The first negotiations since the Writers Guild of America launched a strike against movie studios and television networks on Nov. 5 are scheduled to take place today, with a settlement still expected to be weeks away. The dispute centers over pay for work that is distributed via the Internet, video iPods, cellphones and other new media. The strike has forced late-night talk shows into reruns, halted production on most scripted TV series and could bring about an increase in unscripted and competition series and news magazines in primetime. Los Angeles’ economy will lose $21.3 million a day in direct production spending if the writers strike extends into next month, Steve MacDonald, president of FilmL.A. Inc., the nonprofit group that handles film permits and promotes the industry said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat Kings“If the strike continues it’s going to have a huge impact on the local economy and middle-class jobs,” MacDonald said. Jack Epps Jr., chair of the Writing for Screen & Television Program at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, said management and the writers are locked in “a lengthy process,” and it would be “impossible” to predict when a new contract might be reached. “What I expect to happen is two sides are now looking at each other across the table and they will talk about issues, rather than lobbing accusations through papers,” Epps, who wrote the screenplays for “Top Gun” and “Dick Tracy,” said. “I think what’s great is that they’re talking and looking to move forward and find a solution, but I think they are still are broad differences that have to be settled.” The writers and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the major studios are networks, are “looking at profits and residuals in different ways,” Epps said. “If we could get this solved sometime in January, I think that would be terrific,” he said. “The holidays throw a big monkey wrench into everything.” Epps said that whatever new residuals the writers receive will not make up the money they will have lost during the strike. But this strike, like others in Writers Guild history, is “a strike for the future,” he said. “There’s a history of writers sacrificing for future writers,” Epps said. Writers are more unified than during the 1988 strike, the last major work stoppage to hit the entertainment industry, Epps said. “The solidarity is there,” Epps said. “It’s deep, it’s heartfelt. We all see the future.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!