Execs on Eggshells: 'This Puts Us in a Weird Place'
Already stressed-out, 'I live in a state of... ugh' says one suit, as the strike tests social lives, allegiances and all sense of what to work on
If there’s one word that best describes the relationship between executives and writers today, it’s awkward.
As Hollywood closes out the first month of the WGA strike, executives accustomed to chatting breezily with writers on the phone, over text, and at lunches have found themselves with their feet in their mouths, unsure of what the rules of engagement are with people who, in many cases, aren’t just colleagues but friends. No catch-ups, no call list, no pitch meetings. Nothing. If the strikers intended to grind the town to a halt, then first point goes to the writers.
But in conversations with studio and network executives across the business, the elephant isn’t just in the room. It’s squeezing into every corner of an industry where the personal and professional are intertwined: kids go to school together, social circles overlap and creative partnerships forge close bonds. Even the familiar hustle from agents, who keep the flow of new writers coming, has turned full crickets. Ghosted.
“I think a lot of it is avoiding the topic (of the strike), or saying what you can, and not putting anything in writing, obviously,” says one senior level film executive.