As of yesterday the Writer’s Guild of America (the people who write your favorite TV shows and movies) have gone on strike. USA Today explains:

“Hollywood writers have left their keyboards behind.

At 12:01am Tuesday, the Writers Guild of America, the union representing most of Hollywood’s scribes behind your favorite TV shows and films, went on strike. The board of directors for the WGA, which includes both a West and an East branch, voted unanimously to strike after talks between the guild and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which bargains on behalf of the nine largest studios, failed to reach a contract. Writers, they said, are facing an “existential crisis.”

If it feels like a TV repeat, that’s because it’s all happened before. For 100 days in 2007 and 2008, writers went on strike, bringing the entertainment industry to a halt. Now those behind everything from network series like CBS’s “NCIS” to Marvel movies to streaming series including Netflix’s “Stranger Things” will hit the picket lines for the first time in 15 years.”

And this from Vanity Fair: Chris Keyser, showrunner for the HBO Max series Julia, acknowledged that the entertainment industry is in a tumultuous transition amid a tough economic climate, all of which has complicated matters for the studios. “Here’s the thing: We made them a hundred billion over the last five years,” he said. “They paid us very little of that, and every time we asked for some more, they said they couldn’t afford it. As I said to the committee some time ago, the problem is not only are they crying wolf. Wolf is the only thing they cry all the time.”

I don’t blame the writers a single bit for this. They are regularly screwed over when it comes to payment for movie and TV work and that screwing just got harder and even more lubeless with streaming. As Central Park showrunner Sanjay Shah said, “I’ve been hearing, especially from younger writers, that they feel like these are gig jobs now. When I started, you could live a pretty good middle-class life on one show a year. That’s gone.” I would also not be surprised to see studios start to approach indie authors and other non-WGA writers to see if they’re willing to cross a picket line.

Much as I would love some money right now, I wouldn’t do that. The only way any large entity, be it a studio or corporation or what have you, will ever start paying people what they deserve is if those people band together with all their colleagues and stand as one. So donate to the WGA members if you can spare a couple of bucks and plan on finding something else to do if your favorite show goes dark during the strike—say, read a book.