I was in the middle of a pitch on March 12, 2020, mid-sentence when an assistant walked into the room with a note. the exec stopped the pitch, and declared that we should all go home and that we would resume on a call sometime in the future.

We never did.

COVID wrecked Hollywood, and by the time things were supposed to return back to normal, the AMPTP tried to squeeze writers and actors into a bad deal. It didn't happen.

The subsequent strike took us all the way to October 2023.

That wasn't enough time to restart the industry. It was just enough time for everyone to have nice, productive chats.

Now, as we enter the summer of 2024, it feels like the entire industry is figuring out how to completely restart. Those aren't my words.

During a recent earnings call, Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra said, “We had to go from a pandemic where production was severely limited, to a strike, where there was no creative work being done for literally seven or eight months,” he continued, “It had to restart. And that's what you're seeing right now.”

Let's dive in.

Restarting Hollywood

As a writer, I'm very nervous for what's coming in Hollywood. I moved here in 2012, and the lean years never felt as dire as the current months.

Maybe it's because I have more at stake this time around, as I'm older and have a family, but the contraction felt is very real.

We're seeing fewer scripted shows, fewer theatrical movies, and everyone is trying to pare down just how many people get a paycheck, to save on cost.

Hollywood is trying to figure out three things...

1. How Many TV Shows Can We Sustain?

1. How Many TV Shows Can We Sustain?Ad Revenue From Streaming Sites Could Generate $10 BillionStreaming

At one point there were over 600 scripted shows on the air and streaming. After the peak TV bubble burst, streaming and network TV have been trying to figure out just how many shows would be sustainable.

And also, how many networks can we sustain. Does everyone need a streaming app, can people afford them? What about bundles—would it be smarter to just completely recreate cable?

How many can we put on the air and still make money?

How many people do we have to employ?

These are the real questions studios are asking, and they have real impact on Hollywood. the amount of shows directly correlates not only to writers and crews being hired, but development executives as well.

With less shows on the air, they don't need as many people to send to set or read the scripts or give the notes.

I don't have any guesses as to how many scripted shows need to go every year. If you put a gun to my head, I'd say around 500, but that's totally a guess.

As these streamers try for a more global audience, maybe it's more, or maybe it's less made by Hollywood, and more globally.

Time will tell.

2. What Does Theatrical Mean Anymore?


One of the hardest parts of this new normal for me, primarily as a feature writer, is that theatrical needs to be redefined. We're trying to find a way to keep movie theaters relevant.

We want that, because you get paid more to write movies that debut in theaters. That may change during the next negotiation, but for now, the idea of getting a movie in theaters in harder and harder.

So what does theatrical even mean anymore?

How long should movies be in theaters?

How do theaters stay open with Hollywood releasing fewer movies?

What should a movie ticket cost?

There's lots of debates swirling around these things, and not many answers. We also need to figure out just how many movies should be on streaming.

How many can we make, what's a good debut strategy, and how do you advertise them so the most amount of people see them?

Again, we are finding this all out in real time. My hope is that streamers rival theatrical by releasing a movie a week, or more.

Also too there's hope theatrical could be saved by lowering ticket prices, fidning a better profit split with the theaters themselves, and getting a mandatory 45-day window for all features that go there, so we can drive the most amount of people to go see things in theaters.

3. What Other Screens Can We Monopolize?

Smash your boss's printer and use up your vacation days\u2014TikTok is introducing new ways to monetize New TikTok Creator FundTikTok

There's a very good chance you're reading this article on your phone. In a lot of ways smart phones have hurt Hollywood more than any of the other cultural and natural disasters harming the industry.

In many ways there's a direct correlation to viewership dwindling on TV and in movie theaters because they scroll instead social media as a source of escapism. They're watching TikTok, YouTube, Reels, or just playing on the internet.

Hollywood has long desired to find a way to monetize the time you spend on your phone. Not just through streaming apps, but through ventures like Quibi, which spectacularly failed.

Still, there is money to be made. And people are gobbling up entertainment on their devices.

So the big question here is how to actually taker advantage of that. Do they need to hire influencers, get into the content creator game, or look there to find new stars?

There are no real answers here either, just theories.

If Hollywood really is rebuilding itself, well, it's going to have t take this into account and find a way to bring these forms of entertainment in, nit ignore them.

Everything is in flux, and that can be scary, no matter where you are in your career. As Hollywood finds its footing, we'll try to keep you updated with all the advancements and changes.

Feel free to reach out with thoughts, insights, and questions.

Let me know what you think in the comments.