Three Strikes and Hollywood’s Out: Actors and Writers Alike Shut Down Hollywood’s Unfair Wages

Hollywood’s greed is finally being called out with the 2023 SAG strikes.
Actors and writers alike join together to protest against Hollywoods unfair pay. On September 27, 2023, the strikes ended after a new deal was made.
Actors and writers alike join together to protest against Hollywood’s unfair pay. On September 27, 2023, the strikes ended after a new deal was made.
“SAG-AFTRA strike sign” by ishmael n. daro is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

For many people, a life in Hollywood sounds like one filled with gilded glamour, fame, and wealth. The truth? Most aspiring actors aren’t paid enough to sustain themselves. They aren’t the only ones not paid enough either. Scripts are the backbone of any good show or movie, and the people who write these scripts are being paid less and less, especially with the introduction of Artificial Intelligence. Now, these actors and screenwriters have had enough of big corporations taking their money, and have shut down Hollywood. 

How Does Hollywood Treat Their Actors?

Think of your favorite shows and characters whose persona and storyline come to life with the help of screenwriters and actors. You would imagine these artists’ pay would  be amazing, especially in well-known productions loved and watched by millions of viewers. 

However, it has recently come out that some writers and actors can barely live off check to check, while entertainment corporations take most of the revenue generated by their talents. 

To make matters worse, since streaming has blown up, many actors and writers have been struggling because there is no job security and their pay has been dramatically reduced  compared to when shows aired on cable year-round.  Many actors and writers still work long laborious hours and sleepless nights without making fair wages, or wages that are even comparable to those of the past. 

Actors and Actresses on  Strike 

The striking unions, want reasonable work hours and safe environments plus rest periods. Actors are usually backed up by the unions they are in. Most notable SAG-AFTRA.

Hit show Euphoria star Sydney Sweeney opened up in 2022 and said “ I don’t have the income to cover that. I don’t have someone supporting me. They don’t pay actors like they used to,’’ to describe her financial struggle when talking about taking a break.

She received bad backlash from the public when the interview was first released, but now has caught much attention in the media in terms of raising awareness for the financial insecurity for actors. Many actors have been attending protests in hopes of positive change but some are afraid to participate due to fears of gaining a bad reputation with the entertainment studios who will decide the trajectory of their career.

Big-name actors are more willing and able to participate in the strikes and protests because they have a greater sense of financial and job security. 

Currently actors have not been successful with their striking. But an offer of more than $100 million has been offered by George Clooney and other Hollywood actors to SAG-AFTRA in desire to end the strikes.

A Win for the Writers

Writers went into the 2023 strike with hopes of being recognized and appreciated through receiving  higher “residuals,” or regular payments from the success of their work. 

It has been reported that the strike by the writers has succeeded and ended on Sept. 27, 2023. A three-year tentative new deal with the Writers Guild of America and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers ended the strike . 

In the new contract, writers can now benefit from the success of streaming shows, unlike their old contract which excluded streaming because the concept of streaming was not fully developed. This practice gave practically all the income from successful streaming productions to the entertainment studios without notifying the screenwriters. 

Restrictions on artificial intelligence have also been agreed upon, where writers cannot be forced to use AI or rewrite AI work unless it’s in the writer’s best interest. 

Staff writers are now able to benefit from script fees that don’t discredit their position and help them with their jobs and financial security. 

Among other benefits, writers  now can receive individual pensions and health contributions. 

Support from Communities 

With the success of the writers’ strike, the Writers Guild of America has said they will continue on to advocate for the actors also striking for better conditions. 

This solidarity hasn’t stopped with the entertainment industry. Alongside the writers, transport workers have joined SAG-AFTRA on the picket line to show their support.  

Famous users of social media have also brought awareness to the issue across a variety of platforms. Many  Celebrities have posted from the SAG-AFTRA Strike Picket Lines in support in hopes of change.

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