What does the Writers Guild Strike Authorization Vote Mean for you?
The WGA just approved a strike authorization vote with 97.9% of their members voting yes. This means guild members are giving the "okay" to strike if the studios don't offer them the fair contract they are asking for in this negotiation cycle. The current WGA contract is up on May 1st and if the WGA feel negotiations are going somewhere, the studios still have time to continue negotiations. If they do not, they will call for a strike.
What does this mean for you as someone who is just starting their career?
Well, it means there is a slowdown in work. In anticipation of the strike, studios stopped greenlighting projects to start up before May 1st. With fewer projects shooting right now, it means productions are taking on fewer inexperienced PAs, simply because there are so many experienced PAs available.
The reality is, no one knows if there is going to be a strike until May 1st. If there is a strike, projects that are already in production will continue to shoot and movies and tv shows - that have completed scripts - can continue to shoot, as long as the script does not require any rewrites. So the industry will not be completely dead, but it will be very slow for some time.
These things happen in cycles though (4 years ago the WGA went on strike with the major talent agencies) and the industry will soon kick start back to life, hopefully with a better contract for our WGA friends.
In the meantime, if you aren’t getting set work - don’t get discouraged. If you want to stay ready for when the industry reignites, then keep in touch with your network. Grab a coffee, organize lunches or drinks. Just stay in touch. Now would be a good time to write that script you’ve been meaning to write, or shoot that short you and your friends have been talking about.
Of course, we know you also need to make money to live. People who have been in the industry for years have told me that during the last strike, they took jobs as baristas and bartenders. Sometimes you just do what you need to in order to get by and that’s okay. But keep that in mind to always try and have a “rainy day fund”.
If you are interested in the strike action and want to learn more about the guilds and associations in the film industry, here’s some further reading:
Would you like to share your set stories, write reviews or blog about your journey into the industry? MFJF would love to hear from you!