(Toronto) A strike by American screenwriters is also affecting Canadian productions, while many Hollywood shoots are being produced in Canada. children Prime Video in Toronto, and Personal matter From Netflix in Vancouver.
Last week, the Writers Guild of America called its strike after negotiations with motion picture and television producers broke down over a myriad of complex issues, including wages and staffing levels.
Patti Henderson, a costume designer in Vancouver, notes the sudden drop in shoots hiring local crew.
The Writers Guild of America’s decision last week to drop their pens for picketing prompted immediate uncertainty about the status of current and upcoming American productions filming in Canada.
“There’s really nothing on our list of upcoming products, if you will. It’s really hurting a lot of people here,” he says, adding that the situation for young people starting their careers is very difficult.
The Vancouver Film Bureau reports a drop in applications for filming permits, while the Toronto Film Bureau sees less scouting activity.
“Productions were slow and cautious about getting the green light or the start of production, the start of production, because they didn’t know whether or not they would be affected by the strike,” says Toronto Film Commissioner Marguerite Pigot.
At least “one big production” is on hold after the May 2 walkout, he said, without revealing anything about the project other than that it “hired many, many people over time.”
Vancouver Film Commissioner Jeff Theoli estimates that permit applications in the past 90 days are down 40-50% compared to the same period last year.
He says the decline is not unique to Vancouver or due to the strike, but is part of a broader shift in the global market as broadcasters and producers rethink the way they create content.
He observes little impact so far in Vancouver, as most American productions already underway can proceed with already completed scripts that do not require the work of a screenwriter. But “if the strike goes on, there is a high risk that they will run out of supplies to continue”.
Victoria Shen of the Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) said no production was halted and Canadian guild members — many of whom hold dual WGA and WGC membership — have no right to accept work covered by the strike. WGA members who live in the United States are also not allowed to work on the Canadian show while the dispute continues.
Meanwhile, more labor disputes could soon arise, as the Directors Guild of America and the American Society of Performing Artists, known as SAG-AFTRA, both have contracts that expire on June 30.
A Canadian Media Producers Association economic report released last week found that foreign-made productions — almost all of which originated in the U.S. — spent $6.7 billion on Canadian filming and employed 141,140 jobs between 1R April 2021 and March 31, 2022.
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