Of Strikes and Men
Hollywood strikes, of course. With apologies to Steinbeck.
The buzz about a potential actors strike to join the already well-heeled writer’s strike in Hollywood is the entertainment news du jour. So sit down, grab a cup of Joe, and consider with me the ramifications.
Our friend, Victor Sarmiento, an actor in LA who is working on an upcoming project with Loor and something else with Roma Downey gave me the scoop.
“Most of Hollywood is at a stand still in solidarity with the WGA (Writers Guild of America). People are out of work and few productions are moving forward,” Sarmiento said in a private message.
SAG-AFTRA (lots of letters translated as “actor’s union”) voted to strike if a deal cannot be reached. Negotiations continue as of this writing. The use of technology (AI) in the industry seems to be the sticking point, and now actors want a piece of the very tiny residuals payout offered by the streamers.
If they get what they want from streaming residuals they can order something from the dollar menu (is that still a thing?) at McDonald’s.
The newest lockdown had the expected results.
“The bigger productions have been shutting down. Small productions are still happening, but they do not employ anywhere as many as the big ones, nor do they pay as much. Disney/Marvel had to push a lot of their productions later, partly because they're bleeding so badly from their horribly written movies, but also because of the strike. It really does look like this will be worse than in 2008.”
This doesn’t only hit the pocketbooks of the Spielbergs. This hits everyone related to film. People who want to pay their mortgages and their car payments.
Sarmiento also pointed out that the 2008 strike lasted about 100 days and the current strike is more than halfway to that benchmark. Now that the actors are getting in on it, expect their increased solidarity to extend the production drought. It is bad for everyone in the industry, bad for streamers and studios and bad for consumers. Disney is ditching new content to try to cover losses (anyone catch the new Willow? You can’t now.).
The contract negotiations follow the Hollywood elite’s 2020-2021 self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The film industry has not recovered. The theaters are on life support.
Consider the recent offer by AMC to its club membership to rent out one of their theaters for $99.00 to screen something for you and your closest friends. Hey, it’s not Top Gun: Maverick, but it’ll do in a pinch. They’re banking on you taking out a second mortgage to buy some popcorn and a Coke while you’re there.
It’s a Hail Mary play if there ever was one.
We wrote a lot about the impending demise of Hollywood in our startup phase, being the bright-eyed, new kids on the block that we were in 2021. It was a great pitch for a disruptive streaming\funding arthouse for faith-based film. It looks even better now that we have launched and Disney has lost another (nearly) billion dollars with their recent releases.
The industry has to change to survive; from top to bottom. Funding has always been a problem in the faith-based space and for young filmmakers. And now it has to change. Streaming is the way forward.
What needs to happen? Kickstarter and Netflix need to have a non-woke baby. A non-woke baby that loves its neighbors (film-makers) enough not to screw them in the contracts so they don’t have to screw the help in theirs. And their other neighbors (the audience) by letting them choose the content that they believe best serves them.
What the industry needs, whether they recognize it or not, is Loor. Subscribe today.
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