Hollywood Actors Join Screenwriters in Historic Dual Strike: Reasons and Potential Outcomes

by Lucas Garcia
10 comments
Hollywood strike

In an unprecedented move, Hollywood actors have united with screenwriters in a joint strike, marking the first time in over six decades that both unions have taken such action. The far-reaching implications of this dual strike are set to significantly impact the film and television industry. Let’s delve into the unfolding events, the underlying causes, and speculate on what the future might hold.

WHAT LED TO THE ACTORS’ STRIKE?

Following over a month of negotiations for a new three-year contract between the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the studios, streaming services, and production companies employing them, little progress was made. In the days preceding the strike, tensions escalated, and the tone turned openly hostile. Despite the intervention of a federal mediator, a resolution could not be reached.

Union leaders argue that the rise of the streaming model, which has dominated the industry in recent years, has deprived actors of their fair share of earnings. They contend that money is being funneled predominantly to executives, while the proposals put forth by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), representing the studios, streamers, and production companies, fell far short of meeting the actors’ needs.

MORE ON THE STRIKE

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Understanding the reasons behind the Hollywood writers’ strike and its immediate impact
Exploring the demands of striking Hollywood writers

Although a 12-day extension of the contract and subsequent negotiations just prior to the initial deadline in late June sparked hope for a resolution, the situation deteriorated further. Fran Drescher, known for her role in “The Nanny” and heading the union, expressed skepticism, feeling that the extension had only served to allow studios to promote their summer movies for an additional 12 days.

Prior to the talks, the 65,000 actors casting their ballots overwhelmingly voted in favor of strike action, mirroring the path taken by the Writers Guild of America when their deal expired over two months ago.

WHAT ARE THE ACTORS DEMANDING?

For decades, actors who appeared in popular TV shows like “Seinfeld” or “The Office” would receive royalty checks whenever the shows aired in reruns. This provided them with a source of income during periods when they were unable to secure new work.

However, the advent of the streaming model has significantly diminished this income stream, as residual payments are no longer tied to the popularity of a show or movie. Actors are now seeking a long-term share of streaming revenue.

This issue is just one among several shared grievances between actors and writers. Both groups have faced shorter seasons and extended gaps between projects due to the shift to streaming, resulting in reduced opportunities for employment. In addition, they argue that inflation is outpacing the scheduled pay increases stipulated in their contracts.

Furthermore, both writers and actors harbor concerns about the unregulated use of artificial intelligence. Actors fear that studios aim to utilize their likenesses without having to hire or compensate them.

Actors also contend with the growing burden of self-taped auditions, which were previously the responsibility of casting and production teams.

The AMPTP claims to have presented actors with a generous deal, including the most substantial minimum pay increase in 35 years and a groundbreaking proposal to protect actors’ digital likenesses through AI regulations. They believe that the union’s decision to strike will ultimately cause financial hardship for thousands of industry workers.

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR ACTORS ON STRIKE?

According to union regulations, actors are prohibited from performing any aspect of their job beyond the actual shooting of films and TV shows.

This means they are unable to make personal appearances or participate in promotional activities such as podcasts or premieres. They are also barred from engaging in production work, including auditions, readings, rehearsals, voiceovers, and wardrobe fittings.

Emmy nominees, including prominent figures like Matt Damon, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Jessica Chastain, who have publicly supported the strike, will be unable to campaign for votes or attend the ceremony, which is scheduled for September but likely to be significantly scaled back or delayed.

Instead, actors are expected to spend their time picketing outside the corporate headquarters and production hubs of studios.

While high-profile actors may become the face of the picketing movement, it is important to note that SAG-AFTRA represents tens of thousands of actors who already struggle to find consistent work and maintain a steady income. These individuals are likely to face even greater financial challenges in the coming months.

HOW WILL THE JOINT STRIKES AFFECT VIEWERS?

The combined strikes by actors and writers will force nearly all U.S.-based shows and films that have not already ceased production into an indefinite hiatus. Consequently, forthcoming seasons of television shows are expected to face significant delays, and certain movie releases may be postponed. (However, the box-office duel between “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” scheduled for July 21 will proceed as planned.)

Late-night network talk shows, such as “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” were immediately affected by the writers’ strike, going on an immediate hiatus. “Saturday Night Live” canceled its last three episodes of the season.

Since then, numerous scripted television series have also halted production, including popular shows like Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” HBO Max’s “Hacks,” Showtime’s “Yellow Jackets,” and Apple TV+’s “Severance.”

