Sep 6 • 52M

Myth of the Hollywood Dream Job

Labor author Sarah Jaffe on what strikers should understand about the studio system: 'To associate it with greed is to be too personal about it'

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Elaine Low
Listen in as The Ankler team and industry insiders break down Hollywood’s latest business headlines, power struggles and trends shaping the future of entertainment.
Episode details
Sarah Jaffe. (credit: Channel 4 News/ YouTube)


Labor contagion keeps spreading as union actions across the country catch fire. That's no coincidence, says labor journalist and Work Won’t Love You Back author Sarah Jaffe, who joins Elaine Low to discuss what disparate industries, from teaching to health care to Hollywood, have in common, but also what’s unique to creative people in entertainment and the arts (“you are accustomed to begging for your job and being grateful”).

Jaffe also asserts that personal animus by picketers towards the CEOs is misplaced, explaining that the business model of the industry (or really any) isn’t created to be fair. “It's designed to make money and accumulate at the top because that's how the system works,” she says. “It's not like the studio heads are personally mad at Fran Drescher. It's not like they've decided, ‘we are just going to squash these hopeful kids who move here to try to be actors.’”

“To associate it even with greed is often to be too personal about it,” she continues. “It's a system that is designed to make money. It's not a system that's designed to make most people happy. That's just been true of capitalism since its founding.”

Jaffe also discusses the “dead labor” of A.I. (17:43), the “Fordist compromise” (think auto assembly lines) and how it relates to entertainment (31:35), what we learn from Sofia Coppola and Cillian Murphy (20:20), and The Devil Wears Prada as labor protest (3:13).

Transcript here.

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