WGA strike causes industry-wide economic fallout as shows such as 'Stranger Things' halt production

Sophie Flay Image
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
WGA strike causes industry-wide economic fallout with no end in sight
"Stranger Things" and other Hollywood shows halt production as WGA strike enters second week, leaving actors and contractors out of work.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As Hollywood prepares for its second week of the Writers Guild of America strike, the effects are beginning to be felt for all who work in the industry.

Writer-producers are being told their overall agreements are being suspended, actors are being told their shows are canceled and third-party companies who aid in production are feeling a major slowdown in business.

The fallout all comes as there are no planned meetings between the writers and Hollywood studios.

The strike is layered with concerns, including better pay, streaming residuals, mandatory staffing and safeguards against artificial intelligence. Last week, writers picketed outside at least 10 Hollywood studios, and the same can be expected for this week.

One of the hardest hit workers in the industry by the strike are actors, who are left powerless as production for shows and movies comes to a halt.

Eyewitness News stopped by a popular coffee shop among industry workers to see how they are doing.

"I was scheduled for a Netflix show, and then it actually got canceled," said Nelson Hill, an actor.

Another actor, Jensen Wysocki, said she was not financially ready for the strike.

WGA enters second week; picketing set to continue

"No. Not even a little bit," she said.

Sunday's live broadcast of the MTV Movie and TV awards was canceled after host Drew Barrymore pulled out due to the strike, and instead a pre-taped show aired.

"White Lotus" actress Jennifer Coolidge spent her taped acceptance speech to voice her support for the striking writers.

"I stand here before you tonight side by side with my sisters and brothers from the WGA fighting for the rights of artists everywhere," she said.

Over the weekend, the creators of Netflix's "Stranger Things" said that production of their wildly popular show is being paused due to the strike as well.

"Writing does not stop when filming begins. While we're excited to start production with our amazing cast and crew, it is not possible during this strike. We hope a fair deal is reached soon so we can all get back to work. Until then -- over and out," the Duffer brothers tweeted through the @strangerwriters account.

And, rental companies that rely on production for work are feeling the impact too.

"I want to say the quantity of jobs during the week are down about 30 to 40%," said Bryan Godwin, owner of Wooden Nickel Lighting Inc.

Godwin said the rules of the strike create a lot of red tape for companies like his, but he is willing to deal with some slow days to support the writers.

He is even offering a promotion for those on the picket lines.

"Send us a picture of you or any of your crew members that are on the strike lines, holding a sign. I'm going to give you a 10% discount up to $100," Godwin said.

Despite the shutdowns due to the strike, some writers will do non-writer duties for their shows, such as promotions and attending events. But most writers decided Saturday that they will not do those tasks either after studios sent out a memo saying they would be required to do so.

And, as for writing, that will remain in a complete halt for the foreseeable future.

Picketing will continue on Monday in front of the major Hollywood studios from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.