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Updated: Oct 3, 2023

As a makeup artist and a member of the Makeup-Artists and Hair Stylists Guild (IATSE Local 798), I have been following the news of the writers' and actors' strikes with mixed feelings. On one hand, I totally support the demands of my fellow union members in the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) for fair compensation and working conditions. On the other hand, I am worried about the impact of the strikes on my own livelihood as well as the livelihood of other below the line production crew, and the future of the entertainment industry.

The writers' strike began on May 2, 2023 (my last day of work), after the WGA failed to reach a satisfactory agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the major film and television studios in Hollywood.

The main issues of contention are the residuals for streaming services, the inclusion of artificial intelligence in writing credits, and the health and pension benefits for writers. The actors' strike followed on July 14, 2023, after SAG-AFTRA also failed to negotiate a new contract with the AMPTP. The actors are demanding higher pay rates, more residuals for streaming platforms, better safety protocols, and more diversity and inclusion in casting.

The strikes have had a significant impact on the film and television industries, causing projects to shut down and others to postpone production. The strikes have affected not only the writers and actors, but also thousands of other crew members and workers who rely on these projects for their income, such as makeup artists, hair stylists, costume designers, grips, electricians, cinematographers, editors, and let's not forget the production assistants. These are only a handful of positions that are out of work. There are other crew members working on set as well as production office employees who work long hours to put the productions together.

As a makeup artist, I have been fortunate enough to work on some amazing movies and television shows over the years. I love my job and I take pride in creating some of the iconic looks for Hollywood's most memorable characters. Being a member of Local 798 has given me access to opportunities, resources, and benefits that have allowed me to take classes and sharpen my skills during this time away from production. This down time has been a blessing because I've been able to spend more time with family, work out, and get more rest. It has allowed me to spend more quality time honing my craft with other skills and talents.

Since the strikes began, I've also been working on my photography full time. I've been shooting beauty portraits, headshots, and branding and lifestyle. This skill has kept me busy as well as made me some money. I encourage all creatives to focus on what brings them joy.

I understand the writers and actors are fighting for their rights and their livelihoods. I respect their decision to strike, and I stand with them. I'm happy the WGA and the AMPTP have agreed to a deal on a new contract. I look forward to a fair and reasonable deal between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP. The longer this goes on, the more damage it will do to everyone involved. I'm hopeful that things will turn around soon. This industry needs to heal and recover from this crisis. I'm looking forward to getting back to work and doing what I love.

"Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.'' - Desmond Tutu

If you are in the film and television industry, how have you used your time during the strikes? Did you try something new? Leave a comment below.

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