The pandemic changed all of Hollywood, and nothing can ever go back to the way it was. One of the things that really took off during this time was #PayUpHollywood, a campaign focused on getting the support staff in Hollywood paid a living wage. People were being paid less than $18 an hour and struggling to keep up with rising rents within Los Angeles. Assistants on TV shows, at studios, and at agencies also have no clear path to making more money. 

Hollywood has never had a "career ladder," or a set way you can advance. It seems like you just need to do a lot of free work outside the system and have a lot of luck. That luck can manifest itself into opportunities that land you many better-paying jobs. But that's no guarantee for everyone. And for people whose luck takes a while to kick in, it's pricing them out of the business. 

The fight for a living wage took to social media, with people using the #IALivingWage hashtag to share their struggles inside the system. The Hollywood Reporter dug into these stories, publishing an article where people could echo these main issues.

One of the most staggering things people have shared is just how long they hold out on such paltry wages, trying to achieve their dreams. This places undue pressure on people who don't come to town with rich families that can support them or the ability to supplement their incomes. It also allows people with connections to rise higher because they can afford to get a better job up front or can have the connections to beat other people out who have been there longer. 

How can the problem be fixed? 

Right now, people are urging showrunners to advocate for higher wages, but the real pressure lies on the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, who need to approve the raise for these workers. 

IATSE Local 871, which is the Script Supervisors/Continuity, Coordinators, Accountants & Allied Production Specialists Guild, has said AMPTP needs to raise the minimums people in their union are allowed to be paid. While we don't know the exact raise they want. Supposedly members are asking for an increase to $25 an hour instead of the $18, and then they want a guaranteed 60-hour workweek. 

The average rent in Los Angeles for an IATSE Local 871 member is around $1,770 a month. Given the current state of things, the minimum salary to not be considered “rent-burdened” is a little over $70,000 a year. So you can see the big gap between where they are now and where they need to be. 

We can only wait to see where these negotiations will lead, but something has to be changed. Otherwise, almost no one will be able to afford to work their way up. 

Let us know what you think in the comments.