Show business also helps drive the local tourist economy. "If tourists see that the entertainment industry is shut down, we worry they will think the entire city is shut down," said Kyser. He noted that restaurant business in the southeast San Fernando Valley — home to Universal Studios and the largest concentration of production — has already dropped 30 percent as anticipation of the strike grew in recent weeks.
Indeed, most of those affected by such a strike have no direct stake in its issues.
The New York-based book industry, for instance, may find studios reluctant to buy film rights to new works at a time when no writers are available to adapt them for the screen. "In the first part of a strike, buyers will be sitting and waiting to see if it gets resolved," said Amy Schiffman, who specializes in literary sales for Hollywood's Gersh Agency.
Similarly, thousands of businesses, whether mom-and-pop companies that train dogs for television shows or lumber yards that specialize in building materials for sets, face possibly dire consequences, some sooner than others.
"I'm really scared," said Oren Ashkenazi, owner of TVC Television and Cinema Wardrobe Clearners, located near the Warner Brothers lot in Burbank, California The cleaner processes up to 2,000 garments each night for television programs like "24," and is not set up to accept retail customers.
At Green Set, a 13-acre tree nursery that rents plants to set decorators, employees are facing sharply reduced hours. Meanwhile, owner Dan Needham, who just provided flora for Steven Spielberg's upcoming "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," said he is trying to break into the party business. "This is an awfully good reminder of the need to diversify," he said.