As the WGA strike continues on, a fund is being relaunched to aid support staff, like writers’ room assistants and production assistants, affected by the continued work stoppage.
TV writer and producer Liz Hsiao Lan Alper’s Pay Up Hollywood, which has long advocated for the financial needs of support staff, is relaunching its Hollywood Support Staff Relief Fund. The fund was originally launched at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to aid support staff, who are often at the very beginning of their careers, with help in the wake of shuttered sets and writers’ rooms. That effort resulted in $500,000 of aid.
Led by Alper, a Writers Guild of America West board member, and support staffer Alex Rubin, the fund is being launched in collaboration with Entertainment Community Fund and Women In Film, the latter of which donated $10,000 to the fund. According to today’s announcement, the fund will provide one-time grants to assistants and support staff with under three years of industry experience.
“Support staffs are indispensable, yet they’re undervalued and underpaid. These workers are the most heavily impacted when unexpected events shut down the entertainment industry. Making the Hollywood Support Staff Relief Fund a permanent emergency fund gives these workers a much-needed resource that wasn’t available before,” said Alper.
Rubin added, “Support staff jobs are the elemental step to a career in film and television, and the first three years are incredibly important. They’re times of learning, connection, and growing into who you will be as a member of the industry, but those years also include low pay, long hours, and sacrifice. Work stoppages interrupt a new professional’s trajectory and, when coupled with the daily lack of support and resources, can mean the end of a career. The Hollywood Support Staff Relief Fund is not just a resource; it’s a lifeline.”
The WGA strike is now entering its second month. While television writers’ rooms remain shuttered, productions have continued to be affected, from Marvel films to series from Apple, Peacock and Netflix, leaving support staff across the industry without stable work.
“Once again, we find ourselves in difficult, unpredictable times, where the need for a safety net is crucial to so many of our industry colleagues. Thanks to #PayUpHollywood and WIF, we’ll be able to help support staff so that they can continue to build a life in the arts,” shared Joe Benincasa, president and CEO of the Entertainment Community Fund.
“With many of Hollywood’s support staff workers being women and people of underrepresented genders, WIF is committed to supporting the next generation of these storytellers through our partnership with #PayUpHollywood,” said Kirsten Schaffer, CEO of Women in Film.
The fund is looking for donations and is already open to applications for grants. More information can be found here.