Unless you’ve been living under a rock or somewhere in the Midwest you probably have heard about a possible impending writers strike. Here’s the 10 second version: members of the WGA (Writers Guild of America) are negotiating a new contract and will go on strike unless the producers meet their demands for things like fair DVD payments. The producers have countered by pretending to want drastic cuts and crying about how little money they’re making. So there’s a good chance there’s going to be a strike on all television and film work in Los Angeles very soon.
This post isn’t going to be about the nitty gritty of strikes, greed and/or corporate evil. No, this post is about what to do as an actor if there is a strike.
First of all, don’t go book a cruise to Bali just yet. The strike doesn’t have a start date and the contract deadline is still a week away. Also work won’t stop immediately, films that are in production will probably finish up and you might even see a few TV shows finishing the script(s) they have lying around. But even if there is a strike and all work stops there’s plenty of good reasons to be hanging around LA.
In case you’re wondering commercials aren’t covered by the WGA and won’t go on strike. This is good and bad. Good because there will still be commercial auditions and you can still make money doing commercials during the strike. Bad because every other actor who previously was on a series or didn’t do commercials because they made a living doing TV/Film will be out auditioning for commercials too. I’m not saying I’m worried about a little competition but it might get tough out there for people without a really good agent.
In other good news there will not be a mass exodus from LA of all casting directors, agents and managers. They have houses or condos here and will probably want to stick around. This will create the perfect time for you to do workshops (if that’s your thing), industry mixers or if you happen to be involved in a showcase or play it’s a good time to invite these people. Remember when you heard that casting director complain they have no free time in which to see shows? That excuse won’t work if there’s a strike. True, casting directors probably won’t have auditions to bring you in on and agents/managers won’t be signing anyone new during a strike but it’s a great time to meet these people because the strike will end eventually.
And my favorite news of the day: When the strike starts many actors will skip town. One of the main themes of my blog is persistence. The persistent actor doesn’t leave town at every chance they get. They stick around as much as possible knowing how much other actors love to leave. You can’t market yourself well or meet new people if you’re out of town. Agents aren’t going to be leaving if there’s a strike because strikes end very quickly. If the strike starts on Tuesday, they leave Wednesday and the strike ends Thursday they’ll miss out on getting their clients all those meetings for projects that started casting Thursday afternoon. Agents know better than that and so should you.
Hope this gave you a few ideas of things to do if there’s a strike. But knowing my luck I’ll hit “Publish” on this blog post and five minutes later there will be a newsflash of an agreement between the producers and the writers rendering this blog post completely meaningless. But I’ll keep it around anyway, just in case there’s a directors or actors strike in the next year. *shudder*