From Pages to Pickets: The Hollywood Writers Strike


It’s been four months since Hollywood’s writers have been on strike. It makes sense for the issue to be resolved by now, but what’s keeping it going?

When Hollywood’s writers last went on strike in 2007, it lasted 100 days, and the current strike is well over that. On May 2, 2023, at 12:01 a.m., Pacific Time, the Writers’ Guild of America went on strike due to the ongoing labor dispute between production studios represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Despite the sudden announcement of the strike, it wasn’t as sudden as it seemed. Following six weeks of intense negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers, the WGA went on strike, calling this moment an “existential crisis” for writers. Moreover, the conditions for the WGA strike have been brewing for years.

One of the main reasons behind the strike was the demand for higher compensation and residuals—the money writers get paid when their show reruns. During the past decade, these residuals have been sliced in half, proving a significant motivation for the strike. A factor that separates this writer’s strike from the others in the past decades is writers’ concern for their job security as artificial intelligence (AI) continues to grow in its creativity and ability to imitate famous individuals and styles of writing.

Only two months after the WGA went on strike, SAG-AFTRA, the Screen Actors Guild, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists also went on strike, marking this as the first time since 1960 when writers and actors have walked out simultaneously. In 1960, both unions wanted similar things. SAG fought for residuals from films sold to TV networks, while WGA wanted studios to increase their wages and residuals and have studios pay for writers’ health and pension funds. Eventually, both unions got what they fought for after six months. Though SAG-AFTRA only represents American actors, multiple actors from international film industries have spoken up to support their American counterparts. Similarly, on June 14th, British screenwriters gathered in Leicester Square in solidarity with their US colleagues. One would think that the coverage and support for the writers’ and actors’ strikes would quicken the process of studios agreeing with the unions.

To solve the issue, studios have taken a step that experts consider a necessary evil. Hollywood’s big studios are allegedly waiting for writers to run out of money, estimated in October of this year. Essentially, they are waiting for the WGA to “bleed out,” so the writers have no choice but to end the strike.

The economic consequences of the strike have been astronomical. Not only are A-list celebrity actors being affected, but everyday actors and writers are at risk of losing their livelihoods because they chose to fight in the labor dispute. While there are completed scripts and movies, most production coming out of Hollywood has been halted. Talk and sketch shows were the first few to immediately shut down, causing them to replay previous episodes. Some of the most famous projects to be on indefinite hiatus include “Spiderman: Beyond the Spider-Verse” and the second season of the Apple TV+ original “Silo”. Others include the release of future “Avatar” and “Star Wars” movies several Marvel films and Disney Plus shows. The long list of stopped Hollywood productions is miles long.

The few exceptions to this mass pause in production are projects not involved with major studios, like indie films, foreign films, and reality shows. Due to their lack of heavy reliance on directors of large studios and famous writers, these projects have continued during the writers’ strike.

During this crisis, celebrities Jimmy Fallon, Jack Black, Lin Manuel-Miranda, and America Ferrera have sided with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. But the list doesn’t include many of Hollywood’s biggest stars. The reason for their silence has led many people to speculate. With Hollywood on the verge of losing thousands of actors and writers, it is predicted they will soon invest heavily in foreign markets for actors, potentially leading to a conflict of interest for international film industries that have shown their solidarity, which continues to describe the vast impacts of this issue.

It’s been months since the strike began, but writers have been at the picket lines since day one. The effects of the strikes will be present several years into the future as so many projects have been delayed, and, more importantly, the social and financial loss for studios and writers alike will be hard to fix. The relationship between WGA and Hollywood production studios may take a whole generation of workers to resolve and shed the horrors of 2023. Even when the two sides finally agree, it won’t be easy for everything to return to as it was before the strike.

Works Cited

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Katsuda, Keno. “Writers Strike Explained: Why the Writers Guild of America Is Going Against Streamers.” Teen Vogue, 16 May 2023,

McCarthy, John. “From Caterers to Cowboy Outfitters: Writers’ Strike Hits Hollywood Economy.” Virgin Islands Free Press, 30 June 2023,

McCluskey, Megan. “What Happened the Last Time SAG and the WGA Went on Strike Together.” TIME, Time, 14 July 2023,

Patten, Dominic. “Hollywood Studios’ WGA Strike Endgame Is To Let Writers Go Broke Before Resuming Talks In Fall.” Deadline, 11 July 2023,

Scribner, Herb, et al. “Movies, Shows Delayed by the SAG Strike: ‘Spider-Man’ Makes the List.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 29 July 2023,

Selk, Avi. “The Hollywood Strike: Everything We Know and Are Working to Find Out.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 15 July 2023,

Strunck, Clara. “The Hollywood Strikes: Everything You Need to Know.” Harper’s Bazaar, 31 July 2023,

Werner, Erica. “Hollywood Writers Are Still on Strike. Here’s Where WGA, Studios Stand.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 27 Aug. 2023,