Hollywood Goes on Strike

Writers bargain for higher payouts and data transparency from studios.

Good morning. You may have seen #dupe on TikTok—some creators have made names for themselves by searching the internet high and low for cheaper alternatives to high-end products. But what do the brands being “duped” have to say?

Lululemon is giving out free leggings to anyone who trades in a “dupe” pair. “We saw it as a really fun way to play into something that is a real part of our culture, but in a way that really puts the focus back on the original,” Lulu’s Chief Brand Officer told CNN.

What the Writers’ Strike Means for Creators

Last week, roughly 11,500 television and film writers went on strike for the first time in 15 years, as the Writers Guild of America (WGA) argues that major studios like Netflix and Disney are turning the profession of screenwriting into a “gig economy.”

Context: During the last writers’ strike in 2007–2008, work stopped for 100 days and cost $2.1 billion to California’s economy, according to Vox. And? There wasn’t really a creator industry to speak of (yet).

But today, the lines between creators and traditional media are blurring. So what might this writers’ strike mean for creators?

Some experts have suggested that creators will be insulated from the current strike-induced mayhem in traditional media—and might even reap the benefits of less competition as Hollywood grinds to a halt. “People who want to be entertained have options,” business creator Roberto Blake wrote.

Others are less interested in capitalizing, instead suggesting creators support their entertainment industry peers. Nebula CEO Dave Wiskus tweeted that the WGA is fighting “for the future of how we’re all treated by megacorporation media companies.”

Zoom out: The last strike “hastened online video’s rise to legitimacy,” Tubefilter wrote, as striking writers began to self-publish projects to YouTube and Vimeo. Worth noting—companies including Meta and Snap have recently slashed spending on TV-style programming in favor of working more directly with creators.

Looking ahead: It’s unclear how long the writers’ strike, which is fighting for higher royalties, data transparency for streaming projects, and regulation for AI, will last.

This Week in AI: Creator Brand Deals Get Automated

Alexis Ohanian / Insider

A handful of new tools aim to ease the workload for creators and their audiences. Let’s unpack this week in artificial intelligence for creators.

  • July, a platform that automates brand deals for creators, recently launched in public beta. The Alexis Ohanian-backed company uses AI to match creators with brands and aid in pitching, invoicing, and calculating rates. Creators can start for free, with plans increasing from $10–30/month to access features like AI-powered brand outreach.

  • CreatorKit debuts AI-generated ads for Shopify. Creators can enter their website link, and the tool will use their on-site marketing copy and images to create vertical video that can go on Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok—including new photos, a script, and audio using an AI-generated voice.

  • Google is giving its search engine an AI upgrade, including AI follow-up questions to search queries and integrated TikTok video clips, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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The Yard Goes Big on Merch Drop

The Yard / Twitter

Ludwig Ahgren, Nick “Falco” Vercillo, Anthony “Slime” Bruno, and Aiden “Aimen” McCaig revealed that they spent $250,000 on their latest merch release for their podcast, The Yard.

Details: The drop features fishing gear including a parka, utility shorts, vests, and bucket hat. Fans can also buy a mystery tackle box, which includes a limited run of tees, pins, and stickers. The public release happened Saturday, and most tees and shorts have sold out.

  • FYI: According to McCaig, it can cost up to $110 to make one parka in their line of merchandise, which means the group has to be conservative with order numbers to make sure they don’t lose money on production costs.

Zoom out: The Yard typically gives Patreon supporters first access to their merch. They’re often limited-run and sell out quickly, with some fans resorting to bootleg creations.

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