Monday, November 26, 2007

Actors ask: "Is now the right time to strike up a new relationship?" No!

I have heard from a lot of actors in the last two weeks who seem to think that this (writers) strike environment is a good time for them to seek a new agent or manager. Absolutely not!

While it is a positive sign that the writers and the producers have met at the bargaining table today for the first time since the strike began, let’s take a look at what the implications are of the strike time already passed, in terms of actors and representatives.

No scripts continue to mean no (or greatly reduced) production; no (or limited) production continues to mean less and less roles for (union) actors to audition for; less auditions mean less possible jobs, which translates to significantly reduced opportunities for everyone to earn money, from actors’ salaries to agents’ and managers’ commissions.

The result is that many agents and managers (and casting directors, for that matter) are struggling to hold on to what they have. Many have already had to made staff and/or salary cuts to endure the landscape, particularly small and middle-sized agencies. Many agencies are also using this time to review their client lists and are making drastic cuts and changes.

In short, don’t seek representation (or new representation) at this time. Let the dust from the strike settle, as soon as the strike is settled. Then, get pro-active about seeking what you need to help fill the many, many acting jobs that will exist as soon as production starts up again. Instead, use this time to do your research and to prepare the campaign you will undertake as soon as the writers are back at their laptops.

Hang in there, be patient, and let’s see what day one back at the negotiating table brings us all.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

As the writers strike, what next for actors?

Several actors have contacted me yesterday and today to ask about how I feel the strike will impact them specifically and how it might affect the business of acting in general.

All of the major news outlets are providing excellent coverage of the strike and related developments. My go-to sources these days for current and developing strike information are the WGA Web site (, Daily Variety ( and the actor union sites ( and The Los Angeles Times has also been an excellent source of information and perspective (

As for how the strike stands to impact actors, that depends on what kind of an actor you are now (union or non-union) and what kinds of work (commercial and/and theatrical) that you seek and audition for.

You can continue to audition. What will change this is the availability of scripts. If a film or TV show already has completed scripts (and most do, for series television about five weeks of stock-piled, ready-to-shoot material), no problem. Let it also be said that should the number series regular actors honoring the strike escalate (“The New Adventures of Old Christine,” “The Office,” “Back to You” and others have already ceased production due to series stars supporting the striking writers), work will stop quickly everywhere.

In those shows that continue in production, as their scripts run out (and they are expected to before the strike ends) then, one-by-one, production all around town will cease. No scripts means no productions which means no casting which means no auditions. When that happens, we can all apply for benefited jobs at Starbucks (where even part-time employees receive health insurance). That is if half of them don’t close their doors from a serious drop in business, the result of less people in need of their daily caffeine doses and more in need of yoga.

By the way, commercials are not impacted by this at all. It is expected that, at least at this time, commercial production will continue uninterrupted.

Once the writers are done, it will be the directors and actors up at bat next. Let’s hope a positive precedent is set this go around so that further work stoppages and the financial pain they bring can be avoided.

Will the strike be worth it in the long run for industry players at all levels. We shall see. We shall all anxiously see.