Writers’ pain means others’ gain

Stacey Vanek Smith Jan 22, 2008
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Writers Guild of America West and their supporters walk the picket line outside 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Writers’ pain means others’ gain

Stacey Vanek Smith Jan 22, 2008
Writers Guild of America West and their supporters walk the picket line outside 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: Today in Hollywood, the Academy Award nominees will be announced. Obviously, the writer’s strike still looms as a threat to the Oscar ceremony. But there’s buzz the studios and the writers could start talking informally this week. Stacey Vanek-Smith looks at the pain and the gain so far.


Stacey Vanek-Smith: The writer’s strike is entering its third month. That’s a long time to go without a paycheck. And that’s exactly what many in the entertainment industry have had to do.

Economist Jack Kyser says wages lost because of the strike now total more than $1.5 billion.

Jack Kyser: There was a 16,000 job decline from November to December, and I think that’s where you’d find a lot of people that work in the industry. So multiple impacts, a lot of pain being spread around the county.

But some gain, too.

Racquel Lehrman: We’ve been much, much busier.

Racquel Lehrman owns Theater Planners, a Los Angeles production company that caters to smaller venues. Lehrman says the L.A. theater scene is suddenly booming because out-of-work writers, producers, directors and actors want to work without crossing the picket line.

Lehrman: And now all of the sudden, people that are usually making way more money in film and television are really interested in what we’re doing over here in theaterland.

The strike is also creating opportunities for up-and-comers in Hollywood.

Heitcamp: In some ways, it’s been good for us.

Tommy Heitcamp is with Loose Elephant Theater. It produces theater and humorous videos.

Heitcamp: On this DVD, we’re going to cover everything — from the safety tips to killing your first duck. So stay tuned.

Heitcamp is new to the business, and says the strike means no one is hiring right now. But, he says, it also means companies are willing to take a chance on new people. His partner, David Lindholm, says the strike was a factor in the fledgling company getting hired to create viral video advertisements.

David Lindholm: It’s definitely created an opportunity for us. Because if there were sort of legitimate people for this guy to hirethen he could hire them. But instead it’s us, and so this is our chance to sort of do something while we can.

Still, everyone is hoping the strike will end before the Academy Awards. All of the glitz and glamour surrounding Oscar night bring about $130 million into the city’s economy.

In Los Angeles, I’m Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.

Raise a glass to Marketplace!

Just $7/month gets you a limited edition KaiPA pint glass. Plus bragging rights that you support independent journalism.
Donate today to get yours!