Monday Editorial: How to be a Freelance Film Critic During the WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes

I consider myself to be a film critic in the loosest sense of the word. My reviews rarely get more than a few hundred views and except for what I get from advertising (not much) and Patreon supporters (not enough), I am not paid for giving my opinions on films. In light of SAG-AFTRA joining the WGA on strike last week, I am left pondering how I can continue writing this film blog without being a scab to the striking members of each union.

How Reviews Will Change in Light of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes

Update (07/17/2023, 6:45 PM): According to a new FAQ released by Variety, it is still perfectly fine to review movies or TV shows during the strike, so I might not end up being as strict as I mention in the following paragraphs.

Currently, there is no official call for a boycott of film, TV, and streaming services, even though some people I know are going in that direction. The majority of the movies I review on this site are paid to be seen on my dime, though there are some films I receive invites to press and promo screenings, such as an upcoming advanced screening of Oppenheimer for Universal, which I RSVPed to before the strike.

The best course of action that I see is that for the duration of the strike, I will no longer accept invites to press and promo screenings for studio films. The exception to this would be if the film is part of a film festival I have media accreditation to, such as Fantasia beginning later this week and TIFF in September. However, I will still accept invites to review independent and Canadian films (and I might review more of them). As for paying to see studio films, I will decide that on a week-to-week basis, though there’s a chance I might also refocus the films I see theatrically to include more independent and Canadian films.

How Interviews Will Change in Light of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes

Most of the interviews I am offered to conduct are with filmmakers and not talent, so I do not see much change in this regard and I expect to conduct a few filmmaker interviews during my upcoming coverage of Fantasia. However, I will not be requesting to do any interviews at Fan Expo, despite the convention releasing a statement saying that SAG-AFTRA members would still be allowed to attend in a non-promotional capacity. I do not want to risk asking the wrong type of questions.

Sean Kelly on Movies Supports the WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes

No matter how I try to keep this site active over the course of the strike, I want to reiterate that I am fully on the side of WGA and SAG-AFTRA. Seeing movies is one of my major passions in my life and I don’t want studio greed or taking shortcuts with, still under-development, A.I. technologies to dilute that. The studios should agree to the demands of both unions and help ensure that the film industry has a bright future ahead of it.

This post was proofread by Grammarly