August 31, 2023
On July 15th, 2023, about 160,000 SAG-AFTRA actors stopped work at midnight, joining the 11,500 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), who walked out on May 2nd, 2023.
Actors will not appear in films or even promote movies during the strike.
The shutdown may affect major films in production, including the Avatar and Gladiator sequels. With both writers and actors on strike, Hollywood productions have ground to a halt. Two of the main reasons for the strikes are technology related: AI and streaming.
Actors who are members of SAG-AFTRA who work under the union's film and TV contract with companies that belong to the AMPTP, a group that represents all the major producers in Hollywood.
The WGA and the Screen Actors Guild have not simultaneously been on strike since 1960, when actors joined striking writers over residual payments from films sold to television networks
The 1980 actors' strike involved the combined efforts of SAG and AFTRA.
At that time, the concerns were about emerging home media options.
SAG-AFTRA members demand the need for better pay, more robust contributions to the union’s pension and health fund, and residuals from streaming services to be brought in line with those traditionally paid out by theatrical and broadcast productions.
The union is also seeking greater regulation of "self-taped auditions," which have become an industry norm.
WGA writers are on strike because a writing career that provides a sustainable income has become increasingly unattainable. This is due in large part to streaming services which are able to pay less under the current agreements but now make up a larger share of the industry.
Joe Barrera, EVP of Labor Relations at Revolution Entertainment Services notes: "Not all production has seized! There are quite a few productions that have executed an interim agreement in order to continue with the project. These productions are not part of the AMPTP – Producers group; these productions are independent producers and are not directly bound to the agreement that is being negotiated."
As of July 31st, 2023, SAG-AFTRA has approved 39 independent projects that can shoot during the strike.
Award-winning actor Mark Ruffalo became the first to urge other actors to "jump into indie" films and exit the "Empire of Billionaires" at the major studios.
However, the WGA strike does not allow its members to engage in any manner of work, no matter the source or size of the project.
Reality shows, soap operas, many offshore projects, some indie films, and Broadway shows remain open.
Actors can also still work on commercials - including sponsored content from influencers -, sound recordings, music videos, video games, corporate/educational content, broadcast news, television animation, and audiobooks, according to official SAG-AFTRA guidance.
SAG-AFTRA also has separate basic cable agreements with specific channels that won't be affected by the strike.
Some steps that individuals or organizations involved in the industry might take to navigate through the strike:
1.Stay informed: Keep yourself updated on the developments of the strike, the demands made by the unions, and the response from the producers. Regularly check official statements, news sources, and updates from the unions and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
2. Comply with the strike rules: If you are a member of SAG-AFTRA or WGA, follow the strike guidelines and respect the picket lines. Non-members may need to decide whether to continue working or show solidarity with the striking members.
3. Seek alternative work or projects: During the strike, some individuals may choose to seek employment in other areas of the industry or explore non-union projects. This could include working on independent films, web series, or other media.
4. Negotiate a resolution: Both sides, the unions and the producers, will likely continue negotiating to find a resolution to the issues that led to the strike. This process can be lengthy, and it may involve compromises from both parties.
While the industry waits for a resolution, it’s easy to feel discouraged when jobs are few and far between and there’s no end in sight. Revolution is putting together various webinars to help you learn about new production and accounting software solutions, to help improve your resume, contact us to learn about our next training sessions: https://revolutiones.com/contact-us.
The Revolution Team