Writers’ strike has nerves on edge

It’s all quiet on the location front. Almost.

That’s to be expected this Thanksgiving week.

But the annual holiday slowdown could be even slower than usual due to the current Writers Guild strike, which is expected to enter its third week today.

“It’s hard to tell” about the strike’s impact here, because “it’s normally dead anyway because of Thanksgiving,” comments Phyllis Carreon Taie, president of Las Vegas-based DreamVision Studios.

But “any kind of strike like this, it’s something that’s going to hurt us,” according to Nevada Film Office director Charles Geocaris.

In a joint statement Friday, the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said both sides had agreed to return to formal negotiations on Nov. 26.

Meanwhile, the writers would continue on the picket line, a spokesman for the guild told The Associated Press.

Skip Burrows, managing partner of Las Vegas-based Maxxam Entertainment, was in Hollywood recently, meeting with studio officials about future projects, and “the big talk there was the strike,” he reports. “Seems like this will run through the holidays,” after which “the pressure will be on to settle the strike.”

Until then, however, the strike could impact not just writers “but all other workers associated with the industry,” Geocaris says. In short, “it’s kind of a nerve-wracking time.”

He’s experienced that sort of nerve-wracking time before — in 1988, when Geocaris headed the Chicago film office.

But “the industry was completely different then,” he points out, with “no reality (TV), just features, commercials, TV movies … and TV shows.”

That strike lasted 22 weeks. As for this strike, it’s anybody’s guess.

Yet “the one thing that’s kept us going,” Geocaris says, is Las Vegas itself — and the Strip in particular. After all, “we have the one street in the world no one else has.”

Agassi watch: Tennis legend Andre Agassi teams up with about 20 students at the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy to shoot a TV commercial Tuesday for the Longines Watch Co. The ad is destined for the international market; Agassi signed on as a spokesman for the Swiss-based watchmaker in September.

Vegas visions: Electronics giant Philips will showcase visions of Vegas (and the Valley of Fire) in a promotional video to be featured on its new flat-screen high-definition TVs — in 55,000 stores in Europe. The Fremont Street Experience provides the backdrop Wednesday night; the Valley of Fire footage will be shot by the end of November.

Quick hits: DreamVision Studios plays host to a PBS show and two Public Service Announcement shoots this short holiday week. The studio also handled hair and makeup for last week’s nationally televised debate among Democratic presidential contenders at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Carol Cling’s Shooting Stars column appears Mondays. Contact her at (702) 383-0272 or e-mail her at ccling@reviewjournal.com.

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