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In a follow up to Monday’s Blog, seems the battle between the factions within SAG have dimmed the chances of a Strike.  Yeah!  According to Richard Verrier, writing for the Los Angeles Times Business section, Monday’s SAG board meeting to discuss the divisions over the Strike referendum became a “tug-of-war” over Doug Allen’s future with SAG.  Allen was hired by the union as chief negotiator for the new contract.  His role was to bring a new toughness to the negotiations, but it has only caused a growing rift between the membership.  After close to a 30-hour meeting on Monday into Tuesday, a majority of the board failed to oust Allen, but they did succeed in neutralizing him and his principal supporter, SAG President Alan Rosenberg.  According to the Hollywood Reporter, the meeting included allegations of voter fraud and an eight-hour debate on extending the meeting for three hours.  Yikes!  As I stated in my previous Blog, SAG must reconcile their own huge divisions before they authorize a strike.  That’s what they did at the WGA and that is why that Strike had the support, including SAG, of many of us in other positions in the film and television business.  As our concern grows with the deteriorating economic situation of the Country, it comes as a relief to know that there won’t be a work stoppage in our business as well.

On the other hand, in the same section of today’s LA Times, Verrier writes that feature film production in Los Angeles County is at its lowest level since tracking began in 1993.  Now part of the 2008 falloff was due to the Writer’s Strike and concern on the walkout by the actors, but with a 46% drop in the fourth quarter of 2008, we must begin questioning California’s competitiveness in the marketplace.   The film permit company, FilmLA President Paul Audley is quoted as stating, “we should stop talking about runaway production.  It’s ran-away production.”  We’re feeling the effect at Unconventional Media, with more production in prep in New Orleans and in Nashville, then here at the Los Angeles office.  We’ve got to figure a way to bring back the big dollar film productions and high end commercials that generate thousands of jobs and revenue instead of losing them to the incentives offered in Michigan, New York and Louisiana.  According to the article, only Reality TV, with an 8% increase has risen in Los Angeles production this last year.  That’s a bit of reality I’d rather not hear.

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