Is the WGA strike actually impacting Los Angeles?

The impending threat of a strike resulted in a rush to production of several TV and film shoots, curbing an anticipated drop in location shoots for 2007.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

On-location filming in Los Angeles fell 1% in 2007, but if not for the writers strike and the threat of further labor unrest this year, that decline could have been even steeper.

And Mark Lacter of LA Biz Observed writes that a recent unemployment report reflects no impact by the strike:

In fact, the entertainment industry category actually increased by 800 jobs from November (and by 4,100 jobs from a year earlier).

Lacter also scoffs at the notion that Los Angeles is an “industry town” in regards to entertainment, citing an analogy that if a meteor wiped out film and TV makers here, the city would be just fine.

This theory is seriously flawed, as people flock to Los Angeles from all over the world to work in entertainment. Whether these people become successful or not, many stay and take up other occupations.

Lacter’s theory also discounts the tourism the entertainment industry attracts, as well as the old (and new) money that goes to everyone working in service jobs employed by studio employees, actors, etc.

On the flip side, I think anyone would be blind to believe that the entertainment industry is reliant on Los Angeles. Between the ease of telecommuting, and digital filmmaking and distribution, the need for L.A. to be a hub and production center is eroding. So whether or not Lacter is right, Los Angeles needs to begin preparing to become less dependent on the entertainment biz.

7 Replies to “Is the WGA strike actually impacting Los Angeles?”

  1. I will be sure to tell all my friends that they are not out of a job, after all, but in fact have… more jobs? They will be so relieved.

  2. Lacter’s got to be a shill for the AMPTP. Everyone I know who works in the industry is out of a job right now. It’s amazing how one can make numbers work to prove whatever it is that they want to prove. I hate math.

  3. Lacter’s just citing numbers provided to him – his Los Angeles Magazine piece (linked to via the article I linked) is actually quite good. Still, it doesn’t make an effort to explain how those numbers were reached, and certainly doesn’t reflect an industry wide shut down.

  4. I just got a haircut from a girl who moved here from Minnesota to be an actress. There are thousands of industry people here working “real” jobs while trying to make it. What if those people suddenly left? I would be curious to see some numbers on what size of L.A.’s population is involved in some aspect of the business.

    But, maybe Lacter is right. People do move here for the clean air, low crime rates, and affordable housing. And the tacos.

  5. The janitor’s strike had a larger effect on the local economy/community but recieved far less media coverage. Which is why this strike is so darn annoying and the reason I say to you people continuously reporting this mess “get over your selfish selves already”!

    I actually empathize with the striking writers, but this overly sensational nonstop media heel licking makes me totally apathetic, like how they overcover Malibu and the foothills. Oh god, now its a big deal because its in my part of town, boo freaken hoo.

  6. Although the visibility of the Writer’s Strike is probably greater than any other LA based strike in recent memory, the actual impact isn’t that great. Although entertainment is probably the industry most associated with Los Angeles, it is by no means the city’s primary engine.

    When the ILWU was locked out of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in 2003, the estimated national impact was over $1 billion per day. The dollar role of Hollywood in the local economy is way, way secondary, when compared to the roles of manufacturing, retail and transport industries locally. And don’t forget, this strike is by no means shutting down the entertainment industry, just a portion of it.

    That being said, the writers are right to strike, and I’ve got their back.

Comments are closed.