The business has been struggling for years as a result of production halts brought on by the pandemic that started in March 2020. However, business for Valentino’s Costume Group had resumed by last year.

The shop relocated to a North Hollywood location in January that was twice as large as its previous facility in an effort to take advantage of that good fortune.

Actors and screenwriters in Hollywood then went on strike. Co-owner Shon LeBlanc claims that Valentino’s is currently unable to pay its rent.

LeBlanc laments the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers’ apparent lack of urgency in trying to strike a settlement with the unions, saying “My chest is tightening because the money is so tight.” When will the mayor intervene and tell you to do something since you’re ready to bring Los Angeles’ economy to a standstill?

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The Writers Guild of America’s members have been out of work for well over 100 days, and the actors union joined them a month ago. LeBlanc’s is only one of several stories describing the financial reverberations.

There have been many incidents in the entertainment industry.
There are few sectors of the Los Angeles economy that have completely escaped the effects, from studio leases and set construction to dry cleaning for costumes and set transportation.

According to Kevin Klowden, chief strategist of the Milken Institute, a think organization that studies social and economic issues, “a movie set in one day can generate tens of thousands of dollars.” “It could be hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the level of activity.”

The previous writers’ strike, which occurred more than 15 years ago, took three months to end, costing a projected $2.1 billion in lost output. Given how much production costs, locations, and timeliness have changed recently as a result of technical advancements and growing globalization, the number will be more difficult to assess this time.

According to Klowden, “we tend to think of productions as sort of a self-contained thing,” but in reality, a production frequently spans businesses and even nations. He gives the example of how projects are frequently “shipped off” to New Zealand for the inclusion of visual effects. The likelihood of seeing numerous mentions of various tax credits at the conclusion increases with the size of the production.

The dominance of streaming platforms has altered every part of production, from how projects are developed to when they are released, and both guilds are working to address these concerns.

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According to the guild, it has been challenging for authors to make a living because of the use of small staffs, known as “mini rooms” (a play on the idea of the “writers’ room”), for shorter time periods. Protections against the use of artificial intelligence are among the concerns of actors.

Striking writers and actors walk with pickets outside he Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California on Tuesday, July 18, 2023. (Ringo Chiu via AP)

There are no plans for the actors and studios to return to the negotiating table, despite the WGA and the AMPTP’s discussions having resumed.

According to SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher, “I’m not really understanding what the silent treatment is,” she told The Associated Press last week. It might be a tactical move to see if they can hold off on us until we lose heart, at which point they can negotiate a better deal for themselves.

In an earnings call at the start of August, executives from Hudson Pacific attempted to allay worries about the financial toll that the strikes are taking on their companies while also recognizing the validity of those worries. Quixote and Sunset Studios, two significant studio and equipment rental businesses in the entertainment sector, are both owned by the corporation.

We are all very aware of the shrapnel surrounding the industry as a whole and of all the surviving businesses that are being impacted. When asked how long the strikes might persist, its chair and CEO Victor Coleman replied, “It will start to feel fairly uncomfortable. “It will cause harm. And I believe everyone is well aware of it.

The effects extend beyond the entertainment industry to every part of LA.
Every company facing the financial effects of the strikes is heavily weighed down by the uncertainty of their duration, and the effects go far beyond the entertainment sector. Nearby restaurants, coffee shops, and even nail salons are all in need of an immediate answer.

According to owner George Metsos, business at Patys Restaurant in Toluca Lake, which is frequented by celebrities like Steve Carell and Adam Sandler, has significantly decreased from customers and catering orders. However, he also mentions other regulars who aren’t coming in, such as electricians, set carpenters, and the drivers that stop in for breakfast on their way to work at the nearby valley studios. He lists lost business from apparent patrons, such as actors, writers, and crew members.

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According to Emmanuel Pelargos, owner of Astro Burger across the street from Paramount Studios in Hollywood, hasn’t been able to make up for the drop in business brought on by the halted works.

The picketers “come in occasionally,” he says, “but it’s mostly to use the restroom.”

The timing of the strikes, immediately following the financial recovery from the epidemic, according to Corrie Sommers, vice president of the Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce, affects small businesses particularly hard.

“The strike has only brought everyone down a peg or two. But this time, there isn’t the necessary assistance,” Sommers claims. “Nobody is offering you free money to save you. I’ve got some cash to get you by. That is no longer present. And it has an impact on everyone.

Numerous clients who had expressed interest in purchasing a home but afterwards changed their minds are mentioned by Sommers, a local real estate agent.

“I’ve personally had about five buyers in the last three months say, ‘I’m going to have to wait until next year because I don’t know what’s happening,'” she claims.

Although many strikers are aware of the financial hardships experienced by their peers in the industry and their neighbors outside of it, the writers are now more forcefully protesting their choice after the much larger actors guild joined them.

The WGA bargaining committee member Luvh Rakhe, who has written for popular shows including “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “New Girl,” is well aware of the costs. But he thinks that people from all fields and occupations are aware of the necessity.

Rakhe claims that although no one is “blase and happy” about the brief disruption to their lives, everyone is aware of why it occurred and what it is attempting to accomplish.

Many of those in ancillary professions claim there is a broad sense of unity despite the difficulties placed on them. Even with the 25-year-old company’s uncertain future, LeBlanc, a co-owner of Valentino’s, maintains his support. (To respond to his query, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass hasn’t said she will step in, but she did declare in a statement in early August that she is “ready to personally engage with all the stakeholders in any way possible to help get this done.”)

Valentino’s has launched a GoFundMe to temporarily cover the rent in order to keep the store open. LeBlanc is optimistic that if they can gather enough cash for the next few weeks, Halloween and the resumption of school plays will be enough to see them through the remainder of the year.

He had told the landlord, “We do have things coming up.” “We just need some money in here to get us over the hump.”


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