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Georgia Film Industry Braces for Possible Work Stoppage

Georgia Film Industry Braces for Possible Work Stoppage

  In Georgia, film and television production injected $4 billion last year into the state economy - should a strike go into effect, this could halt this industry and the jobs it supports. As it's been nearly 10 years since an industry strike occurred in Atlanta, it will affect thousands of crew members living here. Linda Burns of the Atlanta Film Society says a strike can have long-term repercussions for Georgia's entertainment sector. Writers Guild of America If the Writers Guild of America (WGA) goes on strike, it could create serious ripples through Georgia's film industry. Over 20,000 crew members - writers, costume and set designers as well as hair and makeup artists - could be directly impacted. The WGA has long advocated for increased wages, improved healthcare and pension benefits for its members, as well as compensation for any unused work when their TV shows are repurposed for streaming. They wish to disincentivize artificial intelligence (AI) software from creating new scripts from previous work; furthermore they wish to dissuade companies from asking them to rewrite draft scripts generated by AI software. Content has already been written for streaming services and movie studios well in advance, minimizing their immediate effect. But an extended strike could delay broadcast network seasons 2023-24 as well as result in late-night shows, daytime soap operas and some comedy series being postponed until further notice. This labor dispute has been simmering for months, but is expected to become an urgent one in the summer when many shows begin filming and are scheduled for airing. A strike would postpone the launch of network TV season which usually begins in September. Strikes pose serious economic impacts, as they cost jobs and reduce spending on entertainment. The 2007 writers' strike cost California economy $2.1 billion alone. During that strike, many TV shows shortened or discontinued production altogether; during that period unscripted reality shows such as Big Brother and The Amazing Race became increasingly popular. As media evolves from traditional broadcast and cable programs to streaming platforms, TV writers could potentially face further layoffs and decreased wages as companies like Amazon, Netflix and Disney reduce staff to increase profit margins on their streaming services. The WGA, whose members work on most television and film programs you watch, is demanding higher wages, better healthcare benefits and compensation when their programs are repurposed for streaming; however, Netflix, CBS and Disney do not meet those demands. Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers Georgia's film industry is an integral component of its economy, employing thousands of workers and contributing billions in economic impact. However, a potential writers strike could stop productions nationwide and cripple productions nationwide. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, representing Hollywood studios and streaming companies, are in negotiations with Writers Guild of America over writers' compensation. Their contract expires May 1 and close to 98 percent of their members have authorized a strike if an agreement cannot be reached between producers and writers by then. As to what a strike would entail for Georgia's film industry, its effects remain uncertain; however, work stoppage can cause serious disruptions for productions that have already started shooting or scheduling; for instance, it may prevent directors from making script changes and actors from getting involved with character arcs. If a writers strike occurs, producers and directors should evaluate what changes must be made within their teams. Communicate any concerns to actors and VFX teams as soon as possible and ensure that they have an understanding of characters' arcs prior to any strike starting. Strikes have long had an adverse impact on new seasons of television shows. A notable strike that occurred in 2007 affected several popular U.S. programs such as "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live". But its effect on scripted series and films won't be felt immediately; long-term strikes won't really hit until summer or autumn when writing for those seasons typically begins; even then, however, Netflix and other online streaming services might not be negatively impacted because they tend to avoid U.S. productions as much due to having access to production facilities abroad. International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees IATSE represents thousands of crew members working across film, television, trade shows and Broadway. Established in 1893, this union boasts 150,000 members spanning cinematographers, camera operators, makeup artists, hair stylists and script coordinators who all represent every facet of entertainment. But an upcoming strike authorization vote may put film production nationwide on hold. The vote authorizes IATSE's president to call a strike should negotiations between producers and studios continue to stall; should he do so, some projects could be affected while others might remain uninterrupted. IATSE locals in production hub states have in the past gone on strike; but this marks the first national work stoppage authorized by their union. Hollywood studios and networks are in negotiations with IATSE for new contracts; should this fail, thousands of IATSE workers could stage a strike and shut down Hollywood production. Celebrities and politicians alike are backing the potential work stoppage, with actresses Seth Rogen and Jane Fonda leading on social media to advocate for it. Filmmakers however, say the union demands will only make competing with streaming services like Netflix harder. As film production and streaming continue to surge in the 21st century, IATSE members have voiced concerns that they aren't receiving sufficient money for their efforts, citing long working hours required to produce projects. They demand better pay, longer rest periods and an increase in streaming profits as part of a better work/life balance policy. However, studios and networks using work stoppage as leverage are using it as a bargaining chip in an increasingly streaming landscape. Even if an agreement can be reached by both sides, production costs have likely already skyrocketed significantly. Studio owners have prioritized two areas when negotiating with IATSE: safety protocols and labor law compliance. Their goal is to limit any gains by IATSE in these areas for various reasons, including: Georgia Film Office An apparent rift within the Georgia Film Office has put its film industry at risk. Though unions continue to negotiate with producers and actors, Michael Burns, Georgia's film commissioner warned that a strike could have serious repercussions for Georgia's economy. Georgia boasts one of the nation's largest film industries, welcoming productions from all over the globe for all forms of media. Recently, tax credit incentives and more permanent studios opening in Atlanta have led to an explosion of productions coming into Georgia. Georgia is not only known for major motion picture production but also boasts an abundance of commercials and television series productions, such as Lazor Wulf, Squidbillies and Archer series from Adult Swim and FXX respectively. Georgia's music video production industry employs thousands of workers and provides employment to local talent. Popular artists like Bow Wow, Ciara, Ludacris, R.E.M. Third Day and T.I. have all chosen Georgia as their filming location for music videos shot within its borders. Deliverance (1972) brought Georgia filmmaking into Hollywood's consciousness. Based on James Dickey's novel of the same name, it stars Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox, Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight as a group of businessmen trapped on a raft in an isolated mountain valley who go to great lengths to escape. It was both critical and commercial success, helping kick-start production in Georgia. Due to its success, other projects began shooting there - including Smokey and the Bandit (starring Burt Reynolds again), which launched a car chase movie trend. Georgia offers diverse locations, attractive financial incentives, quality crew and equipment providers and professional support services that make Georgia an ideal setting for filmmaking projects of all kinds. The Georgia Film Office can assist in finding what you need for your project; whether that is renting sound stages or production offices our location scouts and consultants will find the space that meets all of your criteria quickly and efficiently. Plus our wide range of resources and expertise will get your production up and running fast.

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