The city's mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, predicted that the strike could cost the area more than $1 billion. "This could have a deleterious impact on the L.A. economy and on the revenues we desperately need to provide services to people in the city," he said earlier this week.
But some economic officials downplay the significance of the strike, noting that overall, only 3.5 percent of Los Angeles County's work force is employed in industries that might be affected by the strike. "It's not a showstopper," said Jack Kyser, chief economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.
Aside from the potential impact on the economy, the strike could strain relations with directors. The Screen Actors Guild quickly expressed its support for the strike and many actors have spoken out, such as Eva Longoria, Meg Ryan, Vanessa Williams and Katherine Heigl.
But the Directors Guild has yet to state a position.
Indeed, some directors have been outright hostile to the walkout. "Smokin' Aces" and "Narc" director Joe Carnahan is one of the most outspoken. On his blog, Carnahan disparaged the strike and those who support it:
"Kids: Only in L.A. would people use a strike as an opportunity to put themselves in front of cameras for the pure PR of it all. There's not a greater whorehouse on the planet than Hollywood. I love watching these various stars of varying stripes traipse out and 'show their support' by delivering baked goods and urging their creative brethren to 'fight the good fight' and 'soldier on.' We need some good old-fashioned chain and bat-wielding strike breakers. Not because I'm anti-union in any way, I just want to see a little melee on the picket lines to keep it interesting. S--, if we're gonna fight this hard and shut the town down, we should all be tasting a little blood at some point."
Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner reportedly took time out to blast the guild at a conference Wednesday. "I've seen stupid strikes, I've seen less stupid strikes ... This is a stupid strike," he snapped. Eisner said the writers demand for a cut of the profits from digital media is a pipe dream, since most studios are still losing money on digital. "It's a waste of their time. [The studios] have nothing to give. They don't know what to give."
Of course, there's never been any love lost between the writers and the studios.
One of the original Warner Brothers, Jack Warner, once derided writers as "schmucks with Underwoods," referring to the typewriters they used to craft their screenplays.
Warner used to sneak over to the writers' offices and listen for the sound of typing. Legend has it when he once caught Oscar-winning director and screenwriter Billy Wilder napping on his couch, he barked, "I'm paying you 10 grand a week! Why aren't you writing?" Wilders reply: "I am writing. Later I'll be typing."