The entertainment industry is heading for change as Hollywood actors join writers on the picket line.
The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists — a labor union that represents more than 160,000 TV and film actors — officially voted to join the Writers Guild of America in striking against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on July 14 after they did not reach an agreement on fair wages and the use of artificial intelligence in the industry.
“This is a very seminal hour for us. I went in thinking that we would be able to avert a strike. The gravity of this move is not lost on me,” Fran Drescher, president of the guild, stated in a press conference one day before the strike took effect. “It’s a very serious thing that impacts thousands, if not millions of people all across this country and around the world. Not only members of this union, but people who work in other industries that service the people that work in this industry. … We had no choice. We are the victims here. We are being victimized by a very greedy entity.”
Meanwhile, the AMPTP — who represents the major studios including Paramount, Netflix, Amazon, Universal and Warner Bros. — responded in a statement that said its members were disappointed by the breakdown in negotiations, calling the strike “the Union’s choice, not ours.”
“In doing so, it has dismissed our offer of historic pay and residual increases, substantially higher caps on pension and health contributions, audition protections, shortened series option periods, a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects actors’ digital likenesses, and more,” the statement read.
With both actors and writers out of work and on the picket lines, something that hasn’t occurred simultaneously since 1960, fans have been left with an overwhelming amount of questions about the future of TV and film — including how it affects those who aren’t members of the guild.
Keep scrolling for a full breakdown of the most burning questions surrounding SAG-AFTRA’s strike:
Why Is SAG-AFTRA on Strike?
SAG-AFTRA members are fighting for better working conditions, better pay and contracts that will see boundaries on the use of artificial intelligence. Actors are also asking for a new process in regard to residuals, which gives performers payment when their work is re-used beyond the initial airing date like on DVDs, streaming services and reruns.
How Will the SAG-AFTRA Strike Affect Movies and TV Shows?
While the WGA strike paused several TV shows and films in production, the SAG-AFTRA strike will completely disrupt the industry at large, with relatively all current projects in the U.S. — and even some filming abroad — grinding to a halt.
Actors, for their part, are barred from promoting any of their current or future projects connected to struck companies — the studios — through press appearances, red carpets and conventions.
How Can Someone Support the Strike As a Non-Member?
Donating to the Entertainment Community Fund — which supports cast and crew members who are currently out of work — as well as posting on social media and joining the picket lines can help support the union.
Can Film Critics Still Review Movies?
Critics are not part of the guild, which means they are not obligated to stop reviewing movies or TV shows.
Can Influencers Still Promote Movies and TV Shows?
Yes and no. If an influencer is nonunion, they are not subject to adhere to strike rules. However, if an influencer is working under the SAG-AFTRA Influencer Agreement — or hopes to in the future — they have been asked to not promote movies and TV shows.
If an influencer is under contract to promote something — paid or otherwise — SAG advises them to fulfill the obligations.
Should Fans Cancel Their Streaming Services?
Neither SAG-AFTRA — nor the WGA — has called for a boycott of any streaming platform.
Can Fans Still Go to the Movies?
Yes! SAG-AFTRA has not asked anyone to stop going to the cinema or to stop supporting their favorite films.
Can Fans Attend Conventions?
Fans are welcome to attend conventions. However, actors will likely no longer be in attendance. If they do attend, they will not be able to speak about their projects connected to struck work or do any promotion including fan meet and greets and panels.
Can Fans Engage in Cosplay?
If a fan is not a member of SAG-AFTRA — and not an influencer being paid by a studio for their work — they are allowed to dress in cosplay.
Can Fans Discuss Movies and TV Shows on Their Personal Accounts?
Fans are welcome to continue to engage in TV and film discourse.