Strike trickles down

Published 12:40 am Sunday, December 9, 2007

NATCHEZ —While the quiet streets of Natchez are miles from the bustling city of Los Angeles, the big city problems are affecting some local residents in a big way.

Flip on any of the late night talk shows and one thing will become quickly apparent — they’re all re-runs.

While prime time programming has not resorted to re-runs just yet, unless the Writer’s Guild strike comes to a new contract agreement soon, they will be.

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And this is bad news for some Natchez residents.

Natchez is home to a small diaspora of Hollywood’s newly unemployed.

Douglas Scharmann does script research from his home in Natchez.

Scharmann receives scripts for television shows straight from Hollywood and gives them the equivalent of a very thorough fact checking.

But since the writers have gone on strike the steady stream of scripts has dried up.

“They just stopped coming,” he said.

Scharmann said guild members are striking because they want a larger share of DVD and Internet profits that big studios make.

But the logistics of the strike are of little consequence to Scharmann.

“When the scripts stop coming the money stops too,” he said.

But studio heads who saw a possible strike coming attempted to remedy the problem.

The idea was to write as many scripts as possible so that if a strike did occur television programs could continue to run new episodes until the strike ended, Scharmann said.

However, that plan is about to fail. The writer’s guild has been on strike since Nov. 1.

But people working on television shows are not the only ones who are feeling the hurt.

Movie producer and Natchez resident Jennifer Ogden said movie scripts are also running dry.

Ogden said movie scripts, like television shows, are constantly being re-written.

But with no writers, there are no re-writes.

Ogden said she has seen numerous movies stop in mid-production because there are no to writers to continue the revision process.

“Right now I have nothing to work on,” she said.

And while the writer’s strike shows no signs of ending, more problems could be just months away.

In May the Actor’s and Director’s guilds contracts will both be up for re-negotiation.