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The Impact of AI on Gen Z Actors: Insights from a Writer’s Strike Survivor

Discover the incredible story of 24-year-old comedy writer and actor, Matthew Keith, who landed his first professional gig in Los Angeles on the same day the Hollywood strike began. Born and raised in Franklin, Tennessee, Keith’s passion for the stage has been with him since his adolescence. His journey in the entertainment industry started after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2021, just as things were reopening post-pandemic.

Matthew Keith’s career trajectory took off slowly, but he was fortunate to have the support of a school program that facilitated internships and connected him with industry alumni. After working two unpaid internships for a summer, he struggled to find employment in the TV and film space. However, through networking and perseverance, he landed a temporary position at NBC Universal, which eventually led to a writer’s production assistant job on CBS’s hit show, “The Neighborhood.” It took nearly a year in LA, but Keith finally had his big break in television.

While pursuing a career in entertainment was always his dream, Keith acknowledges the challenges of professional stability in the industry. He credits his older sister, Abby, for inspiring his interest in film and TV. Despite the inherent uncertainty in the field, Keith’s family has been incredibly supportive of his career choice.

Matthew Keith faced moments of financial insecurity, including visiting his hometown of Chapel Hill with less than $5 in his bank account. The possibility of a strike loomed in the background, and Keith’s colleagues warned him about the importance of saving money. Fortunately, his previous job gave him some financial cushion for the beginning of the strike. Although he is not currently a member of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), Keith is actively working towards joining the organization. He is, however, SAG-eligible thanks to his role on “The Neighborhood.”

For Matthew Keith, the strike is a significant moment in his career. It coincided with his first TV appearance on “The Neighborhood,” which he humorously describes as the “dumbest luck in the world.” He expresses concerns about proposals that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) has ignored, particularly related to the prospect of mini-writers’ rooms and the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in the industry.

In the face of these challenges, Keith advocates for a fair system where writers are rewarded for their work and not exploited. The strike serves as a reminder of the ongoing fight for fair treatment and compensation in the entertainment industry. Matthew Keith currently works as a barista to make ends meet during the strike, but he remains focused on honing his writing skills and preparing for the industry’s eventual return.


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