Beyond Hollywood: The Ripple Effect of the 2023 Writers Guild Strike on Digital artists Worldwide.
The 2023 Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike has indeed had a significant impact on the global entertainment industry, touching various sectors from film and television to festivals and even affecting projects that would involve animation, potentially impacting animators in Uganda and beyond. The strike, which is the largest interruption to American film and television production since the COVID-19 pandemic, caused many projects to shut down or postpone production. On July 14, 2023, SAG-AFTRA joined the WGA in its own strike, halting production on any remaining film or television series that previously had continued during the WGA strike, and this action continued until a tentative agreement was reached on September 24, 2023.
Internationally, the impact of the strike has been felt in various forms. Festivals and conventions across the globe had to cancel, postpone, or adapt due to the strike. Notably, the San Diego Comic-Con saw multiple studios pull out and WGA members were unable to participate in panels, which would certainly impact the visibility and promotion of new projects, including those in animation. The ripple effects of such a large-scale strike in the U.S. can lead to disruptions in the supply chain of content, which affects not just local but also international markets that consume Hollywood productions.
In the context of Uganda, a local animator could be affected by such a strike in several ways. Firstly, if the animator is involved in co-productions with American companies or projects that rely on American writers, their work could be directly halted. Secondly, if they are part of an international project that is slated for distribution by a major American studio, the strike could delay release dates and disrupt marketing efforts, affecting the overall exposure and potential revenue of the project.
Moreover, the strike could influence global market trends, resulting in cautious spending and investment in new projects, which could make funding more difficult to obtain for independent creators, including those in Uganda. Additionally, educational and networking opportunities such as workshops and panels that often take place around large conventions like Comic-Con could be reduced, limiting professional development opportunities for international artists.
The strike has also prompted a shift towards streaming platforms and independent production, as shown by the Toronto International Film Festival promoting more independent or international projects due to the lack of promotion on projects produced by struck companies. This could theoretically open doors for animators outside the U.S., like those in Uganda, to fill the content void with their own creations, assuming they can navigate the complex distribution channels to reach their audience.
In conclusion, while the 2023 WGA strike’s most immediate effects are in the U.S., the interconnectedness of the global entertainment industry means that the repercussions are felt worldwide, including by animators in countries like Uganda. The strike has the potential to both disrupt ongoing international collaborations and provide an impetus for the growth of independent and local productions seeking to capitalise on the shifting landscape of the global content market.