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 (wga.org), Daily Variety (variety.com) and the actor union sites (aftra.com and sag.org). The Los Angeles Times has also been an excellent source of information and perspective (latimes.com).

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.



Anonymous said...

This may sound off the wall but BEAR with me. Could this writers strike really be something more sinister? If your a country in the middle of a presidential elections and the two main shows that basically undermine the process are silenced, not to mention "marshal law" in Pakistan just as that country is about to go through its elections, would your life not become instantly better? If we've learned anything it's, who will benefit the most from this strike? Is it really the writers? It's a few pennies on each DVD? In my observation, the entity that will benefit the most is our corrupt system of government. Is Pakistan not a client state of the US, their president installed by us, suspending elections, it sounds to convienant to me. I don't now, just a thought to throw around.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. This is very helpful!
Christine R., Woodland Hills, CA

Anonymous said...

I don't know about the bigger political picture, but the politics in the business of acting have gotten too out of hand. I support the writers in their strike, but it seems that the producer's side is too powerful and too political to ever deem to compromise. I just want to act. I had a job this week, but it was cancelled because the show I had booked is one of the shows that had to cease production because of the strike.
Henry, West LA

Anonymous said...

I was out on the picket line today (I'm an actor). All I can say is that it looks to me like things are going to get ugly long before they started looking any better,