“Am I crossing picket lines if I see a movie?” and other Hollywood strike questions

You watch movies and television. And now you’re wondering what role you play as a consumer of entertainment amid the dual Hollywood strikes — a pitched battle with actors and writers on one side, and studios and streaming services on the other.

We have answers to how they affect you. 

Movies slated for release this summer will still hit theaters as planned. Many premieres promoting the films, however, have been cancelled, for one because striking writing actors are banned from advertising their work, which includes attending events like screenings.

No boycotts yet

But fans can still support the industry by purchasing tickets to highly anticipated summer releases, as the unions have not called for any boycotts of theaters or streaming services. Instead, the guilds have asked supporters who aren’t members to advocate for them on social media and donate to community funds.

Some guild members have explicitly said that watching their programs on the streaming services where they are available actually helps their case. 

While late-night shows remain on the air, no new episodes have been produced since the writers strike began. Other series have banks of unaired episodes to tide them over until striking writers and actors reach agreements with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

Actors, writers enter first full week together on picket lines of Hollywood strike


When will the pipeline dry up?

It’s unclear how much new content there is left to air. So far, the writers’ strike has most seriously affected TV production. Now, the actors’ strike has halted the bulk of film production. Broadcast shows like “Abbott Elementary” will not return with new episodes by early fall, regardless of whether the strikes are settled by then. The same goes for streaming hits including “Stranger Things.”

Movies that have wrapped — meaning their scripts were already written and actors already delivered performances — are often released months or even years later, so expect a steady stream of content. 

On the live theater front, stage actors in plays and musicals are governed by the Actors’ Equity Association, a different union that is not currently on strike. It has, however, expressed solidarity with Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and some actors are members of both unions. 

Will I be able to watch the Emmys?

The Emmys are still set for Monday, Sept. 18. But history shows that award shows that proceed during strikes turn out to be bleak affairs. And Emmy award campaigning will certainly be affected — SAG-AFTRA and WGA members aren’t allowed to take part in “for your consideration” events under their strike notices and they wouldn’t be able to accept awards for projects produced by struck companies.

Actors and writers can use social media to boost the visibility of their cause. Guild members are actively posting content using strike-related hashtags to amplify their messages, but cannot promote titles like “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer.”

“Yes! Promote yourself as an artist, a fashion icon, a union activist, a commercial actor, and a proud SAG-AFTRA member. You can also promote brands using our groundbreaking Influencer Agreement or start a podcast,” the SAG-AFTRA strike website advised members wondering if self-promotion is permitted.

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