Countdown To The SAG Strike… Or Not?

Published 7 years ago by

strike Countdown To The SAG Strike... Or Not?Can the film and television industries handle another strike, this time from the actors unions: SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists)? No way; after the three-month-plus Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike against the studios and producers, the entertainment industries still haven’t recovered.

One caveat; as a filmmaker, I have worked with SAG in the past, employing members for a few movie projects. I have never had a problem with the union, and they were always extremely helpful in securing SAG talent for my films.

Here are the details: SAG and AFTRA’s contracts with the studios and producers (AMPTP, Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) expire June 30, 2008 (yes, you read that right – 4 days from today), and there has been zero progress. The issues at hand are contract negotiations including key issues new media and DVD royalties.

There is another big issue which has kept the two unions from sitting back down with the AMPTP: fighting between the two. AFTRA has a potential deal they want to solidify by July, but SAG isn’t happy with their terms, and so there is a major battle happening between leadership and members, and there doesn’t appear to be much in the way of progress in the past few weeks.

Unlike the WGA strike, which mostly affected a lot of new productions without scripts from moving forward but allowing existing projects with scripts to continue shooting, an actors’ strike will absolutely paralyze the industry. No one can work, and a high number of movies and TV shows feature union actors, so everything will be shut down. Not to mention that actors won’t do interviews to promote upcoming movies, which will hurt the box office and affect next month’s huge San Diego Comic-Con.

So how does this affect current projects, or those in the immediate future? posted an article a few weeks ago detailing what’s happening with movies. Many films had to start by February or March so they could be wrapped before the potential strike, otherwise they’d have to wait until after a resolution is made – and many big budget movies have already been shelved. Other films, like The Da Vinci Code‘s prequel, Angels and Demons, has forged ahead despite the risk of a strike. The movie was already delayed by the WGA strike, so the producers were determined to get the film into production.

I think it’s a bit risky to try and forge ahead with a production, even if there is a planned break if a strike occurs, much like what the fourth Terminator and second Transformers are planning. In fact, Transformers 2‘s crew will focus on visual effects and some second unit work (except stunts, since stuntmen are covered by SAG) if the strike happens.

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  1. The worst part about another strike …


  2. I didn’t want to put that in the article. Trust me, I feel your pain with reality!


  3. Commercial actors won’t cross the pickets either right. That means rerun commercials too. All of a sudden I feel like Macaulay Culkin during the after-shave burn in “Home Alone.” Where’s my semi burnt SHowstopper, I got get a break here.

  4. Actually, a few years back, commercial actors WERE on strike and we saw the rise of real people talking (unscripted) in commercials. It was big for major stores. I think Tiger Woods got fined a lot of money for appearing in one.


  5. Got BAD news INK there’s no end in sight to reality tv strike or not…

    Get ready for the new Paris Hilton show. (BFF House). Think I’m kidding. ;-(

    Heath if they don’t get an extension and then settle this strike, Hollywood is going to die off. The town is hurting bad enough with gas as 4.59 a gallon.

    I’m 99% sure this strike won’t happen but if it does the public won’t be honking to support.
    The public will look at this as an insult and might even boycott movies. (Dare I speak.)

  6. The industry in Vancouver took a HUGE hit during the Writers Strike, and are now facing another one with the possibility of the Actors Strike.

    My partner is a Lighting technician in the Film/Television industry, and work last year and this year has been pretty much non existent. We’re hoping against all hope that the strike can be averted. We’re not sure than the industry in Vancouver can survive another strike.

  7. A strike doesn’t just hurt studios, it hurts everyone.


  8. Heath, actors won’t walk out on the 1st.
    The unions still have to have a strike vote. I’m hearing that SAG right now is the hold out, AFTRA has pretty much agreed to the same terms that were covered by the WGA settlement.

    SAG has their vote on the 5th.

    So the 5th is the day we should have a better idea on the future of this strike…

    If SAG, dosnt agree with AFTRA then the strike could happen Aug 1st. ;-(

  9. I mention how there’s so much fighting between both actor unions. It’s ugly.


  10. The public won’t support the actors on this strike.

  11. Think pro sports striking, and the public reaction.

  12. They must go on strike. Its the only power that they have now against some very large, powerful multinational corporations. SAG certainly won’t get what they want and deserve by just asking for it.

  13. I don’t want a strike; I’d love for them to work out an agreement everyone can agree on. The WGA strike cost 27,000 jobs and $2 billion. A lot of that was below-the-line crew + others affected by it. Hollywood may not recover, financially, from another strike.


