CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s been an interesting year for entertainment attorney Melinda Maurice Zanoni.

“Our movies and TV came to a grinding halt,” Maurice Zanoni said. “There's no production.”

She and her clients have been forced to pivot to work around both the WAG and SAG-AFTRA strikes in Hollywood. 

“The last time that there was a simultaneous strike where the writers strike coincided with the actors strike was 1960 when Ronald Reagan was the head of the actors union, which is crazy to think about,” Maurice Zanoni said. “So this is unprecedented. I mean, this has been the largest impact on TV and film production since the pandemic in the United States.”

What You Need To Know

  • Melinda Maurice Zanoni is an entertainment lawyer in Charlotte

  • She says projects came to a halt this year due to the two strikes

  • She says the impact to the industry has been huge

  • She says the fight against AI for creatives is not entirely over

And while holding the line wasn’t always easy, Maurice Zanoni said it was imperative for creatives on both the big and small screens.

“You've got people that, this is what they're passionate about, they’re writers, they’re actors, they’re artists,” Maurice Zanoni said. “And they want to go create, but they need a living wage to be able to do so.”

But now, Maurice Zanoni said they have a glimmer of hope, as SAG-AFTRA has come to a three-year deal with production companies in regard to streaming and the use of AI.

“Hooray is what I have to say, right? Like more art, less spreadsheets,” she said.

Still, she said the fight may be far from over in an ever-changing world with new technology always around the corner.

“Let's go enjoy the next three years,” Maurice Zanoni said. “Because given how quickly everything moves, and while I think we may resolve the streaming issue, there'll be new issues. There'll be new technologies. So let's just create art while we can and enjoy it and support the people that make it happen.”