Hollywood is on strike.
The Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) voted on July 13 to approve a strike, joining the Writers Guild of America (WGA), which has been on strike since May 2. Both negotiate their contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
What both SAG-AFTRA and the WGA want is similar, largely driven by technology and changes in distribution. With less work on each job — due to shorter TV season length — and larger gaps between jobs, it’s harder for actors and writers to make a steady living. Compensation hasn’t kept pace with the shift or with corporate revenue and executive compensation, and the guilds are asking for a raise.
There’s also a looming concern over the role of AI in Hollywood. That’s not just some buzzy tech idea. It’s a threat to working actors’ and writers’ livelihoods, and one that could in the end be a much bigger problem than everyone may anticipate.
The lengthy strikes have had profound economic consequences. As of August, the strikes have cost California’s economy an estimated $3 billion. This also has significant ramifications for the thousands of workers and businesses who depend on the entertainment industry.
The AMPTP and the WGA announced that they were planning to resume talks on Wednesday, September 20. Should the writers and the studios reach an agreement, the strikes could potentially end.
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