Nov 13, 2023 - News

Georgia ready to roll cameras after Hollywood strikes

Illustration of a peach drawn on a clapboard.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A 118-day Hollywood actors' strike that paralyzed film and TV production in Atlanta and elsewhere is (tentatively) over, and cameras in Georgia are ready to roll.

Why it matters: Film and TV productions spent an estimated $4.1 billion in Georgia in 2022 — much of that in and around Atlanta — and the industry employs thousands of workers.

Driving the news: In a statement Wednesday night, SAG-AFTRA said the deal was valued at over $1 billion and contains "unprecedented provisions for consent and compensation that will protect members from the threat of AI" as well as a "streaming participation bonus."

  • Under the deal, performers and background actors must give consent for studios to create digital replicas, CNN reports.
  • Georgia-based productions including "Will Trent" and "Hysteria" are among the local series expected to start production likely after Thanksgiving, Deadline reports.

Catch up quick: The studios and Hollywood writers' union reached a deal in September after a 148-day strike that began in May. The contract was overwhelmingly ratified by 99% of Writers Guild of America members who voted on it.

  • Studios then turned their attention to cutting a deal with the actors' union, called SAG-AFTRA, who began striking alongside the WGA in July.

The big picture: The first dual-strike in Hollywood in 63 years brought the industry to a six-month standstill, one of the lengthiest work stoppages in the industry's history.

  • In addition to actors, set crews and other production workers, the strike squeezed everyone from hardware stores to everyday businesses like caterers and dry cleaners, Wilbur Fitzgerald, an Atlanta actor whose IMDB runs from the "In the Heat of the Night" TV series to "Pitch Perfect 3," told Axios.

What's next: Be on the lookout for those yellow signs with jumbles of letters and code names on utility poles around town.

  • Stephen G. Weizenecker, an Atlanta entertainment lawyer who advises film and video game companies, told Axios that productions "have been building toward this and they're ready to go ahead."
  • Earlier this year, he noted, the Georgia Department of Revenue said movies and TV series that started shooting this year and halted production because of the strike could still claim expenses to qualify for the state's tax credit.
  • "I think you're going to see a bunch of stuff go back to work right away," he said.

What they're saying: "As soon as production can resume, we are going to blow it out of the water again," Kelsey Moore, the executive director of the Georgia Screen Entertainment Coalition, told the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Yes, but: The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which represents below-the-line crew members such as set and costume designers, opens contract negotiations with the studios next year.

  • An IATSE strike was narrowly averted in 2021, during the last round of labor talks.

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