Life after the strike Hollywood was a hot issue at Sunday’s Writers Guild Awards, with former WGA West president David Goodman saying “the strike is over, the fight goes on” and adding “as individuals, we’re replaceable.”

That sentiment has never been more relevant than now, as Hollywood’s continuous recession continues to affect how many writers remain unemployed since getting off the picket line in September.

In March, Deadline launched a Hollywood Contraction series, checking in with the above- and below-the-line communities to see if opportunities had improved since the strikes ended.

The response has not been positive. Because there are fewer series in the works and pilot season has ended, job opportunities are scarce, prompting many to contemplate a life outside of Hollywood.

Before Sunday’s WGA Awards ceremonies on both coasts, we asked writers to comment on the contraction and whether they are optimistic about the future.

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Tony Gilroy (Andor, Rogue One): “I believe there’s been a glacial tectonic shift over the last 15 years as people realize that, you know, writers are where it’s at.” I mean, that’s where the power lies. And writers realized they could direct, you know. Everyone understood the narrative was about the king. Everyone knows it. You ignore it at your peril. Brilliant directors, producers, and personalities will remain extremely important. But, in the end, this is what comes from the desk. It’s the shootable pages. It’s what comes from the desk. [Contraction] is going to happen. That occurred. Because, you know, that was probably going to happen anyway. It’s just like athletics. In baseball, there aren’t that many talented people with that much experience, thus 600 teams aren’t feasible. And then all the talented individuals with experience would split up, because anyone with talent and experience is automatically assigned to their own show. So you never get to see a show with 2-3-4 talented, experienced individuals working on it. It was like a basketball squad. Everyone has one all-star or maybe a wannabe, and they try to run the entire business on that, which doesn’t work. I mean, fewer pieces of content are better. It’ll find its level.”

Neil Gaiman (Good Omens, Lucifer): “Sometime in 2019, I remember looking about and remarking, ‘This is a gold rush. We are in a boom town. And I’m not sure how long this will be sustained. And I was overjoyed to have been able to, you know, assist set up Sandman during the boom and such. The boom is done, and the gold rush has ended. And I believe people are beginning to ask, ‘OK, how can we generate money from television again?’ This is going to change things. That being said, Dead Boy Detectives is out in ten days. I’ve watched half of Sandman Season 2, and it’s incredible. I’m writing the third season of Good Omens, which will begin filming in January. So I am making things. And I have a strong feeling that the ship is still sailing. But the boom is over. I suppose the boom would have ended anyway. I believe that the strike, both ours and the actors’, created an excuse for streamers, in particular, to just say, “Oh, we actually bought more than we will ever need.” And maybe we can let some of this stuff go. And maybe we can, you know, so I believe that occurred as well. They are currently striving to redefine television. And I’m not sure what it will be like five years from now. But I know that a writer who can come up with stories, who has a wonderful story that people will care about, will have a job, which is the most essential thing, especially for young people.”

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John Hoffman (Only Murders in the Building): “It’s great that you’re doing that sequence of stories because I believe it’s a push and pull. It was a point in the company when everyone had to sort of pause and regroup. And the reset is still continuing. I want to give people optimism because I believe things are finally starting to turn around. I had a great time last week or two weeks ago when I attended a Disney/Hulu event. And I talked to a number of the folks there, and they all felt the same way. So, I’d like to give the writers optimism for fresh developments and a resurgence. But I also want to give you some perspective on how we battled for the right causes throughout the previous year. It had everything right behind it. And I believe that better working conditions will emerge as more work is done. And I just want to say, “Hold fast and hang tight.”

Illana Glazer (Broad City): “What I perceive is that, like in every other business, somebody like tech bros and private equity came in and bought the land, and then chose to build condos that no one wanted. And now they’re considering selling ad space. That is in air quotes. Oh, seriously? Do you mean the way the model was for a century? Duh, bitch. I am really proud of the writers and actors guilds for striking last year; it was crucial. This is a three-year deal. I believe that the most important contribution of the writers and actors guild strike last year was to raise awareness of the labor movement and make it part of a cultural discourse that must conclude with billionaires being taxed soon. I guess I felt quite patriotic, striking with my guild. And this is how I see the landscape. Yeah, I enjoy the landscape, literally, as I just mentioned, however, to summarize, we are in a fragile situation that we must continue to fight for and interact with other industries as well as other issues, such as human rights issues.”

