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Could Hollywood Strike Tomorrow?

If you haven’t heard anything about the impending strike in Hollywood yet, get with the times. Strike talk looms over anything and everything reported out of Tinseltown lately. Major movie studios are rushing into production on as many movies as possible in order to stockpile titles in case film work grinds to a halt. TV studios are stockpiling scripts in the hope that they’ll have enough to get them through the drought. Most of the time when you hear strike talk, it’s June 30 of next year that’s thrown out as the start of this mess, but the strike, or at least part of it, could actually end up starting any day now.

It’s the Screen Actors Guild’s contract which runs out on June 30th, sending all of Hollywood’s famous faces to the streets with picket signs should no agreement be reached. But the Writers Guild of America is having similar negotiating troubles, and their contract runs out at the end of this month. According to WGA negotiating team member Terry George, they may not even wait that long.

George spoke with the guys over at Blackfilm on the subject of his guild’s strike, and while it might make more sense for them to wait and strike next year with SAG for maximum impact, he sounds like he’s ready to start shouting “we’re not gonna take it anymore!”. When asked about the possibility of an early strike George says, “It depends. There’s been nothing offered. There’s been no ability to talk at the minute. They haven’t come up with anything on a discussion where you can sit down and actually have a conversation about. We are going to vote on an authorization to strike, the Guild; the whole membership will give the committee the authorization to call a strike. I think it will be almost unanimous.”

George doesn’t get too specific, but he sounds a little pissed off by Hollywood’s recent move to rush as much into production as possible in order to circumvent the effectiveness of a possible strike. He says, “They obviously have tactics that they are lining up to deal with us. They’ve already bagged a lot of stuff. But it seems enormous greedy of them of what they are doing at the minute.”

Writers are a notoriously poor bunch, and George acknowledges that it may be tough for their members to stay out on strike long enough for them to be joined by the Actors six months from now. It really makes sense for them to wait, since Americans are likely to care more if they see George Clooney holding a picket sign, but will then? Should the writers strike now, don’t expect your television to shut down or movie theaters to close. If the strike comes, whenever it comes, it’ll take time before the effects are all that evident to most of us. At worst, you’ll have to sit through a few more reruns. Maybe it’d even be a good thing. Imagine a world where Hollywood is forced to start re-releasing classics in theaters as a way of keeping them open. I’d love the chance to catch Back to the Future on a big screen, or maybe spend an evening at the cinema watching Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Bring on the strike, and open up the vault.