Massachusetts

Here's How the Hollywood Writers Strike Is Affecting Mass. Businesses

The Massachusetts film industry has grown in recent years, and businesses are waiting to see what happens after the Writers Guild of America went on strike

NBC Universal, Inc.

The Massachusetts film industry is preparing for what could be a long and difficult labor dispute after Hollywood writers walked off the job.

Members of the Writers Guild of America hit the picket lines Tuesday, seeking better pay and working conditions because of increased demands for content.

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Local businesses that depend on the production of movies and TV shows are watching to see what happens.

"Nobody wants to start something if they don't know the endgame," said Dan Diaz of Westerman Equipment.

The Worcester company is the largest prop shop in New England, so a prolonged strike in Hollywood wouldn't be good for business or the state's burgeoning film industry.

"If there's no shows filming or if they can't film, we won't be able to rent out any of the props," Diaz said.

"We're in a major reset in our industry right now because of the advent streaming, and the way the industry has changed, that the way these contracts and the way the crews are treated also need to change," said Ryan Cook, a Hollywood location manager.

The late-night TV shows have gone dark, and the rest of the industry is preparing for more of the same thing. At Marina Studios in Quincy, where "Whitney Houston" I Wanna Dance With Somebody" was shot, a production scheduled to start in two weeks has been put off because of the all uncertainty.

"You're going to see a lot of projects that are going to hold off and wait until a couple months from now for everything, the dust to settle," Cook said.

Massachusetts isn't New York City or LA, but Hollywood has taken a shine to the Bay State in recent years, especially because of attractive tax credits. Some fear the strike could hurt efforts to make Massachusetts creative destination for filmmakers.

"We've been building an infrastructure, and it's really just, really kicked off in the past few years," Diaz said. "It just comes at a bad time, but it'll work out."

The other Hollywood unions are backing the writers, given dramatic changes they're also seeing and experiencing in the industry as well.

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