While the impact of the actors’ strike may not be immediately noticeable on streaming platforms like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, fans of original series on these platforms will eventually experience longer-than-usual waits for new seasons.

Productions outside the U.S., where different unions and contracts are in place, can continue uninterrupted. For instance, HBO’s “House of the Dragon,” based in Britain, will proceed with filming. However, the strike is expected to exert secondary effects on these productions as well.

Reality shows, game shows, and most daytime talk shows are unlikely to be affected by the strikes.

HOW LONG MIGHT THIS SITUATION PERSIST?

It is challenging to predict the duration of the strike. As of now, there are no upcoming or imminent talks planned between the Writers Guild and industry representatives.

The previous record for the longest writers’ strike occurred in 1988, lasting five months. The most recent writers’ strike in 2007-2008 and the actors’ strike in 1980 both extended for approximately three months.

Given that both unions are striking together for the first time since 1960 and share many common concerns, it is conceivable that they may face an extended period of unemployment together.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hollywood strike

What is the reason behind the Hollywood actors and screenwriters strike?

The strike is driven by the actors and screenwriters’ dissatisfaction with the current state of the industry. They believe that the rise of the streaming model has deprived them of their fair share of income and that money is being funneled to executives instead. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers’ proposals did not meet their needs, leading to the joint strike.

What are the demands of the actors and screenwriters?

Actors and screenwriters are seeking various changes in their contracts. They want a long-term share of the revenue generated by streaming platforms. Additionally, they aim to address issues such as shorter seasons, longer gaps between projects, inadequate pay raises, and concerns about unregulated use of artificial intelligence. They also highlight the burden of self-taped auditions and the costs associated with them.

How will the strike impact the industry and viewers?

The strike will lead to production shutdowns, causing delays in forthcoming seasons of TV shows and postponements of certain movie releases. Late-night talk shows and scripted television series have already been affected. While the impact may not be immediately noticeable on streaming platforms, fans of original series can expect longer waits for new seasons. The strike will bring significant disruptions to the industry and affect viewers’ entertainment options.

How long is the strike expected to last?

The duration of the strike is uncertain. Previous strikes have ranged from a few months to several months. Given the joint action of both unions and the shared issues they face, it is possible that the strike could persist for a considerable period. However, the exact length of the strike is difficult to predict at this time.

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10 comments

ScreenwritingDreams July 14, 2023 - 5:04 pm

This strike is a wake-up call for the industry. Writers and actors deserve fair treatment and compensation. It’s time to acknowledge their contributions and work towards a more sustainable future for all involved.

Reply
ScriptWriter27 July 14, 2023 - 5:32 pm

As a screenwriter, I fully support the strike. We need better working conditions, fair compensation, and protection against AI misuse. It’s time for the industry to listen to our concerns and make positive changes.

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MovieLover23 July 14, 2023 - 9:33 pm

omg this is crazy! I can’t believe actors and writers are striking together. it’s gonna mess up all my favorite shows and movies. why can’t they just work it out? sigh.

Reply
FilmGeekGirl July 14, 2023 - 10:07 pm

This strike highlights the changing landscape of the entertainment industry. Streaming and AI issues are significant concerns that need to be addressed. I hope the strike leads to positive changes for everyone involved.

Reply
TVJunkie July 15, 2023 - 12:06 am

Ugh, another strike? It’s so frustrating. I just want to binge-watch my favorite shows, but now everything is gonna be delayed. Can’t they figure this out without disrupting our viewing pleasure?

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TVAddict92 July 15, 2023 - 12:37 am

I understand the actors’ concerns, but I’m worried about the impact on struggling actors who depend on consistent work. It’s a complex situation with no easy answers. I hope they can find a compromise soon.

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FilmFanatic99 July 15, 2023 - 3:14 am

Finally, actors and screenwriters standing up for themselves! They deserve a fair share of the streaming revenue. It’s about time they address the shorter seasons and pay disparities. Solidarity with them!

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JohnnyBoy86 July 15, 2023 - 4:51 am

wow, actors and screenwriters on strike! big deal. they think they deserv more money. so selfish. what about the fans and the shows we love? they dont care about us. greedy actors!

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HollywoodInsider July 15, 2023 - 7:59 am

The strike could have serious consequences for the industry. Delays in production and release dates will impact box office revenues and viewer engagement. Let’s hope for a swift resolution to minimize the damage.

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CinephileGirl July 15, 2023 - 9:10 am

I’m so disappointed to hear about the strike. I love watching TV shows and movies, and this will just delay everything. I hope they can find a solution soon. We need our entertainment fix!

Reply

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