  14. Amen, Liz.

  15. I have no empathy for them if they strike as most of the people who work in Hollywood are well paid by the common man’s standards…I certainly have no pity for the actors who get to do what most of us can only dream about…To pretend all day long and get well paid for it…If Hollywood gets crippled by a strike they get what they deserve and if they can’t recover then I guess that will be what it deserves…Everything happens for a reason…

  16. I really don’t think that the industry can sustain another strike without taking some serious damage. Certainly not so soon after the last one. Here’s hoping negotiations work out.

  17. “The Working Life” Joanne B. Ciulla. Everybody needs to read this book! SOMEBODY interview this woman! Put it on You Tube, Please!

  18. Clooney is siding with AFTRA and Nicholson is siding with SAG.

    Here’s the deal, these 2 unions need to come together and decide to go with the WGA contract (outline) plans or come up with new ones.
    ( And they have about 7 days to do it.)
    Once they decide on a course both unions, unified will go to the Studios with their offer.

    If the Unions decide to go the (AFTRA) direction the strike will not happen both sides will sign a 3 or 4 year contract and all is well. LA will live.

    If the unions decide that they don’t think the provisions lined out in the WGA outline are good enough (SAG direction) then they will present a new contract to the Studios.

    Here’s where it gets out of hand. If the Studios don’t like the new deal this could lead to a strike.

    Last WGA strike lasted 100 days and set the tv and film industry back 2 years and billions of dollars. If it happens again and lasts for more that a month, you might as well drop a neutron bomb on the city of Hollywood.

    Some films allready in production will continue shooting under a different production company name. This has been setup in advance in case the strike happens… But that won’t keep the town going.

    (IMO) if the Strike happens It will start a depression in Southern California, and the movie industry will suffer in a way never seen before.

    So let’s hope it dosnt happen. ;-)

  19. Believe it or not, the vast majority of SAG members are technically unemployed, ie, they work other jobs. Less than 2%, I believe, make the big bucks. But it’s something that’s hard for SAG to get across.

    Plus, the majority of Hollywood and NYC actors (SAG) aren’t making the big bucks, either.

    Let’s pray a strike is averted!


  20. Hey Heath great timing on this.
    I don’t see that many other sites covering this topic.
    The entertainment sites are mostly linking to YOUR report. Nice Job!

    Vic’s high standards are represented in all your reports. Just wanna say “nice work”. 790

  21. Thanks, 790. It’s a pleasure to write for Screen Rant.


  22. I’m a lighting technician in Toronto Canada. I’ve been in the film Industry for 22 years. I’ve seen a fair share of ups and downs, but this past 2 years has definately been the worst of it.

    I do roughtly 160 Days a year of work. At this point last year I was hovering around 80 days. Right now I’m hovering around 50 days. At this rate, I’ll be cutting 1/3 of my income off the top this year.

    I’m already teetering on the breaking point of having to find another job and get out of the industry that I’ve loved and supported for the past 22 years.

    These strikes cost people and the industry money, but what no one really considers, is it also costs the industry a portion of it’s infrastructure.

    The work dries up, and rental houses have to downsize, studio spaces close up, going out of business, technicians move on and look for work elsewhere.

    If Toronto has to endure a strike that affects us as badly as the writers strike did, I can’t see the entire infrastructure lasting through it all.


    *I picked a heck of a year to save up for a wedding…I’ll tell ya that much!*

  23. Byrd,

    I’m glad to see industry people visit and read our website! I agree, and I hope the actors unions don’t strike. But it looks like a vote to strike won’t even happen…yet, at least:


  24. I read that report earlier. I’m somewhat torn about it to be honest.

    Dragging this entire thing out longer, might just do that alone. So we don’t find out that they’ll strike till the end of July say…That just means a resolution is a month away at least. It could write off the entire summer.

    If it does that…the whole pie gets smaller and smaller.

    When the writers first went on strike, I fully supported that action. Even when those amongst my own Union disagreed with them.

    At a certain point, people have to realise, that their actions affect more then those within their own pool. Writers striking affects actors, producers, technicians, rental houses, studio rentals, the whole gammit.

    However, at the same time, you have to realise that we all have to stand up for what we believe in. When some production companies make MILLIONS in profit off a show they spend next to nothing to make, and then they turn around and ask for “discounts” on rates for their next project…then at some point in time you have to draw a line in the sand and say “Enough”

    I’m not pointing any fingers persay *Saw 4 Saw 5 Saw 6* *Cough Cough Cough* Yet we all see it happen time and time again.

  25. Hang in there Byyd Dawg, things are slow in hollywood too, but I have a good feeling this strike will be over soon !! ;-)