Early in the morning of May 6, Hollywood’s two biggest unions went on strike, and the industry braces itself for a potentially long struggle between its writers and the multi-billion dollar streaming companies that employ them.
At issue is how much writers should be paid for their work, what rights they have to a piece of the profits from streaming services, and whether producers will have the power to determine the direction of their work.
Stephen Colbert’s “The Late Show” has been just one to weigh in on the drama. “This is a battle that not just writers, but the entire entertainment industry should be paying attention to,” Colbert said earlier this week. “Streaming services, which pay billions for content, have become their own producers, creating a massive power imbalance. Writers need to protect their rights to the projects they create and be paid what they are worth.”
Showstopper! Strikes Plunge Hollywood Into Chaos With Pricey Movie Delays, Pay Battles and A.I. Anxiety https://t.co/KjsEukUw2R
— Variety (@Variety) July 19, 2023
But another, less-known comedian has taken the conversation in an unexpected direction. Tim Dillon, a rising star in podcasting, has used his shows to explore both sides of the debate.
In a recent episode, Dillon astutely pointed out the potential pitfalls of A.I., artificial intelligence, and its impact on actors and writers.
“Hollywood and the machine is gonna shrink now. It has to. There’s 600 shows. Nobody’s watching a lot of them,” he said. “It’s not sustainable. YouTube channels deliver the kind of content consumers crave. For less.”
But his most eye-opening moments came when he discussed Hollywood’s shift to being so-called ‘woke’.
“You can’t keep ruining everything with this crap where you’re hiring people based on race, sexuality, and gender and not level of talent,” he said. “I’m not saying you can’t find both, but if you’re gonna do this thing where you remake movies so that they’re morality tales where people are gonna learn lessons, [audiences are] just f***ing not gonna watch them. They’re not gonna care.”
Dillon is by no means the only commentator taking on the industry’s chosen direction. But the comedian does offer up a unique perspective, one that trims away the linguistic fat from most news reports on the topic. He’s also unmasked the power imbalance that has been allowed to grow, one that makes people “put up with whatever they want to do.” It’s safe to say the industry would be wise to take note of his commentary.
Snow White and The Seven Figure Loss pic.twitter.com/papm2ZZsYC
— Chrissie Mayr🇺🇸 (@ChrissieMayr) July 14, 2023