The post-earthquake malaise continued to hover over the entertainment industry Monday, as studio employees, executives and production crews struggled to get back to work.
What is quickly becoming apparent is that, one week after the 6.6 temblor thundered through L.A., the industry remains in slow mode.
“People are just starting to get back to work today, but most of the phone calls are all about the earthquake,” noted one development executive.
The reaction is not that unusual, according to analysts who are monitoring several industries in the Southern California area.
“The entertainment industry has been affected no differently than other businesses in the area,” noted Deborah Koeffler, an attorney with Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp and the head of the firm’s labor and employment group. “From our perspective, the entertainment industry is still working diligently to try to find ways for employees to return to work. And a lot of progress has been made in the last week.”
Koeffler noted that because this industry is somewhat ambulatory — it can change locations or production houses — there may be more of an ability to bounce back from the quake’s devastation.
Among the sites hardest hit were the Motion Picture Assn. of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. On Monday, sources said that the two offices would likely move from Studio City to Burbank, to be jointly housed in offices on the edge of the Warner Bros. lot at Riverside and Hollywood Way. A decision will be made within a day or two.
Meanwhile several studios have been offering help to employees who lost homes in the quake. Most of the efforts appear geared toward their own employees, rather than getting involved in any disaster relief efforts for quake victims in general.
The Motion Picture & TV Fund offered immediate medical assistance to industry workers and has since been handing out short-term financial assistance to industry people who are awaiting monies from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They’ve also been placing elderly quake victims into homes.
All of this means that a lot of effort is still being directed into getting Hollywood’s workers back on track, not necessarily back on the fast track.
Cody Cluff, the mayor’s film liaison, concurred that there has been some slowing of location production.
“Right now, in the short term, we are seeing things being sluggish,” he said. “But I think that’s because an awful lot of people continue to have problems at home.”
In related news, CapCities/ABC has said it will offer employees loans, flexible work schedules and counseling. The company’s Century City offices, which house ABC Entertainment, suffered considerable damage in the temblor. Two Spelling TV shows delayed by the temblor, “Melrose Place” and “Beverly Hills, 90210,” will both be in production this week and at this point don’t expect to have to air additional repeats during the season, according to Fox Broadcasting. “Melrose,” which suffered significant damage at its Santa Clarita studio, has juggled scripts and will shoot on location beginning Wednesday.
Because of lost business days, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has extended deadlines for the Daytime Emmy Awards and Los Angeles-area Emmy Awards to Monday. Nominations for the L.A. Emmys will now be announced April 28, with Daytime Emmys information to be announced later.
The entry deadline for the Hollywood Radio & Television Society’s 34th annual Intl. Broadcasting Awards has been pushed back to Feb. 1 from Jan. 21.
The American Red Cross is also working with some industry people to put together benefit performances for quake victims. The highest profile event is a March 6 concert at the Universal Amphitheater, to be produced and promoted by Jeff Wald and Paul Rodriguez.