Will Hollywood lose us forever? Or will it take three strikes before they're out? Well, I doubt they'll lose us, but we certainly won't be very happy campers. And 2009 looks like it may be a sparse year for film. Luckily for us, this autumn looks like it's going to be a kick-ass season! More on that...ummm... this autumn.
Don't forget your protective gear!
Arriving so soon after the writer's strike, a SAG strike doesn't seem like such a good idea. I am all for solidarity, but since an actor's living is based on good timing, doesn't this seem a little ironic?
I'm writing this from the average person's point of view, rather than an actress's. Mainly because, unlike Zombie Boy, I don't have enough points to join the Screen Actor's Guild! Not yet, anyway. So since I'm not privy to a lot of the information, I thought it best to step out of my Actress Stilettos and start treading in my *panics as she realizes the most normal shoes she owns are ballet flats*...Er, well...in my non-stilettos.
Actors like George Clooney and Tom Hanks have been trying to get talks going since February, in order to avoid a major strike--once again arguing over DVD residuals and Internet streaming. They figured it would be best to start talks several months before the 30th June contract expiration date. Their public campaign didn't get them very far, as talks haven't been scheduled until the 15th of April...and
since that's next Tuesday, we have no clue how that particular discussion will fare. Especially considering the recent split between the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (broadcast, public, and cable television news programs; soaps; talk shows; children's programming; reality and game shows).
George & Co's "Just Talk" ad.
What exactly does that mean?
The unions won't have as much power negotiating separately, but don't expect a faster deal, since AFTRA is ready to strike a deal and avoid a strike.
For the past thirty years, these unions have negotiated contracts together, but AFTRA has decided to go it alone this time around. According to AFTRA President Roberta Reardon, "AFTRA's leadership believes that our union must devote its energies first and foremost to working on behalf of performers." (Don't you love statements that don't say anything?) Their negotiations don't start until the 28th of this month, so what does that mean for the TV shows we've been waiting for? A lot of shows are returning within the next week or two, although finishing with a much shorter season. Some of the newer shows we wouldn't see until they start a new season this fall. Therefore, some studios are trying to get as much filmed in May and June as they possibly can.
And films? According to Variety, "Hollywood majors are refusing to schedule new start dates
on films that can't complete shooting by June 30." (As if 2009 didn't have enough troubles!) One production president, speaking under anonymity, stated that "the actors are tired of being out of work." Tell me about it! Oh wait, they mean actors who have been working...
The actors' strike in 1919--I don't think they were waiting for Godot.
The SAG looks "forward to productive negotiations," according to National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Doug Allen. Really? Is this like taking that long-awaited vacation? "I can't wait!" Something tells me that's not why George, Tom, Meryl, and Bob have been trying to get talks going for a couple of months. SAG president Alan Rosenberg, however, has felt comfortable enough in his shoes (presumably not stilettos) to delay negotiations this long, but how will that effect the outcome?
Ugh. I don't know. All I really know is there won't be too many movies to see next year. And I don't think the actors will find as many people on their side, as happened in the WGA strike. Will we have as much sympathy for multi-millionaires picketing? (Granted, the percentage of millionaires in SAG is small, but most people won't realize that about two-thirds of the guild is made up of members making less than $10,000 a year. And the ones most vocal about negotiations do make millions. But who else will speak up for everyone?)
Well, as Walter Cronkite always said, "That's the way it is."
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