The first Hollywood work stoppage in 16 years—the film and TV industry’s first strike since 2007—has brought many productions to a halt, and even late-night shows like Saturday Night Live have gone dark. As the Writers Guild of America—which represents 11,500 TV and film writers, according to The New York Times—goes up against major Hollywood studios, looking for increases to stagnant wages in the face of the new streaming economy, those of us who love watching stories unfold are now getting to see one develop off-screen.
But what does the stateside strike mean for Nova Scotia sets and crews?
In lieu of a statement to The Coast, today Screen Nova Scotia shared the bulletin it delivered to members when news of the strike broke May 2. “The Writer's Guild of Canada (WGC) has complete jurisdiction over Canadian writers. Productions with Canadian-resident writers working under a Writers Guild of Canada contract will not be impacted,” the note from SNS executive director Laura Mackenzie says. “Productions filming under Writers Guild of America contracts may experience disruptions, as American writers and producers will not be allowed to work on new scripts or make any script changes until negotiations are settled. Traditionally, American labour strikes in our industry have not resulted in picket lines in Canada. If you are a member of the WGC, you may have certain obligations and you should reach out to the WGC directly for direction.”
The memo wraps with Mackenzie adding that SNS members will be updated as the situation continues. For now, industry rumours are swirling that some American-headed shows that shoot in Halifax could experience delays in returning to the province for filming, but both SNS and ACTRA Maritimes, the regional performers guild, have yet to confirm or deny these speculations.