Striking actors stage countrywide strike in search of new contract

Striking actors stage countrywide strike in search of new contract

It was 10 in the morning, respected members of the union had more or less surrounded their president, Fran Drescher, and the crowd was growing every minute.

There was a festive, celebratory atmosphere outside the Netflix offices in Hollywood, at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Van Ness Avenue. It was definitely a workers’ strike. But it felt somewhat like a summer Friday street party — with some celebrity guests.

Amanda Crew from HBO’s “Silicon Valley” said, “We’re told we should be so grateful for doing what we love to do — but not being compensated, not being protected while they’re ours.” profiting from the work. Joe walks the picket line with Dustin Milligan from “Schitt’s Creek”.

“It’s the actor’s myth: You’re doing art so you should be very grateful because you’re living your dream. Why? Do we do this with doctors? We give immense pleasure to the people by entertaining them,” said the crew.

It was the first of several days of marches for the actors, who staged sit-ins at venues across the country. They raised the slogan, “Actor and writer unite!” When they marched on a small block in Times Square, where Paramount does business; They threw bottles of cold water and cans of La Croix outside 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan; And they hoisted their picket signs to the tune of Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” playing over a speaker in Hollywood.

The day before, the Hollywood actors’ union, known as SAG-AFTRA, approved a strike for the first time in 43 years, along with writers who walked out more than 70 days ago.

“There is a renewed sense of enthusiasm and solidarity,” said Alicia Carroll, strike captain of the Writers Guild of America. “The writers have been here for more than 70 days. It’s been a long time and it’s hot. People are tired. So it’s reassuring that we are not alone in the industry with issues.”

The actors and writers have been unable to agree on new contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the major studios and streamers. Pay is a central issue, but the conversation around compensation has been complicated by the emergence of streaming services and the rise of artificial intelligence.

Actors, including Ms. Drescher, president of the actors’ union, have held the moment to be an inflection point, arguing that the entire business model stands for $134 billion. The American film and television business has changed. He says his new contract will take those changes into account, along with various guardrails and protections, including increased residual payments (a type of royalty) from streaming services. They are also concerned about how AI might be used to replicate their work: digital replicas of their likenesses for scripts and actors in the case of writers.

Hollywood companies have insisted they acted in good faith to reach a fair deal, which has been a difficult time for an industry that has been hit by streaming and is still dealing with the effects of the pandemic. Used to be.

“The union has regretfully chosen a path that will cause financial hardship to the countless thousands of people who depend on the industry,” the studio alliance said in a statement after SAG-AFTRA announced the strike.

On Friday, the writers said they were delighted to have the actors join the strike, many of whom have been marching with them for months wearing black and yellow T-shirts that have become a kind of uniform. This is the first time since 1960 that actors and screenwriters are on strike at the same time.

WGA leaders share picket line advice: Bring plenty of sunscreen and set a timer to reapply, watch for traffic. But some actors were already legends.

“I have never gone on a strike without SAG-AFTRA members. “Sometimes they outnumber us here in the East,” said Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, vice president of the Writers Guild of America, East. “They have been our staunchest supporters and partners, and we intend to reciprocate.”

“Suddenly,” he continued, “the sleeping demon has awoken.”

An animated Ms. Drescher, in a white SAG-AFTRA hat emblazoned with the words “negotiating committee,” approached a cheering crowd that had wrapped themselves around her as she toured picket lines in front of the Netflix offices in Los Angeles.

“Actually I am here not for me, but for 99.9 per cent of the members, who are working people, trying to earn a living to put food on the table, pay rent and send their children to school. ” , “They are the ones whose livelihood is being taken away, and it is very pathetic.”

An actress, Shara Ashley Zeiger, brought her 2-year-old daughter, Lily, to picket in front of NBC’s offices in New York. There was a sign sticking out of her daughter’s stroller. Lily used to play with her food – and a tambourine.

Ms. Zeiger said, “This deal will directly affect my daughter and my family.”

He continued: “I had a role in a project that was on a streamer, and their deal was that they didn’t have to pay me the balance for two years. And this was in the midst of a pandemic.

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