This current model is unsustainable and unethical, and serious changes need to be made. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos said following a recent visit to South Korea, “It’s important for us to stay competitive and promote a healthy ecosystem, and if success of a show, we make sure that the creators are properly compensated in the next season.” That’s a nice statement, but it certainly doesn’t help anyone working on the First of all season — and given Netflix’s penchant for canceling projects with reckless abandon, Sarandos’ words offer little comfort.
If there’s a silver lining to be found, it’s that Netflix has delivered on its word when it comes to Hwang Dong-hyuk, and all signs point to a lucrative deal for ‘Squid Game’ season 2. However, as the LA Times pointed out, the filmmaker is also a strong supporter of a bill that would legally impose residuals on film and television creators. “I ask you to look beyond the short term and approach this as a step towards nurturing the whole ecosystem,” Hwang said in recorded video handed over to the National Assembly. “For there to be the next ‘Squid Game’ or the next ‘Parasite’, creators’ livelihoods must be secured.”
And it’s not exclusive to international productions either. Every day, striking WGA members share horror stories on social media of how studios are using loopholes to deny fair payment. For example, Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson, the creators of Showtime’s “Yellowjackets” received a production fee of $40,000 shared between the two for 8 months of driver development work. After taking into account commissions (agents, lawyers, etc.) and taxes, their net total amounted to less than the minimum wage.
The industry is at a crossroads, and unless the wealth grabbers at the top are held accountable, we will all be forced to take the path of destruction.