Anxiety in Shutdown Town

Just like the return of an evil movie villain…shutdown has once again seized upon the business of Hollywood. And things seem a little disconcerting, don’t they? In LA now, it’s all about quiet sets and loud picket lines. And for too many of us, it’s also about a fun new routine we’ve learned where we spiral out in epic fashion, every single day, obsessing over all the theoretical scenarios that predict how much worse things might get. Now, that’s the showbiz spirit!

Uncertainty is in the air. And uncertainty typically causes system overload in the Hollywood brain. But it’s not just those who work directly in the entertainment business who are feeling the impact. It’s also causing anxiety for vast amounts of others whose livelihoods depend on Hollywood getting back to a state of business as usual.

However, the business of entertainment has recently been far from “usual”… For instance, until Barbie came along to give it a shot in the arm, the box office had been enduring one of the most bummer summers in its history. Dismal performances from several of the other major releases have led to a huge uptick in gloom and doom media commentary about the state of the industry. And now that worry has spread beyond just the talking heads, it’s being felt by our entire entertainment community.

And that’s a huge community of people here in LA! A community that is filled with some of the most imaginative individuals in the world. And people blessed with big imaginations tend to think, shall we say, more “creatively” about their problems… When they take notice, it leads to them thinking very deeply about it. And that thinking can very often lead to their concern. And their concern frequently leads them to fixation. And, for many in Hollywood, that fixation is leading them straight into an all-out festival of panic!

And to add fuel on top of this already-raging, bonkers fire in the industry, we also have the emergence of AI giving us yet another reason to panic. Right now, many are having a hard time seeing it for what it actually is as opposed to it’s former identity as a threat from dystopian sci-fi movies in which machines become sentient and decide they want to kill us. But many creative professionals believe their fear truly has some merit and they see AI as a major existential threat. A threat which they feel affects them in the place where they are most vulnerable…their very ability to be creative and be properly recognized for their contributions.

Consider the fact that creative people with big imaginations inadvertently also tend to be experts at catastrophizing aka the symptom of anxiety that causes one to fixate on all the worst possible outcomes of a situation. And the longer one stays fixated on worst-case scenarios, the more they doubt their ability to endure difficult times. Thus, I believe it’s more important now than ever for us to learn how to tell our anxiety to take a seat as we move forward into an uncertain future. As both a therapist and a 15-year former member of the entertainment business myself, I offer the following considerations to all those out there who have found themselves caught up, stressed-out and stranded in our shutdown town:



There is no point in resisting the future and the changes it will bring. We must embrace change. Also, creative people especially should remember to embrace uncertainty because it has long been viewed as a key element to the overall artistic process. Thus, if we can embrace uncertainty, it can open us up to taking more risks. And we desperately need more risk-taking in Hollywood these days. I really believe it’s long overdue for a comeback.

And, if it helps, remember that past times of upheaval in Hollywood have usually led to major new innovations. For example, the last major strike in 2007-2008 jump started the era of streaming content which then led us to the era of “peak TV” over the last decade. It also led to the explosion of reality TV…but admittedly, that may not comfort some! However, the true wisdom here is that, no matter what the future brings, we have the most control over the changes that can be made within ourselves.


Seriously…don’t get too caught up in it! If you are a creative professional, rest assured it will never be able to offer what you offer. Ultimately, AI is only algorithms and code. No matter how good it is at mimicking humans, it will always remain a lifeless and soulless system. It can only eternally strive for what it ultimately can never achieve.

AI is a paper tiger when matched up against the profound talent of human creativity. Yes, it has become a disruptive force in many industries and may compete with humans in many ways. But have no fear, there is one thing that AI will never be able to compete with us over. And that is our capacity for genuine emotions and original thought. In this, there is no contest whatsoever. And there never will be.


Now more than ever, is the time to call in the big guns. The stuff that many often take for granted…breathing practices, meditation, yoga, grounding techniques, gratitude, etc. All are simple things, but can be challenging to fully integrate into our busy lives. However, you should know that mindfulness can be your secret weapon in the midst of this current chaos.

Mindfulness practices simply help you to become aware of the unique patterns of your own mind. When problems arise, mindfulness gives you the ability to focus and redirect your mind. The shutdowns have brought us excessive worrying about our uncertain future. But that’s just it…our worries tend to be future-focused. Mindfulness teaches you to observe your negative thoughts and emotions as they come and go in the present moment. Using this awareness, you can avoid constantly fixating on all possible future outcomes and instead direct your focus to what is happening in the moment.


In this city, multitudes are currently being drawn together under a purposeful effort. Even in difficult times, a great positive energy is created when that happens. Wherever possible, you should take advantage of this spirit of goodwill and camaraderie by joining together with our community.

People say a lot about LA. They say that we are all so disconnected from each other and so divided with no interest in supporting each other. But if you just take a look under the surface, you can see that’s not true. This town is actually a lot smaller than it seems. From my experience, I have learned that our community of entertainment professionals are actually one of the most internally supportive groups that we have. Don’t miss out on this historical chance to come together with the community and offer your care and cooperation.


Avoid bottling it all up inside of you. You know…all that anger, frustration and resentment. Don’t let these things go ignored or unrecognized. Now is the time to call upon your friends, family or a therapist for emotional support. Talk to them and share how you feel. When the shutdown finally ends, you don’t want to continue carrying all these negative emotions into the next phase. Humans tend to do that after we’ve been isolating ourselves during tough times. Remember that this time is going to pass…and you can let those negative feelings pass with it.

Movies have taught us that nothing creates more suspense than a good cliffhanger. And right now, we are all on the hook waiting to see what’s next. Until then, try to find the opportunity within the crisis. Therapy is for more than just helping us to manage life’s obstacles…it can also bring us personal transformation. If you want to turn your experience of this showbiz shutdown into a chance to evolve into a better version of yourself, then consider working with an anxiety therapist in Los Angeles. You really don’t have to do it alone. And remember that one enduring message from all picket lines that says: We are stronger together!


Related posts


Life Awaits, Start Today!

Contact Us Today!

By checking this box, I agree to receive SMS from Beverly Hills Therapy Group to the phone number provided.
Please Select Captcha to Submit

Connect with us

A boutique for your mind
Call Now! (888) 494-7788