Understanding Actors’ Continuation of Filming Amidst the Strike: A Closer Look at SAG-AFTRA’s Interim Agreements

by Andrew Wright
SAG-AFTRA's interim agreements

Certainly. Here is the paraphrased and formalized version of the text:

The ongoing strikes involving actors and writers have culminated in the cessation of most film and television productions in Hollywood, ranging from the sequel to “Gladiator” to the live-action adaptation of “Lilo & Stitch.” However, certain independent films and television productions persist, having brokered agreements with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). This will enable them to maintain union actors during the strike.

This strategy, while essential to the union’s negotiation efforts, has created division and confusion among those enduring the picket lines, particularly as well-known figures such as Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey continue to work.

Below is a detailed examination of the “interim agreements” that permit some Hollywood productions to continue filming.


The strike targets studios and streaming services negotiating under the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), encompassing major film studios, television networks, and streaming services like Netflix, Apple TV+, and Amazon.

Independent production companies unaffiliated with AMPTP can continue filming with SAG-AFTRA actors during the strike, provided they agree to the last proposed union terms. This includes a new minimum wage rate 11% higher than before, with assurances concerning revenue sharing and protections against artificial intelligence.

These terms were declined by studios and streaming services, yet embraced by some independent producers and smaller film studios, like Neon and A24.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s executive director and chief negotiator, remarked, “The interim agreement confirms the terms we proposed to AMPTP are not only practical but appealing and applicable to producers in this industry.”


Unlike SAG-AFTRA, the Writers’ Guild of America has refrained from granting similar concessions. However, in an act of unity, SAG-AFTRA announced that no new interim agreements would be granted to productions under WGA contracts.


Over 200 productions have been greenlit, including various films and television projects. The list is continually updated, though some productions have chosen to pause in a gesture of solidarity.


According to Crabtree-Ireland, the interim agreements offer several advantages, including evidence that the union’s terms are reasonable and providing opportunities for crew and actors to work. Emmy-winning actor Sheryl Lee Ralph supports the strategy, stating, “Interim agreements are smart agreements. The big producers can look and say, ‘Well, if they can do it, why aren’t we doing it?’”


Some members feel a lack of unity in the strike when prominent celebrities continue to work. Though some voiced discontent, further understanding has led to a more nuanced perspective on the potential benefits and drawbacks of the agreements.


Crabtree-Ireland acknowledges concerns about AMPTP acquiring such films, but also sees an upside as the interim agreement includes a streaming revenue share proposal.


SAG-AFTRA is evaluating applications allowing actors to promote independent films at fall festivals, including several high-profile premieres that might receive special status.

Contribution from Leslie Ambriz in Los Angeles.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about SAG-AFTRA’s interim agreements

What are SAG-AFTRA’s interim agreements and why were they introduced?

SAG-AFTRA’s interim agreements are special contracts that allow certain independent films and television productions to continue filming with union actors during the ongoing actors’ and writers’ strike. These were introduced as a strategic move to prove that the union’s demands are reasonable and to allow independent productions to continue working with actors who are part of the union.

Who is allowed to film under the interim agreements?

Independent production companies that aren’t affiliated with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and agree to specific terms, such as an 11% higher minimum wage rate, are allowed to film with SAG-AFTRA actors during the strike.

Why has the decision to allow interim agreements become controversial?

The decision has become controversial because some members feel that it disrupts the unity of the work stoppage, especially when well-known celebrities continue to work. Others see the agreements as a smart negotiation tactic that keeps conversation going with producers.

What impact do the interim agreements have on the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA)?

The Writers’ Guild of America has opted not to grant similar agreements, and SAG-AFTRA decided not to grant new interim agreements to productions covered by WGA contracts, to show solidarity with the writers.

Are actors allowed to promote their completed projects during the strike?

SAG-AFTRA is reviewing applications that would allow actors to promote independent films at fall festivals. Some projects have been granted this special status, allowing stars to partake in promotional activities.

More about SAG-AFTRA’s interim agreements

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Tom H August 25, 2023 - 5:56 pm

Wow! this is complex. Hollywood is in real chaos with these strikes. Hope they figure it out soon, Missing my favorite shows.

Kathy L August 25, 2023 - 7:56 pm

What about the writers? Seems like they’re really sticking together. Solidarity is a big deal in these strikes. Wonder how long it’ll last.

John Smith August 26, 2023 - 7:16 am

I dont understand why the big stars like Hathaway and McConaughey are still working. Shouldn’t they be standing with their fellow actors.

Mike T August 26, 2023 - 9:00 am

Didn’t know about the higher minimum wage rate thing. 11% is a big jump, no wonder the big studios rejected it.

Sarah J. August 26, 2023 - 3:19 pm

I think SAG-AFTRA’s strategy is pretty smart actually. Getting the independent studios to agree shows the big ones that its possible. but it’s confusing at the same time.


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