Paulie’s Perspective: Hollywood Strike Update

Strike Update

by Paul Bernardo

So it’s been 97 days since SAG/AFTRA has been on strike. That’s around 3 months. Not a terribly long time, but long enough for some studios to start to get worried about sustaining staff and income.

Funny enough, someone must have made a phone call because recently a bunch of A-list powerful actors showed up at SAG/AFTRA office to plead their case to end the strike. According to several sources, the power group pushed for Fran Drescher (president of SAG) and Duncan Crabtree-Ireland (Union’s Executive Director) to end the strike.

This group of actors included George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Tyler Perry, Emma Stone, and Ben Affleck.

They made a presentation to Fran and Duncan to urge them to get back to the table, and end this standoff. The main issue as we see it now is a new form of residuals for streaming shows. SAG wants money from the subscriber fees to be administered by a joint trust based on viewership data for each show. Studios says the subscriber number fluctuates too much to set a price on it and is just impossible to do. Are the fibbing? Probably. I’m sure it could be done, but it would be a lot of work and definitely leave them up for a lot of lawsuits if the numbers should be fudged or not done correctly.

The studios and streamers do not want to open their books, and make their numbers known to actors. Should they? I don’t know. In my day you just paid the actors and went home. Residuals makes this issue very complicated and I don’t know how it’s going to get resolved.

We all know studios and streamers adjust numbers to their advantage every chance they get. Making their books an open book will be problematic in a lot of ways. I’m sure the streamers and studios will do whatever is necessary to not have that happen.

So in the meantime we have a stand off. A 97 day stand off. Tyler Perry has a major studio in Atlanta that is just sitting idle. He’s not sure how much longer he can pay his staff of hundreds, even though he is a billionaire. I mean things like this really ring hollow when billionaires say they are running out of money. Who are they kidding? If you are worried about your workers, then pay them. You won’t feel it in your checkbook at all, believe me.

I am sure Clooney and Affleck and all those big powerful people want the strike over so the studios can go back to work and earn money again. I’m sure all of those big A List actors have very close ties to studio executives and I’m sure those studio guys all called the actors to kind of soften up the SAG office a bit. Affleck does not need to work again, neither does Clooney – but the studio execs have quarterly reports to live up to. So

they are getting mighty nervous. Unfortunately I do not think it’s about the little guy. The actor living paycheck to paycheck. I think they are just being stepped over in this case once again. It seems to be mainly about the studios opening their finances for the world to see. Once that happens, who knows what other problems are going to arise.