The screenwriters’ strike is already a reality in Hollywood. The Screenwriters Guild of America (WGA) has begun, as of May 1, a strike calling for a stoppage of all screenwriting and scriptwriting activities for audiovisual products. In this way, the writers seek to fight for better conditions in the industry.
The main reason for this strike is the salary of screenwriters. Despite the fact that, in the last decade, series budgets have increased by up to 50%, writers’ salaries have fallen by an average of 4%. If we add to this the fact that they work more hours than ever and that the new era of series means that fewer and fewer scriptwriters have work -there are fewer chapters and fewer seasons-, the situation gets worse.
Another big request from screenwriters is that they should be correctly paid royalties, since the opacity of platforms such as Netflix or HBO Max means that they do not know how many people watch a series, movie or program, and that ends up having repercussions in that they do not earn the royalties due to them.
But one of the most conflictive points of the screenwriters in this struggle has to do not even with their conditions, but with a danger that can arrive at any time: Artificial Intelligence. The WGA has asked the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the producers’ association that organizes these deals, to prohibit the use of AI in any part of the writing process. And, so far, the alliance has refused.
Is ChatGPT a threat to writers?
We have been warning for some months now about the danger that Artificial Intelligence can bring to many jobs. While it is a unique opportunity to grow as a society, it is also generating many conflicts, especially in artistic disciplines.
Images generated by AIs such as Midjourney, Dall-E or Stable Diffusion have already provoked complaints from illustrators and cartoonists around the globe. The main problem they accuse these tools of is plagiarism, and it is also harming the work of many artists who have lost the opportunity to create posters or even comics because of their own stroke.
In the case of writing, it’s three quarters of the same. ChatGPT is a tool that more and more people are integrating, and while most people use it for mundane tasks like making a grocery list or writing an email, there are already many who are taking advantage of it in the workplace.
From AI-written storytelling to creating election programs, everything can be done through ChatGPT and similar chatbots. Of course, scripts can also be made, and although their quality is not yet up to Hollywood standards, producers are what they are… and it wouldn’t be surprising if they want to use this free labor rather than spend money on expert scriptwriters.
Can ChatGPT write a good script?
But is ChatGPT ready to carry out a script for a series or movie? It’s something that has even been tested in an episode of South Park, and it certainly may be a trend for the future. But we did the test three months ago… and we have our own conclusions.
- ChatGPT, obviously, pulls from clichés. After running our analysis through three AI-generated synopses, we realized that ChatGPT is nothing more than an umbrella of clichés and clichés that are repeated over and over again in stories. This causes its movie ideas to be rather childish and generally Manichean.
- ChatGPT is not able to go deep. Although OpenAI’s tool is able to create a script structure and elaborate a premise, it fails to delve into details and characters. Perhaps, lacking the necessary human awareness behind a story, it struggles the most.
- ChatGPT doesn’t know what subtext is. Dialogues are one of the weakest points of the AI. It may be clear what the characters should say, but they don’t have the foggiest idea how they should say it. The hidden intentions, the hidden emotions, the metaphors… everything that really generates a good script is what the AI doesn’t have.
Beyond that, we could analyze many more beginner – or robot – AI mistakes, but what is clear is that it is not yet ready to make even an Elite script. And, from what we know about the future of chatbots, it doesn’t look like much is going to change anytime soon.
However, knowing the studios, always under the umbrella of big companies, it is clear that the WGA is right to protect itself. Art is the only thing we have to differentiate ourselves from machines… no matter how hard they try.
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