As the writers and actors continue to walk the picket lines and negotiate with the AMPTP for new and fair contracts, small businesses who are contracted to work on shows and films are also dealing with the consequences of the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. Now, the owner of a business who works with shows like Yellowstone and American Horror Story opened up about how they’ve been impacted, and are also dealing with the struggles of the strikes.
Diana Foster owns the United American Costume Company, and she counts on providing outfits for costume designers who work on films and television shows like the smash hit modern western Yellowstone. However, with productions shut down, they can’t do their work, and it’s putting the business in danger. Foster opened up about the challenges her company is facing because of the strikes with Variety, saying:
The writers and actors are striking for fair deals from studios, and this situation has put a stop to tons of productions in Hollywood. This means that not only are these creatives currently not working, crew members and business owners who rely on productions as clients, are also out of work.
United American Costume Company is independent of studios, and they “provide quality wardrobe for affordable prices,” per their website. Along with outfitting Taylor Sheridan’s show Yellowstone, they’ve also provided costumes for films like Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige and Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby and outfitted shows like N.C.I.S., Mad Men and AHS.
Foster explained that they’ve been preparing for the worst. The company was founded in 1977, so this isn’t the first strike it has lived through. However, there is still concern for her business, as she explained:
In February, the owner started warning her staff that things could get slow in the coming months. She also started cutting back her overhead. Foster went on to say that when the WGA strike started, productions were still working, so they could work. However, it was also a signifier that things were going to slow down.
Along with not really having new business, Foster has also been dealing with studios that are not sure what to do with their costumes. She explained productions don’t know if they should return their wardrobe or pay for an extended rental. At the moment, there’s not much work for her employees to do, and she said:
While A-list celebrities have donated millions to the SAG-AFTRA fund to help actors who are out of work, according to Foster she does not have access to a resource like that. She said:
As the unions work to negotiate better deals with the studios, there is no question that everyone who is currently out of work is facing serious challenges. Colin Farrell was in production on The Penguin in New York when the strikes began, and he acknowledged how this issue is impacting everyone, not just writers and actors. He gave an update on his DC show, saying the strikes have put 650 crew members out of work, and he called out the studios for what was going on, saying “change needs to happen now.”
So, not only are the actors and writers deeply impacted by the strikes but crew members and businesses who have contacts with productions, like Foster does with Yellowstone, are also struggling. Negotiations are still ongoing, and the strikes have not come to an end. It’s likely the second half of Yellowstone Season 5 and Taylor Sheridan’s other shows will not appear on the 2023 TV schedule, along with a lot of other productions that had to hit pause.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the state of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes and how they are impacting all elements of the entertainment industry.