Shepard, 48, discussed the situation during the Monday, August 21, episode of his “Armchair Expert” podcast with guest Jason Derulo, who was talking about the way “money fights” can cause “turmoil” in relationships.
“When I was a kid, my parents would fight all the time about money,” Derulo recalled. “In the back of my mind, I’d be like. ‘I’m gonna fix this.’ I thought that I would be the savior of the problems that they had.”
Derulo noted that his parents still argued after money became less tight, which helped him learn that finances aren’t always the root cause of disagreements. Shepard agreed, relating the feelings he’s been experiencing since the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists went on strike in July.
“I am currently in a, like, two-month spiral of just completely out of hand financial insecurity,” Shepard said. “This new fear of, ‘I’m gonna somehow be broke or I’m gonna lose everything, podcasting is gonna be over, there’s an actors strike and I’m not gonna act.’ It’s so foundationless, it’s preposterous.”
Shepard went on to say that he thinks this fear comes from his childhood rather than the facts of his day-to-day life as a successful entertainer. “It’s not related to reality,” he explained. “It’s from growing up poor. I just can’t shake it. So, to your point, you watch your parents fight about money, you think money’s the problem. But money’s not the problem.”
Derulo agreed, adding, “It’s not. It’s way deeper rooted.”
SAG-AFTRA voted to strike in July after negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers stalled. The main issues at stake include the use of artificial intelligence in film and TV projects and the relatively low residual payments actors receive for streaming compared to traditional broadcast models of TV.
Many actors have spoken out about the decreases in their residual payments as streaming has become a more dominant platform for watching movies and TV. Kendrick Sampson, for example, said last month that he recently received 56 residual checks totaling less than $100.
“I prayed that these are HEALTHY checks to get me through this time,” the 35-year-old actor, who’s appeared on Insecure and How to Get Away With Murder, wrote via Instagram. “But lo and behold — 50 (yes FIFTY! FIVE, ZERO) checks into counting, I had to take a break because … the total was $86. This is that bulls–t. And I KNOW people are struggling much more than me!”
The Writers Guild of America has been striking since May over many of the same issues. Earlier this month, former Suits writers Lilla and Nora Zuckerman slammed Netflix for the small payments they’ve received as the USA Network series became a huge streaming hit this summer.
In 2016, Lilla “received $12,568.57 in residuals” for the season 5 episode “Blowback,” which premiered in January of that year. “I imagine it was probably being sold internationally and re-airing on USA,” she told Decider. “This year, 2023, where Suits has been viewed for billions and billions of hours on Netflix, I received the grand total of $414.26 on that episode.”
Nora, for her part, added, “You hope that maybe some magical check will arrive, but it does not appear. … It’s been pretty sad.”