Writer’s strike impacting movie productions, job opportunities in Louisiana

Published: May. 18, 2023 at 4:47 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Hollywood South is not what it used to be due to picket lines in Los Angeles. Hundreds of people working in the local movie production industry feel the writer’s strike’s impact.

During last year’s post-COVID surge, as many as 15 movie productions simultaneously took place in Southeast Louisiana.

But, the local film industry has slowed to a crawl since 11,000 members of the Writers Guild of America began walking picket lines in Los Angeles three weeks ago.

Writers are demanding more money from the scripts they write for streaming services. They also want limitations set on the role of artificial intelligence in moviemaking, and the strike is now moving into its third week.

“Right now there are productions standing by waiting on a resolution of this, and that is impacting us because normally we would have several other productions on the ground employing more people,” said Cory Parker with IATSE Local 478.

While the writer’s strike has caused picket lines to sprout up in other parts of the country, where there are few signs of the production slowing down, except for equipment piling up and places like this Ice House in Kenner.

Owner Joe Ricca has a fleet of catering trailers and ice machines sitting idle on his lot in Kenner because there are now just three regional productions underway.

“We are down 100%, we don’t have any. Normally we would be on five or six movies, depending on what’s in town and which film,” said Ricca.

The stoppage affects actors, photographers and people who work in the craft industries that make movie production possible.

“We would probably have 10 more shows on the ground here that would be paying 2,000 more people if this was not happening,” said Parker.

This is the worst movie production slowdown since COVID. Before that, a writer’s strike in 2007 shut down production for 100 days.

“It is something we need writers to be very successful on. They have the full support of our crew. We just wish it was a fast process so we could jump back into the workforce,” said Parker.

But at this point, no one knows when that might happen.

Other dark clouds are looming for the movie industry if and when the writers’ strike is settled. The union representing actors has also served notice. They may also strike over some of the same residual and AI issues facing the writer’s guild.

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