While hundreds of thousands of actors and writers are currently unemployed amid the Hollywood shutdown, those outside the industry may be wondering if there’s anything they can do to help.
Associations representing actors (Screen Actors Guild of America) and writers (Writers Guild of America) are on strike after negotiations with the Alliance of Film and Television Producers (AMPTP) broke down.
Their demands include an increase in base salary and residual streaming, plus assurances that their work will not be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI).
While there’s no magic wand that can immediately fix the key issues facing SAG-AFTRA and the WGA, there are a few things you can do to aid them in their fight for a fair deal.
Should you cancel your streaming subscription?
The first thought that might come to your mind is to unsubscribe from your streaming service. However, it would actually be “more supportive if you did the opposite,” actor Dave Wallace tweeted.
“Neither the Writers Guild nor SAG-AFTRA are calling for a consumer boycott right now,” said WGA board member Adam Conover.
So instead, the best way you can help is by “posting on social media. Promote our message, say you’re on our side.”
Conover added: “Follow our strike rules. “Don’t do the job of a prominent writer or actor. That’s called skinning.”
Can I still go to the movies?
Neil Gaiman answered this question on his Tumblr after someone asked if it was “cross the line” to see Barbie doll in the movie theater.
“Continuing to watch your movies, watch your shows, stream your favorites is one of the best way to support WGA and SAG-AFTRA now,” good sign the author writes. “This content is already done and it makes money. It helps a lot in showing studios the value of the work that writers and actors do.”
Gaiman explained how not going “hurts the writers and actors”, saying: “Studios can say, ‘Actually, Barbie doll earn only $X dollars, Oppenheimer earn $Y dollars, only so many thousands of viewers good omen 2obviously don’t have enough money to go around.’
“Watch what you want to see recklessly,” he encourages.
Can I join the picket line?
You can certainly show your physical support by joining the front lines of ongoing protests.
Los Angeles remains the only city with a regular schedule of Monday through Friday strikes against nine different studios: Warner Bros, Universal Studios, Sunset Gower, Sony, Paramount, Netflix, Fox, Disney and Amazon.
For addresses and times in LA, as well as information for other locations, visit SAG-AFTRA website.
Is there a fund I can donate to?
If you’d like to share your support with money, you can donate to the Recreation Community Foundation, which provides assistance to crew members who are out of work.
How long is the strike expected to last?
There is no definitive answer on when the actors’ strike might end, but union members are preparing for the “long haul,” according to the SAG president and Nanny star Fran Drescher.
“Right now, we’re already discussing the cost if it goes in six months, so we’re looking for the long haul,” Drescher said at a press conference on Thursday (July 13), when SAG-AFTRA approved the strike.
“The weight of a commitment like this doesn’t affect any of us. That is the main specialty. But we also find that we have no future and no livelihood unless we take this action, unfortunately.”