When Writers Strike, LA Feels It ... Everywhere. And More Headlines
If you took a drive past major studios and streaming companies like Paramount Pictures, Amazon, Walt Disney Co. and Netflix yesterday, you likely saw several people with picket signs with the words “Writers Guild of America On Strike." The WGA, the union that supports TV and film writers, and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers failed to reach a contractual agreement on Monday night.
Writers On Strike
This is the web version of our How To LA newsletter. Sign up here to get this newsletter sent to your inbox each weekday morning
For the first time in 15 years, Hollywood writers are putting down their pencils for things like more pay; a better share of supplementary compensation, like residuals; and for an expansion of protections for all television writers. Late night TV has already gone dark because of the strike, but there are broader ripple effects when writers walk off the job.
In the latest podcast episode of How To LA, host Brian De Los Santos spoke with veteran entertainment reporter and host of LAist Studios Retake podcast, John Horn, about the impact of the 2007-2008 strike and what might happen this time around. Already, people across the industry — art directors, electricians, costume designers and others — have been feeling the effects of a work slow down just due to the anticipation of picket lines. Now that the strike is on, some contemplate a career change if it continues for too long.
“I have a friend who has decided to work in a different industry altogether,” said Kedra Dawkins, an art director with credits like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. “I have another friend who is struggling with health insurance and myself, I am looking at six months out of work — longer than the pandemic.”
Businesses outside of entertainment could also be affected — the restaurants, the florists…even the gas stations.
My colleague Josie Huang spoke to Amber Dedman, manager of the Mediterranean restaurant Sotta, which is in Burbank, just down the street from Disney and Warner Bros. “I just found out about the strike. So I'm still calculating, in my mind, how we'll be able to fluctuate,” said Dedman. “I feel like we're reverting back to almost COVID times where it was scary. And that's just something that I am fearful of.”
The strike 15 years ago lasted 100 days and cost the industry an estimated $2.1 billion in economic losses and more than 37,000 jobs connected directly and indirectly to the entertainment business.
Who knows how long this current strike will last but stay tuned to our reporting on LAist for all the updates.
As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.
(After you stop hitting snooze)
- The long-troubled Los Angeles County Probation Department continues to go through disorder after the interim chief resigned. My colleague Frank Stoltze has the details about the turmoil.
- L.A. County approved a decision to ramp up the number of treatment beds for people living with mental illness after they leave jail. My colleague Robert Garrova has more information on what the Board of Supervisors wants to do.
- Unhoused veterans are set to get some new housing on the West L.A. Veterans Affairs campus but the VA is years behind its promise to create 1,200 new units. There are an estimated 4,000 vets who are experiencing homelessness in L.A.
- The California Reparations Task Force is considering “down payments” of varying amounts for Black Californians. The task force has a July 1 deadline to confirm their recommendations to state lawmakers.
- There’s nothing like eggs, bacon and pancakes with another good conversationalist…especially inside an L.A. diner. My colleague Erick Galindo gave us a list of his top six delicious diners that hit the right spot.
*At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding!
Wait! One More Thing....
A Look Back At How The Last Writers Strike Impacted Late Night TV
Just to keep with the theme of the day here, I want to take a little trip on this Way Back In The Day in L.A. Wednesday to the last time writers dropped their pencils for better work conditions: 2007-2008. That was the era of some of America’s favorite shows of all time, like The Office, Two and a Half Men and Grey’s Anatomy. Many of those scripted shows ended up with shortened seasons. But on this trip, we’re going to specifically focus on what happened to late night television during the 100-day strike.
My colleague Mike Roe has 12 “blast from the past” videos that show how late night shows like Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Late Show with David Letterman all managed to keep the cameras rolling while the writers were out of the room.
I gotta say, the creativity is pretty inspiring! Check it out here.
Got something you’ve always wanted to know about Southern California and the people who call it home? Is there an issue you want us to cover? Ask us anything.
Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know.