Unemployed Hollywood Writers Resorting to Bartending, Doordash Gigs as Studios Slash Spending

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Unemployed Hollywood writers are reportedly resorting to gig work as bartenders and Doordash drivers as studios continue to slash spending across the board, resulting in a dramatic reduction in the number of TV pilots and shows receiving the green light.

“As a showrunner who is a queer woman of color and I can’t get work? That’s saying a lot. It’s very frustrating.” one industry veteran told The Hollywood Reporter.

“I never thought I’d be a writer for as long as I have, but I didn’t expect to run into a brick wall. I thought it’d be a slow tapering, but this feels like a cataclysm,” another said. “I don’t know if I’m ever going to forgive Hollywood for this.

Another writer moaned: “That’s where a lot of us are. Almost everyone I know who had a deal, that deal doesn’t exist anymore.”

The demise of “peak TV” has meant far fewer opportunities for even seasoned Hollywood writers. Studios are taking an ax to their budgets as the industry is facing near-catastrophic economic headwinds.

American households continue to cut the cords by the millions, depriving studios of lucrative carriage fees. At the same time, TV advertising revenue is plunging due to weak consumer sentiment tied to historic levels of inflation brought about by the Biden administration.

Studios are trying to save themselves by betting the farm on streaming entertainment, but most are still unable to make streaming profitable. Making matter worse, most of Hollywood’s new streaming content is failing to resonate with subscribers, despite non-stop hype by the entertainment media.

As a result, shows are being canceled left and right, with some shows being removed entirely from streaming services in an indication of just how few people were clicking the “play” button on those titles.

Writers are still reeling from last year’s dual actors and writers strikes that brought Hollywood to a historic standstill.

Writer and WGA member Alberto Roldan dances as members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild walk the picket line outside of Netflix in Hollywood, California, on August 9, 2023. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

The Writers Guild of America claimed victory following several months of picketing, citing gains on compensation and protections against the encroachment of AI.

But unless your name is Aaron Sorkin or Steven Zaillian, the mood in Hollywood feels less than celebratory.

“It’s the craziest time to be a working writer in Hollywood: You can [work on] a semi-hit show but still can’t afford to make a living wage. It’s pretty intense,” one writer told the Reporter, adding that he is working as a Doordash and Grubhub driver to make ends meet.
“People are scared. I’m trying to go back to bartending,” another said“A lot of people are wondering what other jobs they can do. I’m close with my old showrunners, and they’re supportive of me, but they’re looking for jobs.”

Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at dng@breitbart.com


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