NYC Filming Permit Requests Dropped More Than 31% in May Amid WGA Strike

Filming permit requests for TV and film projects in New York City were down 13% in April and 31.5% in May as the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike raged on, Variety has confirmed.

According to information obtained by Variety, 760 requested shooting permits were issued to 177 projects by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in 2022, and 801 permits were granted to 227 projects in May last year.

Comparatively, only 662 shooting permits were issued to 187 projects this April and 549 permits to 181 projects in May.

The writers strike began May 2, following the WGA’s inability to ink a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) before the previous agreement expired May 1. Between April and May, the filming permits requested for shoots in NYC fell 17%, while in 2022 they had increased just over 5% between the two months.

The number of overall NYC-based projects that applied for permits dropped 20% year-over-year in May (227 in 2022 vs. 181 in 2023).

Six fewer film and TV projects requested filming permits in May compared to April.

For reference, here are the comparable figures for last summer: In June, 834 filming permits issued for 254 projects; 757 permits issued in July for 173 projects; 773 granted in August for 202 projects.

Over the course of the first five weeks of the WGA strike, the picket lines have shut down production on TV series including Max’s “The Penguin,” Disney+’s “Daredevil” and Showtime’s “Billions,” among others.

“Writers have stopped writing and the companies can’t produce anything without scripts,” Writers Guild of America, East executive director Lowell Peterson told Variety. “This is within the companies’ control: they can negotiate in good faith and agree to a contract that addresses the profound challenges our members face in building and maintaining careers.”

The NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment hosted a webinar May 19 in an effort to provide support and resources to New Yorkers who have had their work and income impacted by the strike and is planning to produce more of these sessions soon.

Currently, there is no timetable set for the WGA to return to the negotiating table with the AMPTP. Meanwhile, the Directors Guild of America (DGA) has reached an agreement with the studio organization ahead of their old contract running out on June 30 and actors union SAG-AFTRA is set to begin negotiations with the AMPTP on June 7 for their own contract.

SAG-AFTRA concluded a strike authorization vote Monday, with 97.9% of membership approving a strike, should the union not be able to reach a deal with the AMPTP before their contract runs out.

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