Actors as well as film and TV writers have embarked on separate but aligned strikes in order to achieve better wages and conditions which has taken a large toll on productions across North America.
Now, the impacts have spread beyond Hollywood and into the Canadian film industry, including Vancouver Island’s productions. .
The Writers Guild of America (WGA), which represents 11,500 screenwriters, went on strike over ongoing labor disputes with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on May 2nd.
This strike brought an early end to many productions, most noticeably, late night talk shows like Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live.
Since then, on July 14th, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have also gone on a historic strike, the first major actors strike since 1980.
The actors strike resulted in a more noticeable ripple effect through the film industry that has been felt in Vancouver and depending on how long it endures, will impact Vancouver Island’s film workers as well.
“We recognize that this is going to be a very difficult summer for our local crew,” said Kathleen Gilbert, Film Commissioner for Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission.
“Reginald Vampire has just wrapped, so there are a lot of local crew members that are going to be looking for work.”
“Our hope is that they will quickly come to an agreement that is fair for all parties. We recognize that these are difficult and complex issues that they’re dealing with, but we also know that our local crew and actors really just want to work,” Gilbert added.
She told Victoria Buzz that although there are no active productions in Victoria, and that producers had anticipated the looming strike was possible months before it began.
Ever since the writers strike started, many productions that would normally be in full-swing delayed their shoots or made plans to finish before the actors guild embarked on their strike.
There are approximately 800 local crew members on southern Vancouver Island who will be directly affected by this as well as hundreds of actors and background performers.
The ripple effect of the parallel strikes don’t stop with those in the film industry though. There are hundreds of businesses such as caterers and designers who also make money from having productions come to Victoria and Vancouver Island as a whole.
However, Gilbert says there are other ways to get work in the industry while the strikes continue.
“We are hoping that Canadian shows, reality TV and commercials will help to keep some of our local crew employed,” she explained.
At this point neither guild has sat down at a negotiations table and the summer may be spent in a sort of limbo while those in the local film industry wait patiently for a resolution.