Film and TV productions anticipate a scramble to restart once strikes end

Hopes run high as the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) continue talks, signifying a heightened commitment to finding a resolution to the protracted labor disputes.

The ongoing strikes have disrupted the entertainment industry significantly, affecting productions, studios, and workers across the board. As the strikes continue, there is growing uncertainty about when they will end, with some feeling a resolution is near and others fearing it may extend into 2024.

One of the major challenges during this time is the uncertainty surrounding production planning. While productions like the The Bear, The Chi, and Chicago P.D., Med, and Fire have long-term leases in place for soundstages and can continue filming as planned, most productions rely on booking stages for specific projects. It’s challenging to make concrete plans, causing many productions to wait in limbo.

Negotiations have been ongoing between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, raising optimism for a potential deal in the coming days or weeks. However, SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union, also has its own strike concerns to address.

To prepare for the eventual end of the strikes, some high-level studio executives, investors, and producers are beginning to review their options. This includes considering how to finalize budgets for 2024 and what resources will be needed to resume production. There’s a sense that those who aren’t ready to act quickly may fall behind when the strikes finally end.

Additionally, some productions are already inquiring about booking soundstages for the period following the strike, as they anticipate a rush to secure available resources once the work stoppage concludes.

The strikes have also impacted the industry’s financial landscape, with questions arising about the level of spending on new entertainment once production resumes. Even before the strikes, some major studios and streaming platforms had slowed down their commissioning of new content in response to financial pressures.

Managing studio space has become especially challenging during the strikes, as some projects were ready to start production, and sets were already built or in mid-production when the strikes began. The disruption has also affected below-the-line crews, many of whom were laid off or furloughed during the strike and will need to be rehired before productions can restart.

Overall, there is a sense of uncertainty and urgency within the industry as stakeholders prepare for the eventual end of the strikes, hoping to navigate the challenges and logistics associated with restarting production.

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