Striking Actors Picket Across Country in Quest for New Contract

At ten o’clock in the morning the adored members had already more or less rioted their president, Mr. Fran Drescher, and the crowd was growing by the minute.

Outside the Netflix offices in Hollywood, the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vannes Boulevard was in a festive mood. Indeed, it was a workers’ strike. But it felt like a summer Friday street party—a few famous guests.

“We are told that we should just be grateful that we are allowed to do what we want, but are not compensated or protected while they profit from our work. Hmm,” said Amanda Crew of HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” She walked the picket line with “Sitt’s Creek” Dustin Milligan.

“That’s the actor’s myth. You’re doing art, you’re making your dreams come true, so you should just be grateful. Why? Why do we do that to doctors?” We bring people great joy by entertaining them,” Crewe added.

It was the first in a multi-day march for the actors to picket locations across the country. They shouted, “Actors and writers unite!” They were marching along a short block of Times Square where Paramount does business. They handed out bottles of cold water and cans of La Croix outside 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan. And they bounced picket signs to the sound of Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” blaring from Hollywood speakers.

A day earlier, the Hollywood Actors Guild, known as SAG-AFTRA, approved a strike for the first time in 43 years, uniting the writers who went on strike more than 70 days ago.

“There’s a new sense of excitement and solidarity,” said Writers Guild of America strike leader Alicia Carroll. “The writers have been here for over 70 days. “

Actors and writers have failed to agree new deals with the Motion Picture and Television Producers Alliance, which represents major studios and streamers. Salary is a central issue, but the emergence of streaming services and the rise of artificial intelligence are complicating compensation negotiations.

Actors, including Actors Guild president Ms Drescher, see this as a tipping point, arguing that the entire $134 billion business model is crumbling. The American film and television business has changed. They say the new deal should take into account these changes, with various guardrails and protections such as increased residuals (a type of royalty) from streaming services. They are also concerned about how AI can be used to replicate their own work, such as digital replicas of scripts for writers and caricatures for actors.

The Hollywood companies say they worked in good faith to reach a reasonable agreement, even at a difficult time for an industry that has been transformed by streaming and still lingered by the effects of the pandemic.

After SAG-AFTRA announced the strike, the Studio Alliance said in a statement, “Unfortunately, the union has chosen a path that creates financial hardship for countless people who depend on the industry.”

On Friday, writers said they were encouraging the actors to join the picket line. Many of the actors have been marching together for months in uniform-like black and yellow T-shirts. It was the first time since 1960 that actors and writers went on strike at the same time.

WGA leaders share picket line advice: Bring plenty of sunscreen, set a timer to reapply, and watch traffic. But some actors were already veterans.

“I have never been to a picket without SAG-AFTRA members. rice field. “They are our staunch supporters and comrades, and we intend to repay them.”

“Suddenly, a sleeping giant awoke,” she added.

Wearing a white SAG-AFTRA hat that reads “Negotiations Committee,” animated Ms. Drescher arrived before the enthusiastic crowd that surrounded her as she visited the picket line in front of Netflix’s offices in Los Angeles.

“I’m not here for me more than the 99.9 percent who are just trying to make a living by putting food on the table, paying the rent, and taking the kids to school. she said. . “They are being squeezed out of their livelihood, which is really pathetic.”

Actor Shara Ashley Zeiger took her 2-year-old baby Lily to the picket outside NBC’s New York offices. A sign stuck out from her daughter’s stroller. Lily played with her food and tambourine.

“The impact of this deal will directly affect my daughter and family,” said Zeiger.

She added: “I was playing a part in a streamer’s project, and their contract was that they wouldn’t have to pay me the balance for two years. And it was in the middle of a pandemic.”

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