Strike! It’s a slogan that echoes in the golden world of Hollywood. The writers were the first to strike Writers Guild of America (Toilet extension). Two weeks ago, the actors participating in the protest joined the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)a union that represents about 160,000 entertainment workers.
Causes of the Hollywood strike
In addition to asking for an inflation-adjusted increase in on-set fees, the actors are protesting an increase in “residual rights”. They are asking in unison to collect royalties for movies or series posted online on platforms, and to calculate these rights on the listening data of streaming services. Once upon a time, for a series or a film that was rebroadcast, the performers received a fee calculated on the basis of a share.
Disney+, Paramount+, Sony, Warner Bros. Discovery+, Netflix, Amazon, AppleTV, and NBCUniversal refuse to release audience data or allow payment based on the success of a series or movie.
Nightmare of artificial intelligence
What is most alarming for the army of actors enrolled in SAG-AFTRA we are talking about the increasing use of artificial intelligence in film and television production. The studios are pushing, in effect, to replace the flesh-and-blood actors with a scan of their image. Not only. Believing that they are the owners of the scan, they have the idea to use it as they see fit for any other project without giving the actor any compensation. In this respect John Cusackhe declared:
“Producers can pay extra for a day of work and use their image forever without paying anything.“.
Thus, the use of AI poses a specific threat to the survival of an entire category and endangers thousands of jobs.
Who is the leader of the protest and who are the big names that are on strike?
The protest is led by a trade union leader. Fran Drescherappeared in the television series of the 90s Nanny. Join the protest:
Meryl strip, George Clooney, Joaquin Phoenix, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlize Theron margot robbie, Olivia Wilde, Ewan McGregor and many others.
Consequences of the strike
All TVs and cinemas are blocked. Actors will not be able to advertise films and series that have already been made, give interviews, or post news about their work on their social profiles. Matt Damon and cast OppenheimerFilm about Christopher Nolan walked off the London preview red carpet in solidarity shortly before the strike officially began.
If the unrest continues, festivals such as Venice International Film Festival, will not see the presence of stars on the red carpet and in press conferences. As a precaution, the director Barbera replaced the opening film of the Exhibition and instead of Applicants From Luca Guadagninoperformed by an American Zendaya and from English Josh O’Connor will open the dance Commanderdirector Edward DeAngelisWith Pierfrancesco Favino.
What are the solutions?
The paralysis of numerous film and television productions causes enormous economic damage to film studios. It would be foolish of them to continue the fruitless and self-defeating tug-of-war. Record a statement in your defense Bob Iger, Disney CEO.
“It worries me a lot. We talked about the destructive forces in this business and all the problems we face. The current recovery from COVID is not quite complete. This is the worst time in the world to add to this destruction. I understand the desire of any trade union organization to work on behalf of its members in order to achieve maximum compensation and be fairly compensated for the value they bring. We, as an industry, have been able to negotiate a lot with the Filmmakers Guild that reflects their value in this great business. We wanted to do the same with the writers, and we would like to do the same with the actors. They have a certain level of expectation that is unrealistic. And they add to the set of problems that this company is already facing, which, frankly, is very devastating. (Strike) This is going to have a very, very devastating effect on the entire business, and unfortunately there is a huge collateral damage in the industry for people who work in help desks, and I could go on and on. This will affect the economy of several regions, including due to the size of the business. It’s a shame, it’s a real shame.”
Actors are very popular in the media, and I don’t think that the opposition carried out by Netflix, Amazon, Disney, etc., who survive on the likes of their subscribers, is an operation that attracts the likes of the general public.
Apart from the economic aspect and respect for human dignity, I believe that the strike of American actors was united by the recognition of their professionalism, which most often deny and ignore. How many times did actors say that when they called themselves “actors”, they were told: “But this is not a job.” Aelius Germanus he once said that he “finally” felt like an actor when he was able to get a mortgage from a bank.
I believe that the theme of professional identity is central above all to American actors, who during the period of classical cinema were treated like puppets, had no voice and had to play any role imposed by despotic producers.
We hope that the actors most exposed in the fight against the majors will not be blacklisted, accused of being “communists”, as happened with Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Dalton Trumbo, Lauren Bacall and many others in the late forties and early fifties.
Reaffirming our closeness to those figures who earn modest amounts and fight for a just and holy cause, we hope that an agreement will be reached soon.