By: Eli Kern

Photo Courtesy of the Guardian

The 2023 writers strike lasted 144 days and the duel strike has cost Hollywood an estimated 6 billion dollars. 

“Now remember, writers are independent contractors for the most part, which means that you were if you were building a house, or if you were putting in a swimming pool as an independent contractor, that’s four months of no work…” Said COC Professor Ron Mita.

The impact of that was felt close to home for some members of the community 

“Well, yeah, honestly, we go on strike, and then when the actors jump on board, and then the production completely shut down…” said SAG-AFTRA Member David Ortiz. “Either way, that was the beginning of a work stoppage for in Santa Clarita.”

Despite working amongst the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, some residents now found themselves in a difficult situation 

“It is a struggle. There are food banks that have opened so generously to families like ours. My kids grew up here we come to the park here for many years being a resident of Santa Clarita…” said Ortiz. “Now with the rise of cost of gas and food and everything else, it makes it very, very rough.” 

But for some even assistance from community resources wasn’t enough, with David finding himself opening up a stand at the Old Town Newhall Farmers Market

“And when you start to feel that pinch in your savings, you got to find alternative to make a living… We’re all just trying to make a living to survive. Some of us are in the industry. And some of us are not. But this is where I’m at.”

With stories like David’s being common throughout the industry, it has left some to question if the strike was worth it.

“Everybody was without a paycheck for four months. The first question I asked everyone is, are you going to recoup what you last over that four month period…” asked Professor Mita. “And at the end of the day, ultimately, if somebody wants to use AI, you’re a studio, for instance, there’s no way for us to know that you did it or not… I’ve rewritten plenty of scripts in my, in my career, I’ve never met the guy who wrote the original draft, so I couldn’t tell if he was a human being or a computer.” 

Thanks to David there was at least one sweet silver lining.

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