Hollywood, which has been crippled by an actors strike for 118 days, is back in business.
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The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) reached a tentative agreement, the union said yesterday (Nov. 8). The announcement comes after days of drama, when talks collapsed and SAG-AFTRA rejected the studio chiefs’ last and final offer.
“We have arrived at a contract that will enable SAG-AFTRA members from every category to build sustainable careers,” the guild said in a note to its members. “Many thousands of performers now and into the future will benefit from this work.”
AMPTP said the deal gives SAG-AFTRA “the biggest contract-on-contract gains in the history of the union,” including massive minimum wage hikes, streaming residuals, and definitive lines around the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
Actors have been worried that AI can create convincing simulations of them, potentially putting them out of work—it’s especially a concern for extras. During negotiations in July, SAG-AFTRA took issue with a term that stipulated background performers could be scanned, paid for the day, and then turned into digital characters that studios could use “for the rest of eternity.”
People behind the screens—musicians, visual effects artists, and more—are also facing a similar occupational existential crisis.
The exact details of the agreement, including how the two sides finessed AI guidelines—l, will stay under wraps till it is reviewed by the SAG-AFTRA National Board on Friday, Nov. 10, the Los Angeles Times reported. How fair the deal really is depends on the fine print in the contract.
A brief overview of SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP’s deal
🤑Minimum pay increases—apparently the biggest boost in the last 40 years
🤖 Consent and compensation to protect members from the threat of AI, like having their likeness replicated and replaced
💰 A streaming participation bonus—a first
📝 Pension and health caps substantially raised
💸 Pay raises for background performers
🤝 Contract provisions addressing the protection of diverse communities
Quotable: Of AI and the Oscars
“[If] AI becomes dominant in some way, and they decide to go in that direction, I’m a thousand percent confident—and I’d like to see the Academy make some remarks about this—AI films are not eligible for Oscars…You can’t have AI films eligible for Oscars. Movies that are eligible for Academy Awards should be movies that are produced by human beings, written by human beings, directed by human beings, scored by human beings, filmed by human beings, and acted by human beings.”
—Actor Alec Baldwin in an Instagram video celebrating the end of the actors’ strike posted on Nov. 8
Hollywood strikes in 2023, by the digits
$1 billion+: The value of the actors guild’s new three-year contract includes
148: Days the the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) was on strike for before ratifying a deal with the AMPTP on Oct. 9
160,000: Number of SAG-AFTRA members, including actors, broadcast journalists, announcers, hosts, stunt performers, and other media professionals.
2%: Cut of streaming revenue SAG-AFTRA was demanding, which company executives deemed unrealistic
6 months: The duration of the longest SAG strike in history, which happened in 2000 over commercial actors’ residual pay for television and radio ads, and pre-dated the 2012 SAG-AFTRA merger.
63 years: How many years ago the last twin strikes—of writers and actors—took place in Hollywood, back in 1960
$6.5 billion: How much the writers and actors strike cost the California economy as of Nov. 7, according to a Deadline report.
45,000: Entertainment industry jobs lost between the start of the two strikes and the end of September, US federal data show
Source : Quartz