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Ron Nyswaner (Fellow Travelers): “I think every three or four years, those of us who make a living in this say, ‘Oh, my gosh, it’s changing dramatically.'” So, in light of the post-strike situation, company consolidation, and so on, I believe many of us are concerned about the future. My instinct is that my job is to discover and present compelling stories. And that is my job. And if things get a little difficult, I’ll have to make the story more compelling. We went out with Fellow Travelers, and I was told that no one would ever buy this. We had several offers. We had complete support throughout the process. So I believe that if the firm becomes smaller and more competitive, we must improve. Look, I have pitched numerous items in my life that did not sell. So, I’m not sure if that will be any different. But, again, my responsibility is to present things that interest me first and foremost, while also being cognizant of how to attract an audience. That’s what we need to accomplish.

Julio Torres (Los Espookys): “The impression I’m getting from folks in the industry is that everyone feels like the belt is tightening a little bit, and it’s becoming more difficult to get things created. But, strangely, I believe that art that isn’t strictly commercial will be able to gain a little more attention and prosper. I do not know. I may be entirely deluded, but could this usher in the return of the authentic indie film? Given that all of these conglomerates are becoming increasingly risk-averse? Could we make cheaper, less profitable movies and be happier doing so? I’d rather do work that feels exciting than have a script contract with anybody. “That’s a glass-half-full perspective.”

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Anna Hagen (The Diplomat): “I’ve had the tremendous opportunity of working in a writers room with Debora Cahn, who is very serious about mentorship and getting writers on set. And, certainly, I believe I have a unique and privileged perspective in that regard. And the good news is that it appears to be a time when what you can put on TV and what tales you can tell is more fluid and open, which is leading to the creation of some very amazing programming. wonderful story, wonderful television. I hope the situation does not worsen further. I am hopeful, or to put it another way, I am motivated by the individuals who make things. And so, despite the hardships of the moment, I believe the strike was meaningful and the victory was substantial, and I’m optimistic about the outcome.”

David Teague (Cassandro): “It’s still challenging, I believe, sure. Somewhat optimistic. So in my work, I alternate between documentary and fiction. So you’re writing in two areas. On the fiction front, one thing I’ve seen is that it took some time, I believe, following this strike, to feel like things were finally opening up. I feel like there’s a glimmer right now, but it’s difficult to tell. But I definitely feel like it took time, and it wasn’t like going back to work. I believe there was a lot of risk aversion since all the big firms were retrenching.”

Josh Gondelman (Desus & Mero): “On the one side, there’s been so much fantastic work, and there’s a wide range of fresh talent and voices rising. I think that’s extremely exciting to witness as a writer, similar to what Cord Jefferson did as a first-time writer-director. But I think it’s been extremely challenging in the sector, and there’s a sense that things haven’t fully woken up yet, and that we’re waiting for the industry to come back to life and, honestly, become the sole product that many of these firms sell. [Re: Platforms aren’t buying as much?] Yes, it definitely feels like way. I mean, the rooms are actually happening. But I believe that people looking for job are finding it to be a more difficult search than unusual.”

Katrina Mathewson, Tanner Bean, Ese Shaw, Marcos Gonzalez, Kerry O’Neill, and Mekki Leeper (jury duty): If the group had heard of or experienced contraction, they answered emphatically “yes.” According to Leeper: “There’s a ton of tremendously talented people who are not working right now, and it’s really unfortunate and scary and it would be a shame to lose those people because they make television and working here a lot better.”

David Matalon (Totally Killer): “On the feature side, the pipeline is very empty. Some studios I know are just producing one movie. So, while the economy is contracting, there are still jobs available. “You can sell specifications.”

Sasha Perl-Raver (Total Killer) “These are pendulum swings.” Hopefully, it will swing the other way at some point. Everything is a cycle. As long as I’ve been doing this, someone has said, ‘It’s incredibly difficult right now. But you are still moving forward, and someone will buy something. I’ve heard there are more individuals in rooms. And that was part of the conflict, which is amazing. People who were previously overlooked are being given opportunities, and people are held accountable. Yes, there is a shrinkage, but there are minor victories along the road.”

Jim Mickle (Sweet Tooth): “Every now and then you talk to someone and they’re like, ‘Stuff is still going’, but for the first time I’ve heard a lot of people reaching out and saying, ‘Have you heard of anything?’ Many studios are deciding whether or not to continue with projects that were started prior to the strike. Many studios expected more material after the strike, but there wasn’t as much.

Alex Convery (Air): “I truly believe in what we were taught in kindergarten: Control what you can control. All I can do is write and create specifications. I believe that the correct screenplay will attract the right individuals at the appropriate moment.”