Recent findings from Otis College of Art and Design throw a stark light on the Hollywood landscape, revealing a troubling aftermath of the industry’s labor disputes. The study, a comprehensive analysis of the ripple effects caused by the strikes in Los Angeles’ entertainment sector, unveils a startling statistic: 17% of showbiz workers in the city have lost their jobs.
This revelation is part of the first report released under the Otis College Report on the Creative Economy. It uncovers the profound impacts of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strikes. These strikes, spanning from May to November 2023, led to the layoff of 24,799 industry professionals, highlighting the vulnerability of the workforce in this glamorous but unstable field.
The impact of these layoffs has been widespread, affecting various roles within the sector. While actors and writers faced the brunt of job losses, the study notes that camera operators, editors, and a broad category encompassing broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians also suffered significantly. This sheds light on the often-overlooked segments of the industry whose livelihoods are equally impacted by big changes like these strikes.
Otis College’s study further explains that these strikes are part of a bigger problem. Jobs in Hollywood have been decreasing, with a 26% drop since the highest point after the pandemic in August 2022. Therefore, the strikes are not isolated incidents but markers of an accelerating contraction in the industry, driven by various factors, including the decline of Peak TV.
Hollywood’s current problems are complicated. According to the report, too many T.V. shows and movies are being made, insufficient money is being invested, new technology is causing disruptions, and there is added competition foreign competition. These factors are making things tough for Hollywood. It’s a time of significant changes, and the industry needs to adapt and use caution.
Citing a comprehensive methodology, the study combined data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the California Employment Development Department (EDD). The analysis includes over 11,000 job listings and insights from interviews with industry officials. This approach provides a holistic view of the industry’s health and the effects of the strikes on the people who make movies and TV shows happen.
This study is the first of two reports regarding the entertainment industry, with the next one coming in early 2024. It serves as a crucial resource for understanding Hollywood’s current state and prospects. The data could become a vital tool for industry professionals, students, and aspiring artists.
Charles Hirschhorn, president of Otis College, talked about the importance of this study. He said, “Analyzing the health of that industry is important for both our state and our students at Otis College of Art and Design, a diverse community of artists and designers planning careers across creative sectors. We’ve developed the Otis College Report on the Creative Economy as an essential resource to give our creative students and citizens the information they need to best plan for their futures.”
The findings of this study are more than just numbers; they represent real lives and careers impacted by the industry’s fluctuations. They underscore the need for resilience and adaptability in a sector known for its glamor and volatility. As Hollywood continues to navigate these challenging times, the insights provided by Otis College’s study will be invaluable in shaping the future of this iconic industry.