Atlanta film industry workers rely on other creative talents during strike

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - With no end in sight for the nationwide writers’ strike, workers in Atlanta’s film industry have tapped into creative talents to source income.

Hannah Hildebrandt, an assistant art director for an Atlanta-area production, has whipped up a gluten-free vegan bakery in her kitchen.

“I’ve been surprised with how much a market there’s been,” said Hildebrandt.

Hildebrandt utilizes social media for her new business, Alternative Grains. She sells bread, bagels, and other baked goods across the metro.

“It’s definitely a good distraction from thinking about what’s been going on,” she said. “I’ve been busy, but I’m glad to supply bread to people who want it.”

Wednesday marked 100 days since WGA went on strike, with SAG-AFTRA joining the picket lines months later. Writers and actors have called for better pay and protections against job losses due to artificial intelligence. Studios say they want a mutually beneficial deal, but maintain writers’ demands are unreasonable in the rapidly changing media landscape.

Allyson Petty, a set decoration buyer in Atlanta, has ramped up work on her lighting refurbishing and repair business, Luminous Vintage.

“It feels nice to have people support the crews,” said Petty. “There’s been people who have reached out and I know they’re doing it just as support of us in general.”

According to the Motion Picture Association, Georgia’s film and television industry creates more than 137,510 jobs and makes up nearly $3.82 billion in total wages.

Many workers have utilized unemployment throughout the strike.

In addition to repairing and selling vintage lighting and custom lampshades, Petty relies on an additional part-time job in photography to support herself.

“It’s going to go on longer than we anticipated, so that’s bringing on stress,” said Petty. “How many more side hustles do I need to pay my mortgage? Pay my utilities?”

Hildebrandt and Petty plan to continue these side hustles after a deal is reached. While they fully support the writers and actors in negotiations, they hope for a deal soon.

“All of us want to get back to work. We love our jobs,” said Hildebrandt. “I love doing this, but I can’t wait to get back to my real career.”

Savannah Louie

Savannah Louie

Savannah Louie is an anchor and multi-media journalist for Atlanta News First. She anchors the 10 p.m. newscast and also reports in other shows on WANF. Savannah joined the Atlanta News First team in September 2021.