End of the Hollywood strike. Actors return to work. The guild representing them reached an agreement with the producers. Pay raises in the legendary Hollywood – this may sound surprising, but it concerns tens of thousands of actors and film industry employees who worked for the lowest wages and often did not even earn enough to receive insurance. Now salaries are to increase, and a share of streaming revenues will also be added. In addition, there is additional protection – against artificial intelligence.
In Hollywood, all major productions have been suspended in recent months because of the actors’ general strike. It was headed by one of the most popular actresses in Hollywood – Fran Dreschner, known from the series “Nanny Frania”. – If we don’t protest now, if we don’t fight for our rights, we will soon be replaced by machines. Most people in this business don’t have even $500 saved up for a rainy day. The strike will cost us a lot, people won’t go to work, but at some point you just have to say: enough, we’ve had enough of it, said Fran Dreschner in July.
The actors decided to go on strike because they want higher salaries, but above all, they demand firm guarantees related to the use of artificial intelligence in the film industry. They don’t want their bodies or faces scanned and then altered in any way for the purposes of the film.
The strike lasted exactly 118 days, and the negotiations – over a month. On one side of the negotiating table was the Screen Actors Guild of America, representing as many as 160,000 people. On the other side sat representatives of the largest studios and production companies. – Initially, the strike meant savings for the studio because they did not spend money on new productions. Over time, however, there was a fear that these savings would turn into rising costs. The summer passed and no new programs or new films were being made. The studios were afraid that they would not have anything original to offer viewers, explains Brian Lowry from CNN Media Critic.
Finally, an agreement was reached. Its details have not been disclosed yet, but it is known that the contract is worth several billion dollars. Trade unionists won a significant increase in the minimum wage, guarantees related to the use of artificial intelligence in films, a share in royalties from streaming services and better social security.
– This is the greatest success and the greatest concessions we have ever won. The most important thing for us is protection against artificial intelligence, which is included in this agreement. A share in the profits of streaming services is also important, thanks to which the average actor will be able to support himself, says Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, chief negotiator for SAG-AFTRA.
Popular productions delayed
Mainly those whom few people know by name took an active part in the strike – supporting and third-plan actors, extras, stuntmen, and character actors. Big Hollywood names didn’t take to the streets in protest, but they didn’t appear on the red carpet that often either. In October, a group of several stars, led by George Clooney and Emma Stone, proposed multi-million-dollar payments to the strikers, but the offer was rejected. The trade unionists wanted money, but not from their colleagues, but from their employers.
– We are all experiencing this very much. It was a very difficult time. Some of the strikers were threatened with eviction because they couldn’t afford rent or food. Despite this, people united. They supported each other and that’s why they survived, says Emily Kincaid, an actress who took part in the strike.
Due to the strike, the production of many hits was delayed – such as the second part of Dune or the next adventures of the Avengers. Trade unionists have proven that it is impossible to work without them. – We see that the boom on streaming services is ending. We anticipate that the number of new shows and movies will be significantly lower. Business will consolidate, which means less work. People needed guarantees. This strike, although painful for everyone, was simply necessary – says Ethan Alter, a journalist at Yahoo Entertainment.
It was one of the longest downtimes in the history of the industry. Losses are estimated at $5 billion. The concluded contract still needs to be ratified by a wide range of trade unionists, but preparations have already started to resume suspended work on the filming sets.
Facts about the World TVN24 BiS
Main photo source: Reuters