One of the most popular Dungeons & Dragons actual play series has resumed production and filming. The currently striking Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union has cleared the comedy channel to resume making Dimension 20, alongside its other programs.
The news came August 8th from Dropout CEO Sam Reich, who explained on social media that Dropout’s contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) would, in fact, allow them to continue making improv and sketch comedy series, such as Game Changer, Um, Actually and of course Dimension 20.
Reich mentions that Dropout stopped production on all of their shows under the assumption that it fell under the AMPTP’s list of “struck contracts” - shows, performers and streaming agreements that agree to follow the union’s position during strikes. After speaking with SAG-AFTRA and Dropout’s legal team, Reich says that the company is not obligated to halt work.
Dropout first announced its streaming and production hiatus back in July. The currently running Mentopolis series had already finished filming and production and would thus release on its previously announced schedule. The actors would not be promoting the show on social media or any other public platform - this has been one of the more immediate effects of the joint WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike. Now, Dimension 20 actors such as Brennan Lee Mulligan, Siobhan Thompson and guest player Hank Green can publicly talk about the show without crossing picket lines.
“SAG's decisions are in part strategic,” Reich said on X. “Small streamers like us continuing to work while the major streamers cannot gives us a competitive advantage and puts more pressure on them to make a deal.”
The still ongoing strike was precipitated by several factors affecting workers throughout the US film and television industry, including growing concern over C-Suite interest in AI technology, terrible pay and advancement opportunities for creative positions and the general disparity between film and television that has only grown thanks to the prevalence of streaming services.
Dropout is back in production.— Sam Reich (@samreich) August 8, 2023
Dimension 20 seemed to be the only major actual play series affected by the strikes, as Critical Role did not announce any delays or a hiatus despite many members of the core party being SAG-AFTRA card carriers by dint of their work in voice acting. How actual play series - especially those independent of larger publishers or sponsors - should act during industry-wide strikes remains a bit of an open question that showrunners and lawyers are discerning on the fly.
Dropout did not mention whether the series following Mentopolis, which uses the Kids of Bikes RPG system instead of D&D 5E, would now enter production. Don’t forget that Wizards of the Coast previously announced its own free ad-supported streaming television channel with several scripted shows planned for launch. Dicebreaker has reached out to confirm the current status of those programs in regard to the strike.