'So Bad, So Depressed, So Scared': the Human Toll of Summer's Strike
As work dries up in every corner of the industry, many feel pushed to the brink, mentally and financially
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“Everyone is bleeding.” That was the recent assessment by an award-winning film and television producer when asked about the collateral damage caused by the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes — and the studios’ refusal to meet their demands — reverberating across the industry. A recent report estimated that the dual strike already has cost the California economy at least $3 billion. And seemingly no one has been spared. Below the line talent. Above the line talent. Lawyers, agents, managers, publicists and vendors. Even creative executives at the most insulated studios and streamers have spent their traditionally carefree months sweating over just how much longer their newly trigger-happy bosses will want to keep paying regular paychecks.
Because frankly, for many, there hasn’t been that much to do.
“It’s like a mutual fucking and both sides just seem to suck right now and the only loser is everyone,” says a top manager at a firm that recently asked its principals to take salary cuts to avoid laying off any assistants or staffers.
“I just don’t see any winners in any of this. Oh yeah, and the consumer? They’re just watching re-runs and getting even more hooked on video games.”
“If I don’t come to picket before I go to my new freaking restaurant job, I’m going to drive my car into a mountain. Otherwise you feel so alone. And that’s what [the studios] want.” - actress Addie Weyrich
The idea that the strike appears to be stretching into the fall is no small matter, both psychically and logistically.