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April 28, 2017

April 28th News Report from your Los Angeles Representative

Happy Friday everyone,

This week's edition is entirely concerned with the potential writers' strike, which is entirely fitting, as industry stakeholders in Los Angeles and beyond talked about little else this week.

The Los Angeles Times ran a series of articles this week, including the widely expected news that WGA members have voted to authorize a strike if a settlement is not reached before the May 1st expiration of their current contract. As detailed below, although the vote is largely seen as a negotiating tactic to put pressure on the studios, it moves the union one step closer to a work stoppage that would have widespread repercussions throughout the film and TV industry.
http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-writers-guild-strike-authorization-20170424-story.html

The Times has also started to look in detail at how small local businesses, dependent on production, will cope in the event of a strike. As reported below, one LA-based picture car company is about to auction one third of its vehicles in an effort to increase liquidity. http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-strike-small-businesses-20170424-htmlstory.html

However devastating a strike could be to live action production, the Times reported that it is likely to be business as usual in the animation industry. As detailed below, animation scribes are not subject to the Writers Guild of America contracts that govern other movies and television shows: most animated film and TV writing falls within the reach of the Animation Guild, which is part of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which is not threatening to hit the picket lines. Also, some studios, such as Disney-owned Pixar, aren’t signatories to any union.
http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-writers-strike-animation-20170426-story.html

The Times also reported on NBC Universal's release of some very impressive quarterly earnings numbers this week. Amidst the positive numbers was optimism from Chief Executive Steve Burke, who said, regarding a potential deal, “I’m hopeful we’re going to get it done.”
http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-nbcuniversal-comcast-earnings-20170427-story.html

Finally this week, the Hollywood Reporter talked to junior and mid-level TV writers who make up the bulk of the guild's working members, about the issues behind the current negotiations. As reported below, many of the rank and file consider the last walkout - which lasted 100 days - to have been a huge success.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/tv-writers-speak-strike-plans-why-last-walkout-was-a-huge-success-998042

Warmest regards,
Kelly

Kelly Graham-Scherer
Los Angeles Representative
Toronto/ Ontario Film Office

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