Director Deon Taylor on the Human Cost of the Hollywood Strikes: ‘There’s People Who Are Homeless’

Deon Taylor walks the WGA picket line outside Amazon in Culver City, California on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023. (Credit: Anita Bennett)

With the Writers Guild of America strike entering its 120th day and SAG-AFTRA members on the picket line for nearly two months, the human cost of Hollywood’s summer of strikes continues to add up.

Filmmaker Deon Taylor joined the picket line on Monday, Aug. 28, outside Amazon Studios in Culver City, California. The writer-director said people are hurting without paychecks.

“This is crazy right now. People are not working that have dedicated their lives to this entertainment business,” Taylor told Urban Hollywood 411. “There’s people who are homeless. There’s people who can’t pay their bills. There’s people that can’t pay their light bills, and I know a few of those people.”

Related StoryOprah Among Stars Donating Millions to SAG-AFTRA Foundation to Help Striking Actors

Taylor, his producer wife Roxanne Avent, and the team at their Hidden Empire Film Group invited friends and colleagues to “unite for change” and rally for the two unions to reach fair contracts with the studios and streamers.

“We tried to get as many people as we can to just show solidarity. It didn’t matter if they’re a writer, or director, or just a creative actor, or just someone that works as a grip,” Taylor said.

Among those responding to the call were actor Frank Grillo, who had a role in Taylor’s 2019 film Black and Blue; Michael Ealy, who starred in the director’s 2020 film Fatale; and actor David Oyelowo.

“What we do does have a social, cultural impact and all we’re asking for is to be compensated fairly,” Oyelowo said in a video he recorded outside Amazon and posted on Instagram.

The Selma star walked the picket line with Taylor and said actors and writers are not asking for anything “outlandish.”

“They need to have the ability to sustain their families, their dreams, and to be compensated for the hard work they’re doing,” Oyelowo added.

Related StoryPolice Move to Stop ‘Incessant’ Horn-Honking by Writers Strike Supporters

The gathering included food trucks offering free sandwiches, ice cream and soul food. There was also a DJ playing old-school R&B.

Taylor, whose directing credits also include The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2 and The Intruder, said he hoped the gathering lifted the spirits of those affected by the work stoppages.

“You’ve got to stand strong. It’s a war,” he said. “For me as an independent artist, I really live by that. And everybody I know, I’ve tried to impact that, like you can’t fold because a lot of times they want to wait you out. You’ve got to keep showing energy, keep standing, keep saying ‘no’ to what it is you don’t want. And a lot of people are doing that. And hopefully today, man, we boosted a lot of people’s morale.”

The WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the major studios and streamers, recently returned to the bargaining table.

Although Variety reported Monday that the two sides are at a standstill after the AMPTP rejected the WGA’s Aug. 15 counter-offer.

Related StoryDeon Taylor to Direct ‘Blacula’ Remake Set in Post-Pandemic World

Meantime, SAG-AFTRA continues to wait for word from the AMPTP. The guild released a statement on Aug. 27,  saying its negotiating committee is ready to resume contract talks “at a moment’s notice.”

With so much uncertainty in the industry, Taylor said his previously announced Blacula remake remains in flux.

“We’ve been developing it. We were right in the throes of having the script written and a few other things right before the strike happened, so Blacula is absolutely happening.”

The director declined to discuss which actors he has in mind for the film, but said, “I’m really excited about it.”

Watch the interview with Deon Taylor below:

36 thoughts on “Director Deon Taylor on the Human Cost of the Hollywood Strikes: ‘There’s People Who Are Homeless’

  1. Grab a book…your imagination will take you places no Hollywood “writer”, “producer” or “actor” ever, ever could…50 years from now no one will care about the “entertainment” industry…and the whole pampered circus.

    1. People are trying to replace books with AI, the same reason these people are striking. The AI writing kind of stinks though. Like really stenchy.

      1. When cars replaced the horse and buggy nobody went on strike they adjusted. Thems the breaks. Get a new job.

  2. I did the math once. Since the last writers/actors strike 20 years ago the union has taken in more than 900million dollars in initiation fees, dues and other payments actors are required to make. Now you would think there would be some sort of strike fund in place. Maybe someone should be asking where all of this money has gone.

    1. They probably used the money to give some hefty donations to Democrat politicians in LA, San Fran, and Sacramento.

      1. And what’s the overhead costs of a Union over those years? They have attorneys on staff, they aren’t cheap. They also have other overhead costs. Signs, staff, office space, and other costs.

    2. It’s definitely not going those that don’t have a high enough salary to qualify for membership, that’s for sure.

    3. Oliver – the last WGA strike was in 2007 – 2008. Which if you use your crazy math skills you would know was 15 -16 years ago not 20.

  3. As long as House of the Dragon isn’t delayed next year, let the strike go on forever. Everything else is all trash anyway.

    1. The industry is hoping they can replace these people with AI but the joke is AI generated “art” can’t be legally copyrighted.

    1. the whole problem here is that these people are getting underpaid or not paid at all for their work, not that they dont want to work. from my understanding the streaming revolution stole a lot from the actors and crew who helped create all this content for them, by depriving them of the residuals they are rightfully owed.

