Editor’s note: As part of Deadline’s ongoing coverage of the WGA strike, we want to give voice to other Hollywood workers who are also impacted by the work stoppage. This column was written by a Los Angeles-based post producer.
I reached out to Deadline to ask them why they haven’t been posting more stories from those of us non-writers affected by the WGA strike. Surprisingly they responded and asked me to let them know how this strike has affected me and my family. I am not affiliated with the AMPTP but have been a post producer in the entertainment industry for 25 years. I am currently working on a show and was supposed to return to work in a few weeks, but sadly, my start date has been delayed indefinitely.
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When I emerged from the Covid pandemic, I was broke (like many), in massive credit card debt (like most), and my credit rating had taken a big hit. I emerged from the shutdown (thankfully healthy), having lost 17 months of employment, but never imagined I would be reliving this same experience again, yet here we are, except this shutdown isn’t due to a rare global virus. For myself and my family, the hardships, like many right now, are financial, but unlike the first pandemic, the mental health effects of this have been much worst. I’m not sleeping; I don’t eat right, and every day is a struggle to try and keep busy and keep my mind off of what bill I can’t pay or how we will make our next mortgage payment. Every morning my spouse wakes at 4:45 am to go to work. The guilt and anxiety are unmeasurable. As I am our family’s primary money earner, the strain this has put on my spouse sickens me.
I know many are going through the same anxiety as I am, so maybe reading this will let them know that, once again, we are all in this together. And by many, I mean those of us who have had no control over our lack of work or current situation. The WGA chose to strike, and I don’t mean to sound callous towards what they are fighting for (they have many fundamental issues that need to be resolved), but they knew the risks and chose to walk anyway. Why, after all the hardship we endured, would they not be willing to extend the deadline as much as possible to get the deal done? This is something I do not understand, yet it was their decision, so here we are. To be clear, I am and will continue to be a supporter of the unions in our industry even though, speaking for myself and those of us in the post producer world, we have no representation.
Make no mistake, if the WGA strike continues and SAG joins them next week, what we all went through last time will be nothing compared to the hardship we will experience this time around. Our government won’t be there to help us with extended benefits or loans. We will be on our own, and our industry as we know and love will be changed forever and not for the good.
Peace to all.
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