November 30, 2023

ABOVE PHOTO: MEREDITH STIEHM, LEFT, PRESIDENT OF WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA WEST, AND FRAN DRESCHER, PRESIDENT OF SAG-AFTRA, participate in a rally by hanging writers outdoors Paramount Photos studio in Los Angeles on Might 8, 2023. Hollywood actors could also be on the verge of becoming a member of screenwriters in what can be the primary two-union strike within the business in additional than six many years. (AP Photograph/Chris Pizzello, File)

By Andrew Dalton


LOS ANGELES — Hollywood actors could also be days from becoming a member of screenwriters in what can be the primary two-union strike within the business in additional than six many years, with large penalties for movie and tv manufacturing. Here’s a have a look at the way it might play out, and why it’s occurring.


The contract between the Display screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Tv Artists and the studios, streaming providers and manufacturing firms that make use of them had been set to run out Friday evening at midnight Pacific time. However hours earlier than that the 2 sides stated they’d agreed to increase the present contract, and talks on the following one, by July 12. Unionized actors have voted overwhelmingly to authorize their leaders to name a strike if no deal is reached. Talks additionally went previous the deadline in 2014 and 2017, and agreements resulted in each instances.

Stories have stated the talks have been productive. However some actors have expressed fear that their leaders might not be pushing arduous sufficient. Greater than 1,000 of them, together with Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Bob Odenkirk, have added their names to a letter to negotiators saying they’re keen to strike, and are involved they’re “able to make sacrifices that management just isn’t.” The letter says “this isn’t a second to fulfill within the center.”

The guild, led by president and former “Nanny” star Fran Drescher, represents over 160,000 display actors, stunt performers, broadcast journalists, announcers, and hosts, however a strike would contain solely actors engaged on tv reveals and movies.


Most of the identical points that drove writers to strike are on the desk for actors, together with what the guilds say is shrinking compensation introduced on by a streaming ecosystem by which royalty funds are now not tethered to the recognition of a movie or TV present. A job or a writing credit score on a present that grew to become a success with an extended life in reruns is now not the money cow that it as soon as was. And the unions say inflation is outpacing the scheduled pay bumps inside their contracts.

For each scribes and performers, the transfer to streaming and its ripple results have additionally meant shorter seasons of reveals with longer gaps between them, and due to this fact much less work.

And just like the writers, actors concern the specter of unregulated use of synthetic intelligence. SAG-AFTRA stated in a memo to members that the burgeoning skill of AI to recreate the performances of its members is “an actual and rapid menace” that it desires to move off.

Points specific to actors embrace the brand new and rising burden of self-taped auditions — the price of which was once the duty of casting and productions.


Film and TV actors final went on strike for 3 months in 1980, although actors in broadcast commercials have gone on strike twice since then. Total they’ve had way more labor peace than screenwriters, whose walkouts have been way more frequent. That features the present standoff, by which 11,500 members of the Writers Guild of America have been on strike for almost two months, with no sign of ending.

In 1960 the actors’ union, led by then-SAG president and future U.S. President Ronald Reagan, went on strike for six weeks that fell in the midst of a five-month writers’ strike, the one time two main Hollywood unions walked off the job on the identical time.

Actors have proven broad assist for hanging writers, and lots of have joined them on picket traces in an act of what has to date been symbolic solidarity.


The writers’ strike had an virtually prompt impact on late-night community speak reveals, together with NBC’s “The Tonight Present Starring Jimmy Fallon,” ABC’s “ Jimmy Kimmel Dwell!” and CBS’s “The Late Present With Stephen Colbert,” which all went on hiatus instantly. “Saturday Night time Dwell” axed its final three episodes of the season.

Within the two months since, many scripted tv sequence have additionally shut down, together with Netflix’s “Stranger Issues,” Max’s “Hacks,” Showtime’s “Yellow Jackets,” and Apple TV+’s “Severance.” Some films have reportedly additionally been paused.

Actors becoming a member of writers would power almost each different present or movie that hasn’t already been shot into an identical shutdown. Forthcoming seasons of tv reveals can be delayed indefinitely, and film releases will likely be pushed again.

Streaming menus on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video will present no rapid variations, although lovers of these retailers’ unique sequence would ultimately have to attend longer for his or her favorites to return.

Exceptions can be productions happening outdoors the US. And actuality reveals, sport reveals and most daytime speak reveals will doubtless be unaffected.

The 2 strikes are additionally casting doubt on the viability of the Emmy Awards, whose nominations are scheduled to be introduced on July 12 earlier than a September ceremony, although the Tony Awards and BET Awards managed to reveals go on regardless of the writers’ strike.


The writers’ strike has seen persistent picketing and a few main rallies for 2 months, however to date no motion. There are not any present negotiations occurring between the strikers and the Alliance of Movement Image and Tv Producers, which represents the studios, streamers and manufacturing firms in all of the business’s union negotiations. The longest earlier writers’ strike, in 1988, lasted 5 months.

Together with the problems they’ve in frequent with actors, writers are particularly involved with the shrinking staffs which are used on reveals, which they name “mini-rooms.” They’ve meant a lot much less work, and much fewer ensures of future work.

The AMPTP says the writers’ calls for would require that they be saved on employees and paid when there isn’t a work for them. The group additionally stated that it had provided beneficiant pay will increase.

The 2 sides have been to date aside in its negotiations that talks broke off hours earlier than the contract expired. Whether or not a distinct consequence will be discovered with actors within the coming days stays to be seen.