For Many Behind the Scenes, the Effects of the Strikes Are Still Lingering

Getty / Mario Tama

Image Source: Getty/Mario Tama / Staff

After nearly five months, at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 27, WGA members were officially cleared to go back to work after striking for better writing conditions in Hollywood. While many have been rejoicing about the rightful gains earned, there are still professionals in the industry – including hair, makeup, and special-effects teams – who will not see a sense of normalcy for weeks or even months to come, especially with the actors’ strike still ongoing.

“Until a deal is reached with SAG-AFTRA, actors are still on strike, and consequently, crew are still in a work stoppage,” makeup artist Linda Dowds tells POPSUGAR. “SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP now have to get back in the same room and begin a concentrated negotiation. If all goes well, much if not all of October could be spent in negotiations. Until that happens, nothing will change for us – no work, no pay.”

Though one strike is technically over, production crews still need time to get up and running again – a process that Dowds believes could take more than eight weeks. “This timing could butt right up against the holidays, leaving some projects to consider a January start to a shooting schedule,” she says. “A large majority of the crew would not be required until then. This leaves the potential for many to still not have a paycheck through November and December.” Additionally, with some projects stopping well before the strikes began, there are people who are facing an estimated 10 months without work, which in turn means the same amount of months of no manpower days banked for health insurance.

The industry has had to grapple with artists and crew behind the scenes who simply could not afford to stay in the industry. “We will also feel the loss of people who became so discouraged and disheartened by this lengthy work stoppage that they do not want to return and won’t,” Dowds says. “People lost their apartments and homes – some even had to move in with friends or family. The mental health toll . . . will be greater than any of us will ever know about – many continue to suffer in silence.”

As with any workers’ solidarity movement, it’s important to not forget the vast majority of people behind the scenes who keep the industry running. So while these beauty professionals attempt to get back on their feet, there are still ways to help, like donating to the Entertainment Community Fund or simply reaching out to your favorite artist to ask what you can do – after all, you never know who might really be in need of assistance.

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