The entertainment industry is currently facing an unprecedented event as two influential unions, SAG-AFTRA and WGA-AFTRA, have simultaneously gone on strike. This joint strike, a first in 60 years, holds significant implications for the industry, causing disruptions in film and television production and demanding attention from all creatives involved.
In this article, we provide a comprehensive guide to help filmmakers, actors, writers, and other industry professionals navigate the strike, stay prepared, and maintain organization during this challenging period.
Fran Drescher, president of Sag-Aftra, and Meredith Stiehm, president of the WAG-Aftra West, pose at a rally
Photograph: Chris Pizzello/The Associated Press
THE STRIKE AND ITS EFFECT
Stay Informed: To effectively navigate the strike, it is crucial to stay informed about the latest developments. Regularly follow reputable news sources, official union communications, and social media channels to keep yourself updated on the progress of negotiations, key issues, and potential resolutions. Being well-informed will enable you to make informed decisions and understand the impact on your work.
Understand the Union's Position: Take the time to familiarize yourself with the demands and concerns raised by SAG-AFTRA and WGA-AFTRA. Understanding their collective goals and the issues at stake will help you align yourself with the union's position and contribute to the solidarity of fellow creatives. This understanding will also empower you to engage in meaningful discussions and advocacy.
"The Writers Guild of America (WGA) is requesting several changes, including higher minimum pay across various media platforms, enhanced residual payments, fair compensation for TV series writing throughout the production process, greater contributions to pension and health plans, reinforcement of professional standards, and overall improvements in safeguards for writers."
Likewise for the Screen Actors Guild with their demands, have similarly put their foot down over certain provisions they believe will be the corner stone of their proposal. SAG-AFTRA members, including actors, are advocating for improved wages, working conditions, and contracts that address the use of artificial intelligence. The declining compensation, particularly regarding residuals, is a significant issue for the union, and with the rise of AI technologies the fear of paying actors for one days worth of work to then utilize their likeness in perpetuity, has created an atmosphere of misaligned ideals and goals.
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Communicate with Your Union: If you are a member of SAG-AFTRA or WGA-AFTRA, maintain open lines of communication with your union representatives. Attend meetings, workshops, and events organized by your union to gain valuable insights, receive guidance, and have your questions answered. Utilize the resources and support available to you through your union.
Find more about the resources you have for SAG-AFTRA and WAG-AFTRA below:
Assess Your Financial Situation: Strikes can have financial implications, especially if your work is directly affected. Evaluate your financial situation and create a budget that considers a potential loss of income during the strike. Set aside emergency funds, if possible, to help cover expenses during this challenging period. Explore alternative income streams or freelance opportunities outside the strike-affected projects to mitigate financial hardships.
Recently, "leaks" have been making the rounds on social media indicating that studio execs may be playing the long game with the WGA strike, noting that they may stick it out until those striking begin losing their houses, and livelihood. But this may just be speculation as most leaks are not confirmed. Find more information about this below.
Network and Collaborate: Reach out and connect with other creatives who may be similarly impacted by the strike. Share information, experiences, and resources to support each other during this challenging time. Consider collaborating on independent projects or exploring alternative avenues for creative work.
By staying connected and collaborating, you can maintain momentum and productivity during the strike. On top of that you will be creating your own network independent of any studio influence. Sure it may not feel the same but when all else fails go back to basics. Making the art for the love of it. This will allow you to draw out those anxieties and move them into a creative medium, while you stand up against the powers that be during the strike.
Writers and their supporters walk the picket line at Netflix in Hollywood on Wednesday, June 14, 2023 during the seventh week of the Writers Guild of America strike. (Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)
Plan for Professional Development: Use the strike period as an opportunity to invest in your professional development. Consider attending workshops, seminars, or online courses relevant to your craft. Enhancing your skills and knowledge during this time will not only help you grow as a professional but also position you for career advancement once the strike is resolved.
Stay Engaged in Industry Discussions: Participate in industry conversations and discussions through online forums, social media groups, or industry-specific events. By staying engaged, you can stay abreast of the latest industry trends, developments, and potential opportunities. This engagement will help you stay connected and prepared to re-engage once the strike is over.
WE STAND WITH THE CREATIVES
At this pivotal moment, after six decades, we find ourselves on the brink of a transformative era in filmmaking, one that encompasses a new breed of filmmakers and creative minds across various disciplines. The current landscape is witnessing a remarkable surge in creative technology, presenting us with a unique chance to revolutionize the traditional paradigm of the entertainment industry, placing the creative process at the forefront rather than hindering it. In full support of the ongoing strikes by SAG and WGA, we envision a future where those responsible for bringing art to life are duly recognized, honored, and compensated in accordance with the rightful demands they have put forth.
While the joint strike by SAG-AFTRA and WGA-AFTRA presents challenges for the entertainment industry, it also offers opportunities for unity and growth among creatives. By staying informed, understanding the union's position, communicating with your union, assessing your finances, networking and collaborating, planning for professional development, and staying engaged in industry discussions, you can navigate this strike period with preparedness and organization.
Together, let us support one another and strive for a stronger, more equitable industry.