Behind every epic show or movie, before the casting of famous actors and before the visual effects team starts doing its magic, there is a writer (or a group of them) working on building a world and telling a compelling story. For example, the nail-biting political moves and daring characters of Game of Thrones began as the creation of author George R. R. Martin. It should come as no surprise that he's a big advocate for writers. Since production studios failed to meet writers' demands on fair payment, staffing requirements, and exclusivity deals, the Writers Guild of America has been on strike for over a month now. As screenwriters of all walks of life take to the picket line, the latest one to do so has been Martin himself.
The A Song of Ice and Fire author posted on his website about joining the protest in New Mexico, the sunny state he has called home since 1979. “Last week the Writers Strike reached the Land of Enchantment, with picket lines in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe that shut down a couple of shoots,” he wrote. “The biggest turnout was Friday, when we picketed the Greer Garson Studios for most of the day.”
While the picket lines in Los Angeles and New York are undoubtedly bigger—given that's where most studios and writers are located—Martin points out that New Mexico's local writers share the same goals. “Santa Fe does not have as many WGA members as California, of course, but while we don’t have the numbers, we yield nothing to California when it comes to determination,” he continued.
As if one rockstar fantasy writer wasn't enough, Martin was joined by authors Neil Gaiman and Nnedi Okorafor. Many of Gaiman's works have been adapted into movies and TV shows, like American Gods (now a Starz TV series) and Coraline (adapted by Henry Selick into a critically acclaimed stop-motion animated feature film). As for Okorafor, her Binti trilogy was being adapted into a Hulu production, with her co-writing the script alongside Stacy Osei-Kuffour.
Marching to the calls of “HEY HEY HO HO, CORPORATE GREED HAS TO GO,” and “HEY HEY HO HO, MINI-ROOMS HAVE GOT TO GO,” Martin reports that the Guild is stronger than ever. “A number of productions have been shut down, but so far the AMPTP won’t even come back to the table,” the writer stated. “There’s nothing to do but redouble our efforts. The issues here are too important for anything less.”
In the end, the mastermind behind Game of Thrones pleaded to his fans. “I hope you’re with us. If so, HONK when you see our signs, in LA or SF or anywhere else. And never never ever cross a picket line,” he says. “We’ll be back when you least expect us.”
Author George R. R. Martin, creator of the Game of Thrones universe and member of the Writers Guild of America, joined the picket line in his home city of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
— George RR Martin (@GRRMspeaking) May 29, 2023