The 2-week-old Hollywood writers strike produced its first piece of good news Friday, when negotiators for the studios and the Writers Guild of America agreed to resume talks. They're going back to the table after the holiday weekend, and for that we can all be thankful -- especially the tens of thousands of people whose livelihoods depend on the entertainment industry yet who don't have a voice in the negotiations.
In L.A. County alone, more than a quarter of a million people work directly in movie and TV production, according to the L.A. Economic Development Council. For every 10 of those jobs, though, there are at least 15 in industries that are dependent on Hollywood productions, such as caterers and recording studios. As a result, by the council's count, more than 10% of Southern California's civilian workforce is affected by the walkout.
With so much at stake for so many people, the least studios and writers can do is keep the negotiations going. The months leading up to the strike produced little in the way of fruitful discussions. The studios opened with conversation-stopping proposals to roll back the residual system or hold off negotiations on Internet compensation for three years. The writers countered by asking for twice as much compensation from DVD sales, which have gone flat and are threatened by rampant online piracy.