      1. The problem is that writers and actors are making trash that doesn’t sell. No one is lining up to watch this trash. No one is buying subscriptions to watch to this trash. There is no residuals or payment or cheques when the trash you write makes studios lose hundreds of millions of dollars with woke trash! Do you see the theme… it’s trash no one wants to watch. Why should Disney pay any of these woke writers and actors when they have literally lost billions of dollars in streaming and theatre releases?

      2. Well then they’re idiots for even putting up with this and taking on a line of work where this happens.

      3. You can’t steal something when contracts are written in my new detail about who gets what share and how much Etc. Just because these people didn’t have the foresight because they’re so wrapped up in their own importance, to see what future payouts might be. Too bad so sad deal with it learn to code

      4. Thank you. One of the worst things about this strike is all the people speaking against us when they have no idea what they are talking about.

  4. I work hard for a living, if my bills exceed my income, I can’t strike, I have to find a job that pays better. Now, if I am under payed but work in the Hollywood/Movie industry, a lot of my pay comes in bragging rights, and that won’t pay the bills.
    SO FIND A JOB THAT PAYS, AND WORK HARD AT IT, then you can pay your bills.
    Screw hollywood, tv and movies, what a pile of crap !!

  5. They want to be taken seriously at the same time that they announce some stupidity like “Blacula.” LOL, can we make the strike permanent?

  6. We striking..? Writers are chanting ‘We Striking’..? I thought I had a pretty good reason for turning off these idiots. They don’t understand how the English language works…..

  7. Rekindle the essence of public performances reminiscent of the Shakespearean era. The excessive commercialization of theatrical entertainment has spawned an immensely convoluted network of intermediaries and beneficiaries who add little to the artistic essence, instead upholding an inflated structure that disproportionately favors “management” over the genuine performers.

  8. Ahem…you forgot to add the word voluntarily in front of homeless.
    Labor unions are a cancer on America.

  9. Sadly for all the writers, actors, studios and everyone else (electricians, FX, all others) who are out of work this is a very trying time. Unfortunatly they are being welcomed into the day to day reality of the 100s of millions of normal workers in America since the 50s who either get or got a lay off, can’t find work, or have no opportunities where they live. One recent example, the Yellow truck folks who will never get a job which paid like they had with Yellow.
    According to news accounts the Studios/Producers are hiring spin doctors to make what they say look good in public (hilarious) and they are also hiring crisis management firms (hilarious) ,as well. It looks like Studios/Producers, streamers and everybody else apparently can “afford “to lose from 100s of thousands to billions at this point and pay spin doctors and crisis management. I am waiting for the WGA and SAG to hire outside spin doctors like the Studios did.
    Those that were around for the previous strikes, and were smart, saved up lots of cash over the the last couple of years going into contract negotiations in order to plan for a long strike. Sadly most others didn’t plan for a long strike, will soon be evicted and or losing their houses and living in the street. It was reported that somebody at WGA was telling writers not to worry because this strike won’t last long. (who was that fool) They should have figured out it would especially with the comment out of the Studios that they were going to starve the writers out. On the other hand if the writers and SAG members hold out until December ish, the Studios will start starving. If it goes in that direction, the Studio spin doctors would likely be messaging how December won’t matter but we all know that will be a spin doctor tale, i.e. lie.
    There will be many folks in different crafts that will or should use this as an opportunity to find work in another area or field and likely won’t come back even with the strike ending at some future point. There will be many non canceled shows that will get canceled by the networks. There will be projects that were green lighted that will get canceled.
    As for outside the entertainment industry, the truth and reality with the rest of America is that most if not all don’t give a sh*t. In case anybody is wondering why there is no huge outcry from America due to lack of entertainment or no fall schedule people will always find something else to do with their time and the likely consequence when shows come back, there will be drops in ratings because of that and the impatient networks who don’t comprehend why the shows aren’t immediately performing like they were before the strike, will likely cancel more. .

  10. Great news. They have been helping to destroy America for decades with their filth. Hope they all lose everything.

  11. So Hollywood FINALLY reasons what it sews. For the last thirty years they have cultivated the seeds of racism, sexism, & now white priviledge when in reality it didn’t exist. They now have the LGBTQRSV banner waving over everyones head as a baton for a group of LESS then 1%. Hollywood is directly responsible for most of the civil discourse in our country. Every show, commercial or movie has to now contain homosexuals, transgender, multiracial-cultural couples & women are always smarter & tougher than any man, men are portrayed as sexist homphobes who have no integrity, criminal behavior is seen as cool & smart while education is relegated to a waste of time only pursued by those who want to work for rich white men bent on stealing from everyone.

    Hollywood promotes lies & half truths building upon them to create the problems now plaguing on country & the world. We are so sick of it their movies are tanking their television networks are failing hell they pushed the woke agenda so hard ESPN is now failing. How do you destroy a network who’s sole content is sports? By constantly shoving the WOKE agenda in your veiwer’s face.

    So now they want us to feel bad for them. I have never been union so I negotiated my wages & compensation personally & lived up to that contract. You are all adults, supposedley highly educated, you accepted the wages given & didn’t complain.

    Nobody cried for carpenters, welders, or machinist when their jobs were taken by machines. If you provided entertainment people wanted to see your jobs wouldn’t be in jeopardy & you would be appropriately compensated. Case in point ” the wrecking crew in the music industry during the late 50’s- 70’s.

Comments are closed.