With all the drama of the upcoming SAG Negotiations, not to mention the internecine conflict between SAG's Leadership and that of AFTRA, its sister union, those of us who fought and participated in the relatively successful Writers Guild Strike for over three months can't help reminding our actor friends:
It's all about the money. To protect the money you've earned from slipping away through as yet uncharted technological advances, which have been discussed ad nausea, such as TV shows rerun on and produced directly for transmission on the Internet.
And to make sure that the monies you agree to are delivered to you in the proper amount and on time.
A better case could not be made for what's at stake for all of us who work for hire as artists in the American entertainment industry than by the following short video produced and performed in Cologne by Andreas Stenschke, a well-known actor in Germany. It was originally shown in support of the Writers Strike, but everything Andreas talks about also pertains to actors, as he briefly discusses the plight of those around the world who have not won protections for revenues resulting from a television series or motion picture's economic afterlife. It's only a little over a minute so please take the time to watch it.
There have been nasty words tossed around by all sides in the matter but it's imperative that actors stick together as most writers did in the previous struggle to prevent progress gained over so many years from slipping away to the extent that our professional lives resemble our friends in Europe and elsewhere. Yes, everyone endured a lot of pain in the arduous process, but the future for all entertainment professionals is ultimately at stake. Residuals and royalties don't only get meted out to so-called above the line artists but bolster the health and pension plans of crew members as well.
Another actor/producer, Detlef Behr, put it well in his short video:
It's ultimately up to the SAG and AFTRA Membership whether they can get their leaders to stop squabbling and provide the sage leadership to get the best deal possible. The actors have arguably more strength collectively than any other entertainment work force, so hopefully solidarity will prevail among the A-Listers and those who are struggling without the necessity of the industry incurring another strike.
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