Creatives in general (and writers in particular) tend to look to the past for inspiration. In screenwriting, the movies and/or shows that made us fall in love tend to be reflected in what we try to recreate. If we want to stand on the shoulders of giants, first we feel the need to chase the giants. But these giants grew giant in a different world than the present one. And the current world is one in which the only thing we can count on is that tomorrow will be radically different from yesterday.

Yet most of the writers I encounter are still trying to implement the tools of the past. The same pitching strategies. The same schemes. The same long odds where repeated rejections are baked in. Like playing yesterday’s lottery numbers because a tiny number of winning tickets were sold.

So let’s look at the present and future.

On September 27, 2023 the WGA strike ended. The agreed-upon contract expires on May 1, 2026. This week, it was announced that Emmy-winning show THE BEAR was quietly renewed for season 4 to be shot back-to-back with season 3. I am a fan of the show, and as a fan I’m thrilled. Lots of factors go into such a decision to expand during a time of contraction. But certainly one of the reasons is an awareness that come 2026, there will likely be another strike.

The issues from 2023’s strike are going to be even more divisive:

  • Residual payments in streaming will still be an issue for writers.
  • Staff minimums will remain a point of contention for producers.
  • AI isn’t going anywhere. It gets stronger and better every single day.

Both sides will be even more entrenched.

And the producers are going to be ready for a long work stoppage.

They can see it coming, and they are showing us what they think is going to happen. By preparing for it, they are self-fulfilling that prophecy. They are getting ready now. Are you?

If producers are already making decisions to be ready for 2026, why are you creating like it’s 2016? Writing scripts on spec that require a huge budget and lots of risk on the part of producers? Chasing your passion project? These are strategies that worked in a business model that is fading, and will be obsolete when the WGA contract is up. This isn’t way off in the future. This is within the window of production for a script that gets sold TODAY.

If you are looking to get produced, time to think like it’s 2026. There are a lot of exciting opportunities to be amazing right now – and literally only your fear stands in your way.

Let’s talk about what the future is going to look like for screenwriters. I will be hosting a LIVE, FREE Lunchtime Chat about this on Zoom. Wednesday, 27 March at 1pm. Go to https://north7.link/LunchtimeChat to sign up. I look forward to hearing your thoughts as we move into this exciting future together!