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David Poland

By David Poland

The One Where Hollywood Shuts Down Without A Strike

Others have spoken to this, but I think it demands a headline…
New film production will stop around Tax Day if productive talks that seem to mean avoiding a strike are not well underway by then. As with so many of the windmills of the WGA strike, it’s not personal… It’s math.
Many of you know this already, but if you are mid-production with a flawed script, things are not optimal, but you don’t shut down either. If the actors walk, however, you do. That minute. Forever.
A SAG strike, even in the last week of production of an 8 week shoot is a disaster.
So, even if there never is a SAG strike, months of work can be lost. This time, it is a movie problem in a real way.
This is not to say that SAG shouldn’t strike if they feel they aren’t getting a good deal in bargaining. In fact, the ongoing threat of a SAG strike are far more potent than WGA’s were, if only because the economies of the WGA strike, for the studios, will not be revisited. A SAG strike would hurt from Day One and never stop hurting. Even reality programs would be hit, with star and host talent unlikely to be willing to cross the lines, even out of jurisdiction (meaning talk shows again).
This may all seem obvious to many of you, but like I said, it needs pointing to. Late June feels far away and people need time to heal. But the clock has started… And we’re just 2 months away from the first major shots across the bow.

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9 Responses to “The One Where Hollywood Shuts Down Without A Strike”

  1. Working AD says:

    SAG could end all the apprehension by opening talks. Of course, that would require them to have completed their W&W’s and have selected their negotiators. The first process is just beginning and the second process hasn’t begun yet. It sounds like they’re hoping to be ready to be able to talk at the end of next month. In other words, at the very last second possible. (What has been described to me as “crisis negotiating”)
    Let’s just hope that they’ve actually got a plan for negotiation rather than just the idea of more saber rattling. Their irresponsible statements regarding the DGA/WGA contracts did not show any forethought.
    And I’m really hoping they’re not going to try to start a battle with the AMPTP at the same time as a battle with AFTRA, and then try to manage a strike without the coordination that the WGA did bring when they went out.

  2. jeffmcm says:

    Okay, maybe I’m an idiot, but I see an explanation of how Hollywood shuts down _with_ a SAG strike. How does it shut down without one?

  3. Blackcloud says:

    ^ I think what Dave means is that if there’s any uncertainty at all, productions that would commence before the strike and then get shut down by one however far along they are won’t start up at all. In other words, anything that would be expected to wrap up after the contract expires, even if it’s only two days after, won’t start filming in the first place.

  4. hendhogan says:

    the studios won’t put anything into production that might be jeopardized by a SAG strike. and bond companies will not bond a film they aren’t guaranteed will be able to get completed.
    it becomes a de facto strike like when the actors threatened a theatrical strike after their commercial strike. even though the actual strike didn’t happen, the stock piling by the studios caused a major slowdown in the second half of that year.

  5. martin says:

    I hope they don’t shut down Transformers 2. Otherwise, we might see Bay acting in more commercials:

  6. jeffmcm says:

    Thanks guys, that makes sense, now.

  7. ch2bluelemon says:

    To all… please just keep in mind that even if there’s no official word of a SAG strike, none of the bond company re-insurers will issue a completion guarantee for any movies with shooting schedules with the final shooting wrap deadline crossing no later than June 1, at this current moment.
    Therefore, if your film project is not going to wrap shooting by May 31st, then, your movie can only be approved for full financial greenlight after a probable post-SAG strike date in the eyes of the completion bonders.

  8. Working AD says:

    I believe you mean no later than July 1, with projects theoretically to wrap by June 30, when the SAG contract expires.
    And if SAG truly intends to walk out, they have a heck of a lot of organizing to do in the next four and a half months. And before that, they hopefully have a heck of a lot of negotiating to do.
    It was strange to read some of the hardliners insisting that Hollywood would shut down as of March 1 due to a possible SAG walkout, when it’s been clear that television will be going likely right up to the deadline, and it’s always possible to schedule a feature so that the project finishes by a certain time. Even a 12 week project could be started by April 1 and be done on time. And all of that assumes that SAG won’t simply negotiate a new contract and end all of this speculation until 2011.

  9. Armin Tamzarian says:

    Bond company says June 15 wrap date, guys. Get your ADR done, also.

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