The Thursday session took a turn, however, after the sides agreed to take a short break at roughly 5 p.m., according to the people familiar with the talks. The executives and studio labor lawyers had expected guild negotiators to return to discuss points they had been working on earlier. Instead, the guild made additional requests — one being that a return to work by screenwriters be tied to a resolution of the actors’ strike.
The actors’ union, known as SAG-AFTRA, joined writers on picket lines on July 14. Its demands exceed those of the Writers Guild. Among other things, the actors want 2 percent of the total revenue generated by streaming shows, something that studios have said is a nonstarter.
Several hours after talks ended on Thursday night, the guild emailed its membership to say that the sides would meet on Friday.
“Your negotiating committee appreciates all the messages of solidarity and support we have received the last few days, and ask as many of you as possible to come out to the picket lines tomorrow,” the email said.
The guild extended picketing hours on Friday to 2 p.m. Pickets have typically ended at noon.
In Los Angeles, several hundred writers turned up to picket outside the arching Paramount Pictures gate, far more than in recent weeks. The Writers Guild and SAG-AFTRA have been staging themed pickets to keep members engaged, and the theme on Friday happened to be “puppet day,” meaning that, in addition to picket signs, some marchers held felt hand puppets and marionettes. The mood was optimistic.