cullen also described the current status of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

There is more solidarity between the WGA and SAG-AFTRA now than ever before, Cullen said. One reason for their solidarity comes from their joint fight against the adaptation of AI-produced entertainment. Cullen described the work they are fighting against with artificial intelligence productions. Writers are seeking guard rails around the work produced by AI, such as using humans in AI script developments. Not only is the work produced considered plagiarism, it will also produce work that lacks diversity and will not reflect the change and inclusion that has occurred in recent years.

To hear more from Cullen and WGA East, please press play above.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

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