There is an African proverb — “When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.”
With the ongoing WGA and SAG/AFTRA strikes with the AMPTP, many businesses and residents who aren’t striking have been affected. I am a longtime talent agent. During the past strikes and the COVID-19 lockdown, times became tough. This time is much tougher.
When actors aren’t working, talent reps make no money. Productions don’t rent equipment. Dry cleaners don’t clean costumes. Look at the film credits. Every division is at a standstill.
My family went to the Tallyrand on Sunday and instead of a long wait, there were plenty of tables. I was told the weekday business was way done. The Sunday before, we had a similar situation at Paty’s. My dentist has patients postponing services.
More and more buildings have for-lease signs. This didn’t have to happen. Even if all is settled soon, productions will need time to restart.
All of us support the goals of both guilds. However, we have government officials to step in and help.
We have received support and guidance from various local offices, including Rep. Adam Schiff’s staff, state Sen. Anthony Portantino and his staff, Vice Mayor Nick Schultz and, particularly, Mayor Konstantine Anthony.
We have needed Gov. Gavin Newsom, who must have been in Switzerland, because he was so hands off as the state has lost $5 billion in the past five months. I was envious of the people of Michigan after reading and seeing Gov. Gretchen Whitner’s involvement in the UAW Strikes.
The state, local government and congressional reps did great work bringing production back to Burbank and California. We need to focus on keeping business and industry personnel here. The state and federal government should also budget funds to assist the support businesses who are affected.
Let’s hope 2024 lacks drama!
First published in the September 23 print issue of the Burbank Leader.