We here at A Little Bit Human love TV and movies.
We watch and rewatch them, analyze them, delight in the clever details we find in them, and wax poetic about how they connect us to others and to ourselves, how they encourage us to do the thing we’ve always wanted to do or how they help us see our lives through different lenses.
We also know that none of them would exist without a writer.
And with over 11,500 of them on strike, after the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) failed to meet the very reasonable demands of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) last week, I’m definitely on their side.
Here’s what we can do to support the WGA and its members.
Join Writers at the Picket Lines
One way to show your support for your favorite TV and film writers is to join them at the picket lines.
The WGA publishes a list of picket schedules and locations at studios and TV or film shoots, updated weekly, that you can check out.
Naturally, the writings on the picket signs are top-notch, but you can definitely channel your inner writer and make one of your own as well. There’s even a carpool sign-up sheet if you’d like to help out in the front lines (and maybe even run into your favorite writers).
If you don’t live nearby, there are also links for donating to strikers in the sign-up sheet.
…or Honk for Them
If you find yourself driving past a picket line outside major studios and film locations, lay on the horn! It shows solidarity for the WGA strikers and also has the added benefit of annoying studio execs trying to work inside their buildings.
Don’t Cross a Picket Line
This is Solidarity 101, but it’s worth pointing out.
Members of other industry unions, like the Producers Guild of America, Teamsters, and IATSE, have expressed support for the strike. Some of them are the same folks behind hit TV shows, like HBO’s Hacks and Netflix’s Stranger Things, who are refusing to cross picket lines and work without their writers. Anyone who works in entertainment would be right to follow their lead.
But let’s just say you’re a non-WGA writer and are just now hearing about the 11,500 union writers refusing to work. Though this may sound like a perfect time to make it in Hollywood, it’s really not.
Crossing a picket line will only make things worse: You’re not only becoming a scab, but you’re also telling Hollywood that you’re okay with working for crumbs and without the protection of a union.
International writers are also strongly advised by their unions not to take on work within the WGA’s jurisdiction.
Donate to the Entertainment Community Fund
WGA members will be able to get help from their union as the strike continues, but they’re not the only ones out of work. This is where the Entertainment Community Fund comes in.
The fund supports other Hollywood employees, like crew members and assistants, who are affected by the strike. To make a tax-deductible refund, just press ‘Donate’ on their website and choose “Film and Television” in the drop-down menu.
Amplify Writers’ Voices on Social Media
Writers are on social media too, and have started some pretty good discussions on the industry and what it means to be a writer in this day and age (i.e., late capitalism).
Supporting writers on social media can go a long way. Even if you have a small following on Twitter or TikTok, engaging with their posts helps them feel more heard. And because the Twitter algorithm now shows followers Tweets that you’ve liked instead of just the ones you retweet, just pressing that small heart button can help spread the word and keep corporations from twisting the narrative (more on this later).
That said, here’s a list of my favorite Twitter threads so far:
- Ed Solomon, the writer behind films like Men in Black (1997), Charlie’s Angels (2000), and Now You See Me (2013), tweeting about just how little writers get out of the literal billions in economic value they create;
- Christopher Cantwell, showrunner for AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire (2014-2017), on why strikes are supposed to hurt now in the hope of a better industry tomorrow;
- Angela Treviño, who’s worked on shows like CW’s Kung Fu (2022-2023) and BET+’s Sacrifice (2021), in separate tweets like this one and this one, introducing writers and why they are striking;
- Angelina Burnett, a producer and writer known for The Americans (2013) and Halt and Catch Fire (2014-2017), on how film writers have been coerced into doing free work for ages and why it should be “all of us or none of us”;
- Kaitlin Fontana, a writer and director known for Girlfriend on Mars (2019) and Franchesca (2018), is on the growing list of celebrities expressing support for the strike (the entry on Ilana Glazer is a gem); and
- Sera Gamble, a writer and producer who gave us Netflix’s You (2018-2023) and Supernatural (2005-2020), on why a writer belongs on set.
Resist Anti-union Narratives
Already, media outfits have released articles about the WGA strike that centers not on the writers themselves nor the institutions they are striking against. Instead, they’re centering on the inconvenienced consumer of media.
Consider these two sets of headlines and captions:
One frames the lost opportunity to see Kieran Culkin and Jennifer Coolidge on Saturday Night Live as a direct result of the strike. Meanwhile, the other directs the audience to the real culprit: NBC’s refusal to pay fair wages.
Corporations, as represented by the AMPTP, want to pin the blame on striking workers who only want to make a living rather than on their own greed. Never mind that they themselves could end the strike at any time.
That is, by simply conceding to the WGA’s demands: increased pay, better residuals, normal-sized writers’ rooms (where writing is not treated as a gig economy), and assurances that their work will be safe from AI. These are not at all unreasonable, and billion-dollar corporations are very much capable of meeting them. They just don’t want to.
And it is the same pattern in so many of our biggest and most profitable industries — retail, e-commerce, and food, to name a few — which are built on the backs of the lowest-paid workers creating billions of dollars in economic value. What’s remarkable in Hollywood’s case is that workers are banding together and fighting back.
Thus, what the WGA is doing matters to any worker who feels that their job has become increasingly harder to do and even harder to live on, every worker who feels like they are being squeezed of all their productivity, and then some, for the benefit of some investor and their spreadsheet.
Those types of people will always side with each other, so it’s even more important we stand on the side of our fellow workers and resist narratives designed to tear us apart.
For updates on the WGA strike, it’s a good idea to follow the official WGA East and WGA West accounts.