Over 170,000 combined members of Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) & Writers Guild of America (WGA) are currently on strike for the first time in 60 years. Next to no progress has been made since talks about pay, working conditions, and safeguarding jobs from ever-advancing A.I began in May, leaving negotiations at a stalemate.
What effect are the strikes having?
On August 11th, after 102 days on strike, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) who represent Hollywood’s leading studios released a summary of their proposals to the media & public. In response, the WGA issued a letter to members expressing disappointment and frustration toward the “single and only counteroffer” they received, stating:
“We explained all the ways in which their counter’s limitations and loopholes and omissions failed to sufficiently protect writers from the existential threats that caused us to strike in the first place.”
Productions in the U.S have seen the immediate and most severe effects. However, Hollywood’s global reach means ripples are being felt worldwide. Due to involved trade unions being American organisations, only productions funded by U.S studios, that also include union members are being effected. This has led to productions being halted both temporarily and indefinitely, writers rooms being shuttered, and release dates for highly anticipated titles such as Dune: Part 2 shifting into 2024. Demonstrating how long the effects of these strikes will be seen.
Even countries like the UK, which has seen huge industry growth in recent years, are not immune. Still recovering from economic issues such as Covid-19 and Brexit, whilst also being in the midst of a cost of living crisis. The fallout of the strikes is placing a huge strain on the UK workforce. A number of large scale US productions such as Deadpool 3, Wicked!, and How To Train Your Dragon are currently filming in the country, and are said to be impacted.
Finding opportunities during uncertain times:
In times like this, one of the best ways to prepare yourself for similar situations that may arise in the future is to upskill. One huge upside of our craft is that sound is everywhere. Just a few years ago, we were all thrust into a global pandemic which led to huge changes and uncertainty in Film & TV production. Yet we still emerged on the other side.
Podcasting saw a huge boom in popularity during quarantine, which it has maintained to this day. Both independent and studio backed shows are in no shortage today, with every one of these needing at minimum, an editor. Some even need more advanced skills such as composition, or sound design. In a similar vein, Audiobooks have been around for a long time. Even Audio Drama’s have started popping up on streaming platforms recently. The long form nature of Audiobooks is great news for editors, and great practice for anyone with a desire to gain skills as a dialogue editor.
Game development is mostly unaffected by the current strikes. Meaning not only is it an industry which is incredible valuable and continually growing economically (Projected to make US$384.90bn in 2023), but it’s also seen steady hiring practices throughout recent turbulent times. All the skills we poses to perform audio post production roles are needed in the gaming sector, the main difference being Reaper is the DAW of choice for most developers. The biggest step you would need to take is learning audio engine software such as Wwise.
An area we see mentioned less often in situations like this, is Field recording. Not only is this a great way to either boost your personal sound libraries, or create sound libraries to sell. But it’s a great way to experiment with recording techniques and get the most out of your equipment.
If you’re interested in upskilling yourself, the sound design course we offer at 344 Audio is delivered within an active UK Audio Post workplace. And focuses on bolstering skills to perform any role in the post-production craft to an employable level, Guiding students through the process of securing professional work. For more information on our Audio Post Essentials Course, book a free call here.
While the immediate worldwide effect of the strikes can be a worrying thought, it’s important to remember that this will pass. Historically, when industrial action leads to setbacks, the comeback is greater. Our unwavering dedication will see a resurgence of opportunities, and collaboration, ushering in a sustainable new era to this beloved craft.
If you enjoyed this post please check out our ultimate guide to audio post-production: https://www.344audio.com/post/the-ultimate-guide-to-audio-post-production-sound-design
344 Audio is an Audio Post Production studio in Manchester.
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