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View Full Version : Movies and TV SAG Strike on the Horizon?


DaneMcCloud
06-05-2008, 02:30 AM
http://www.usatoday.com/life/2008-06-04-actors-strike-main_N.htm

Here we go again. Still recovering from a three-month writers' strike that crippled the TV and movie business, Hollywood is bracing for the possibility of another walkout, this time by the Screen Actors Guild, as early as June 30.

Filmmakers already are in strike mode: Most projects due to start shooting in the spring were postponed unless they could be completed by month's end. Actors are sitting on the sidelines to await the outcome of negotiations.

MORE: Movies, television have a strike game plan

"The studios are not greenlighting films right now. It's a bad situation," says Emile Hirsch (Speed Racer), who finished his last project two months ago. "Hopefully, it will all work itself out. Nobody wants to be out of a job."

But network-TV producers, normally on early-summer break, are in hurry-up mode. Though they typically don't resume shooting until late July or August, several series, including House, CSI and My Name Is Earl, are in production now and will complete four to six episodes for next season before June 30.

That's partly designed to make up for wages lost during the writers' strike and partly to hedge against an actors' walkout over the summer.

TV and film executives are less fearful of an actors' strike than they were last fall ahead of the writers' walkout. The general consensus perhaps wishful thinking is that barring a last-minute settlement, there might be a short, symbolic strike. They note that SAG has yet to ask its members to authorize one.

But the effect would be swift. Most filming would be shut down immediately, unlike the writers' walkout, when a script surplus allowed production to continue on previously written projects.

SAG resumed talks last week with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the studio consortium that handled labor agreements with writers and directors earlier this year. Both sides declined comment, citing a press blackout. SAG represents all film and most TV actors, and has 127,000 members.

The studios reached a tentative agreement last week with another union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which represents performers on soap operas, talk shows and commercials, as well as a few scripted series. (About 40,000 members belong to both unions.)

That would leave David Letterman free to work even during a SAG strike, but union actors would likely boycott the talk shows.

Among actors' sticking points: royalty pay hikes, approval over the use of clips and product placements, and payments for original programs on the Internet.

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I don't know if it's going to happen but I know several well-known actors who have told me flat-out that after the WGA strike, they would not vote for a SAG strike. Monetarily speaking, it's hurt way too many people this year.