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The filmmaker also described the ‘existential dilemma’ faced by writers: ‘No one can survive doing that’.
Judd Apatow thinks studios and streamers already have an idea when the writers’ strike will end.
“I think they already know what they’re going to bend,” Apatow said Variety Saturday at the Rock4EB benefit in Malibu. “I assume they already know what date it’s going to end. They’ve probably been planning this for years.
The writer-director echoed comments heard at pickets in Los Angeles and New York after the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and Writers began a strike on Tuesday. Apatow explained that he sees the strike as a calculated business move by Hollywood’s biggest bosses.
“I always think that whatever happens, they probably figured it out already. When these things end, you never go, ‘I understand why it took so long.’ It’s not something that’s so inventive and amazing that you think, ‘Oh, people had to go to war for months.’ It’s always been a very obvious position,” Apatow said. “So the scary thing is that there is a solution, but all the commercial interests are in getting it quickly. I’m not sure they’re interested.”
He shared that while no projects in production were directly affected by the strike, the strike “affects everything because we are in development on many things, so you have to stop… and then once the strike is over.” , everyone says, ‘Oh, now we have a balance, we don’t need anything’.
“That aspect complicates everything we’re trying to do,” Apatow continued. “We’re not in the middle of anything but writing.”
Apatow says that studios and streamers don’t see writers as essential parts of their end games. “We’re like the employees at Twitter, and if they wanted to save money, they’d lay off 80 percent of their workforce,” he said. “That’s why it’s an existential problem. If there’s no ecosystem of writers, nobody’s going to learn how to do it. Nobody’s going to survive doing it. And then everybody’s going to go, ‘Okay, I’ll write video games, do TikTok at home, and become an influencer.'” There’s a lot of creative people who can do it, so you don’t want the whole system to collapse.
He said the increased portion of the funding the WGA is asking for is not greedy and trying to get rich.
“Now we have a system that doesn’t reward success for many of these projects,” Apatow said. “If you make something and a billion people see it, you’re not going to make more money than it’s a disaster, right? It’s not good for creativity because it takes a lot of motivation out of creative people because people work so hard to create some sort of cushion for their lives. All our work comes to fruition. Successes pay for when things don’t go well. Sometimes they go well, sometimes they don’t, but you can live with the times you’ve written a lot of leftovers. [fees paid out]. It is always a dull business. But if you take away most of the linchpins, it’s a career that the majority of people can’t survive.