Election Section

Job availability within state’s entertainment industry hits low

The Associated Press
Sunday October 28, 2001

LOS ANGELES — Employment in the entertainment industry has hit a four-year low, as an already tumultuous year in Hollywood was made worse by the terrorist attacks. 

State employment figures show that  

September was the slowest month for movie, television and video production since June 1997.  

A total of 143,500 people were employed in the industry last month — down from 158,300 in November 1998, the high mark of the last four years. 

The latest numbers do not include the thousands of independent contractors who are also out of work. 

“This is a worse hit than anyone expected, and we really don’t know the full ramifications,” said Stephen Katz, an independent analyst who monitors employment in the industry.  

“There’s a trickle-down effect, and what’s so concerning is that these companies are laying off their full-time employees.” 

All across Hollywood, projects have been delayed or even canceled since Sept. 11, weakening the already fragile industry. 

The Entertainment Industry Development Corp. found that location shooting for feature length films in Los Angeles last month was half of the September 1999 total.  

Commercial shooting was down nearly a third from the same period. 

Alternately frenetic and stalled, the industry saw a rush to production in the past year, driven by fear of dual strikes by the actors and writers unions.  

Once they were averted, the industry had to deal with a minor slowdown caused by an excess of projects. 

Business was just starting to pick up when the terrorist attacks struck New York and Washington. 

“We were anticipating things would start back up again in September,” said Gabe Videla, president of Special Effects Limited. “And then all of the sudden the World Trade Center happened, and we got hit below the knees.” 

Industry officials have said production is unlikely to pickup until late winter or early spring 2002.