The Creative Labor Initiative aimed to establish a balanced and comprehensive perspective on a range of urgent issues pertaining to global creative labor. The initiative leveraged a network of scholars who shed light on the ways in which the screen industries are at once becoming more interconnected and stylistically convergent while also drilling down into the particular workplace dynamics and plays of power within and across creative locales. The Creative Labor Initiative produced independent analyses of key labor concerns; interviews with talent, craft, and below-the-line workers; a library of industry reports and policy documents; and learning modules for students.

Creative Labor Initiative Publications

Sanson K. & Curtin M. 2017. Voices of Labor: Creativity, Craft, and Conflict in Global Hollywood. California: University of California Press. DOI:
Edited collection emerging out of the Spring 2014 Carsey-Wolf Center + Mellichamp conference, "Precarious Creativity"

This series of short critical articles written by Media Industries Project researchers provides readers with concise analyses of issues affecting media industries. Each of these pieces treats a significant issue, industry locus, or event by contextualizing its topic within a wider historical and/or critical framework.

Ryan Bowles, “2011 Guild Negotiations Reveal Lingering Anxieties.”

Greg Burris, “Turkish Cinema Reclaims Regional Leadership.”

Aymar Jean Christian, “Web TV Networks Challenge Linear Business Models.”

Michael Curtin, “Commercial TV Brings Cultural Change to Afghanistan.”

Michael Curtin, “VFX Labor Unrest Points to Broader Trends in Hollywood.”

Michael Curtin and Yongli Li, “Shanghai Animation Attracts Hollywood Investors.”

Hannah Goodwin and John Vanderhoef, “Policy and Politics Dictate the Growth of the European SVOD Market.”

David Gray, “Searching for the “Indie” in Independent Film.”

David Gray, “Tax Incentives for Filmmakers Face Uncertain Futures.”

Joshua Green, “Comcast/NBC Merger Unites Content and Conduits.”

Jennifer Holt, John Vanderhoef, Kevin Sanson, and Rachel Allen. “TV Carriage Fee Disputes Hurt Consumers the Most.”

Danny Kimball, “Net Neutrality is a Struggle over Control of Communications Infrastructure.”

Derek Kompare, “Comics Move to Big Screen and Beyond.”

Juan Llamas-Rodriguez, “DreamWorks Animation Downsizes.”

Juan Llamas-Rodriguez, “Women Take on the Summer Box Office.”

Amanda D. Lotz, “Channel Bundles Persist—for Now—Despite Digital Disruption.”

Myles McNutt, “Limited Series Are a Product of Brand Management, Not Innovation.”

Cynthia B. Meyers, “Branded Entertainment Reshapes Media Ecosystem.”

MIP Research Team. “AOL-HuffPost Merger Raises Questions about Unpaid Labor.”

MIP Research Team. “Apple Wins Patent Victory Over Samsung.”

Lindsay Palmer, “Hedge Funds Boost Hollywood Budgets.”

Karen Petruska, “Debating the Future of Television.”

Karen Petruska, “Questions about Metrics Undermine Media Business Models.”

Karen Petruska, “Supreme Court Issues Decision in Aereo Copyright Case.”

Karen Petruska, “Debate about Texting in Theaters Divides Film Lovers.”

Karen Petruska, “Considering Television’s Past and Present.”

Kevin Sanson, “BBC Faces Most Drastic Cuts Ever.”

Kevin Sanson, “Questioning Hulu’s Future.”

Kevin Sanson, “Media Village Generates Hype, Few Results in Glasgow.”

Kevin Sanson, “The Buzz: MIP @ the Produced By Conference.”

Kevin Sanson, “Scotland, Disney/Pixar Partner for Global Ad Campaign.”

Kevin Sanson, “MIP @ SIECE.”

Kevin Sanson, “Sony Revises Policy for 3D Glasses.”

Kevin Sanson, “1960s Period Piece Sparks Race Discussion.”

Matt Sienkiewicz, “Young Talent Shoulders Burden of Afghan TV Labor.”

Ethan Tussey, “MIP @ CES.”

Ethan Tussey, “Content Libraries Reap Revenue Despite DVD Collapse.”

Ethan Tussey, “Digital Distribution Troubles Home Entertainment Market.”

Ethan Tussey, “Netflix Streaming Service Takes Aim at Traditional TV.”

Ethan Tussey, “Netflix Reconsiders High Stakes Wager.”

Ethan Tussey, “UltraViolet Faces an Uncertain Future.”

Ethan Tussey, “Infrastructure Disputes Shape Future of Streaming Media.”

John Vanderhoef, “AT&T to Purchase DirecTV.”

John Vanderhoef, “Report Says California Tax Incentives Lost Money.”

John Vanderhoef, “Comcast to Merge with Time Warner Cable.”

John Vanderhoef, “Digital Distribution Creates Opportunities for Indie Gamemakers.”

John Vanderhoef, “Disney Purchases Lucasfilm.”

John Vanderhoef, “E3 2014 Report.”

John Vanderhoef, “Guilds Struggle to Organize Reality TV Labor.”

John Vanderhoef, “The Future of the Home Game Console.”

John Vanderhoef, “IMAX Finds New Life in Hollywood and Abroad.”

John Vanderhoef, “Netflix Launches First Original Series.”

John Vanderhoef, “Silicon Beach Shows Promise, Not Profits.”

John Vanderhoef, “Sony Exits PC and TV Manufacturing Business.”

John Vanderhoef, “VFX Workers Protest Oscar Day for Second Year.”

John Vanderhoef, “China’s Wanda Group Purchases AMC Entertainment.”

John Vanderhoef, “Warsaw’s Gaming Sector Gains Global Standing.”

John Vanderhoef, “Women Game Makers Speak Out.”

John Vanderhoef and Karen Petruska. “MIP @ BroadbandTVcon.”

John Vanderhoef and Kevin Sanson. “Cord Cutting Anxiety Oversimplifies Distribution Revolution.”

John Vanderhoef and Kevin Sanson. “Latest Guild Negotiations Run Smoothly Despite Sticking Points.”

John Vanderhoef and Kevin Sanson. “MPAA and China Settle Tax Dispute.”

John Vanderhoef and Kevin Sanson. “Ruling Casts Shadow on Unpaid Media Internships.”

Creative Labor Initiative Interviews

MIP researchers conducted a number of interviews with leading industry figures on a broad range of topics. A collection of some of these interviews concerning the many ways that digital delivery systems are transforming the entertainment business has been published as Distribution Revolution, available from University of California Press. Individual interviews are also available below.


Paris Barclay, Richard Berger, Gail Berman, Joe Flint, Scott Frank, Tom Freston, Thomas Gewecke, Felicia Henderson, James Hirsch, Leslie Jones


Steve Kaplan, Claudia Katz, Jordan Levin, Peter Levinsohn, Christian MannGary Newman, Tom PollockDave Rand


Ted Sarandos, Thomas Schulman, Betsy Scolnik, Mitch Singer, Anders Sjöman, Larry Stein, Horst Stipp, Kelly Summers, Patric Verrone, Dick Wolf, Justin Wyatt

Precarious Creativity: Global Media, Local Labor brought together an international group of scholars at UC-Santa Barbara to examine the increasingly globalized and interconnected nature of screen media labor. We organized the conference as a series of roundtable discussions that concluded with a keynote session featuring leading advocates from the VFX community in Southern California.

Precarious Creativity was a Mellichamp Global Studies Conference co-sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center’s Media Industries Project. The event was organized by Dr. Michael Curtin and Dr. Kevin Sanson.