This article is about the 2023 WGA strike and SAG-AFTRA strike.
If at any point in your life, you have ever said to yourself or someone else, “Hollywood just doesn’t do anything new.”; or ever walked out of a theater (or leaned back from your computer) thinking, “Wow, that sucked.”; or if you’re just kind of tired of the MCU being The MCUTM —
A bad workplace will produce bad work, and a good workplace will produce good work. Here’s how you can do something to make Hollywood studios serve all of us better, workers and consumers alike.
Still Time to Help Out
We’re over 130 days into the writers’ strike and 60 days into the actors’ strike, but neither are likely to end soon. The studios only begrudgingly agreed, after 101 days, to finally reopen contract negotiations with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) on August 11; and given how spectacularly those broke down, the re-reopening of negotiations this week may very well also fail. (Not to mention, SAG-AFTRA may go on strike against several video game companies soon, too, over the needs of video game actors.)
Although, most viewers don’t care about the delays that might result. 67% of voters support the strikes; and of those, 86% (that’s 58% overall) say that even if there are delays in movies and TV shows, they’ll continue to support the strikes. In fact, it’s likely that the studios agreed to reopen negotiations at least partly because public opinion has been so firmly on the side of the strikes.
Which is to say: SUPPORT MATTERS!
How to Support the Hollywood Strike
Whether it’s bringing water to picket lines during the hottest year on record, making a donation, buying WGA and SAG-AFTRA merch (all profits go to supporting entertainment industry workers), or even just by posting on social media. Here are the DOs and DON’Ts.
|Help the Lines|
This can mean joining the picket lines; but it can also mean helping bring striking writers and actors things like water, coffee, and even soft-serve ice cream!
Check out some other ways you can help out using this semi-official (and regularly updated) guide. (I know it says PreWGA; but don’t let that stop you — anyone can help out, and everyone who wants to is welcome on the line.)
In addition to the unions’ merch, donating to the Entertainment Community Fund is one of the key ways to help Hollywood workers. SAG-AFTRA’s website also has a list of ways to donate money to help their union.
If you’ve got social media, post about the strike. The WGA and SAG-AFTRA have even put up social media toolkits for precisely this purpose! And, if you want to get creative, maybe there’s a picket line in your neighborhood — go talk to the folks there, taking pictures and videos, to show the local color and uniqueness of a nationwide strike.
If you write for a blog, or for a site like Strangely Awesome, write about the strike! Use resources like this one to help you draw up your own list of DOs and DON’Ts for your readers.
|Boycott (as an individual)|
Boycotts are great, don’t get me wrong. But as the likes of (WGA member) Neil Gaiman and (WGA board member) Adam Conover have made clear, studios will weaponize falling viewership to justify underpaying writers and actors. So no need to sleep on Ahsoka.
(An organized, publicly announced, collective boycott in solidarity with the Hollywood strike — that would be a different matter.)
a.k.a. strike-breaking, scabbing means doing any work for the struck Hollywood studios (the ones represented by the AMPTP) that would normally be done by members of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA. Specifics on what kinds of work that entails can be found here and here.
If you ever intend to be a member of the WGA or SAG-AFTRA in the future, DO NOT SCAB! WGA and SAG-AFTRA are paying attention, keeping a keen eye out for anyone who breaks the strike. This goes for if you’re looking at a career outside of Hollywood, too — the unions cover workplaces in other industries, such as video game development.
I’ve been in the position of being desperate for a paying job; and also of wanting to take any chance I could get to break into an industry like Hollywood. But it’s not worth betraying the people you’ll be working side-by-side with — and quite possibly picketing side-by-side with someday.