Oh, just look for the union labels …

WGA and SAG-AFTRA are on strike together now, which cuts off two of the most important parts of the entertainment industry’s supply chain.

When a big strike happened 20-some years ago we ended up with reality TV.

So, that’s not hopeful; who knows what sort of un-scripted/un-acted dreck could crawl out of the sewers this time?

But it could be great, depending on what the writers and actors decide to do with this time (other than picket, which is kinda the main strike activity).

They could, for example, establish a parallel creator-owned entertainment industry.

This is totally possible.

Much like the software industries, most workers in the entertainment industry have access to the tools to do the same work at home. Maybe their tools at home are not as spiffy as the ones they use at work, since pro movie editing software and renderers are hella expensive, but functional and effective versions of those tools are available for free or at consumer pricing.

The writers all have laptops with text editors; the editors all have laptops with movie editing software; musicians all have instruments and recording software.

(Maybe not all, but I’ll bet it’s well over 75%.)

These workers already control the means of production.

What they probably don’t have are the tools for collaboration, distribution and collecting revenue.

Things the Internet is great at.

Servers are cheap, and between things like Jitsi, Mattermost and OpenCart you can build collaboration and sales/distribution systems really quickly for literally no money.

The two things that force creators to work for others are time and connections.

You have to sell your time to a company to pay your rent, and the company collects together people with all the various types of expertise needed to make something (a video game, a movie, a TV show, a software package).

So to work without the company, you need some time and a way to gather together people with expertise.

And a strike provides a unique opportunity for both of those.

As the corporate production line grinds to a halt, everyone involved will have a lot more time.

And the shared experience of a strike can bring people together. (It can also drive people apart when they get desperate, but a shared project can help stave that off too.)

So, writers: go write a thing that you’ll own, because no one’s paying you to make it. Actors: work with a writer to record their script. Editors, musicians and crew: get together with a writer and some actors to make something (when you’re all off picket duty).

Just agree to share the revenue with each other fairly and get to work making something that you will own yourselves.

And drop me a note if you want someone who already knows how to build a system to put your stuff out in the world.

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