Atlanta filmmakers are excited to get back to work following the recent end of the actors strike!
If you didn’t know, recently, the film industry has been halted by 2 historic strikes: the WGA (or Writers Guild of America), which began May 2nd and reached a deal on September 27th, and the SAG-AFTRA, (or actors union), which began July 14th and concluded last week, officially on November 9th.
The SAG-AFTRA strike’s ending marked a historic win for actors, offering new protections against AI and loss of residuals, as film consumption moves towards a streaming world.
This strike was the longest actor’s strike in decades, and the first one initiated by the union since 1980. This is also the first time writers and actors have walked out together in solidarity since the 1960s.
Why did SAG strike?
As it was time to renew their agreement, SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers had a lack of agreement on a new contract.
The main disagreement was over streaming residuals, self-taping regulations for auditions, and studio usage of AI to scan actors’ faces and generate performances digitally.
Actors and supporters took to the streets, mostly in New York City and Los Angeles, but also in Atlanta, to picket. All Union television and film was halted, and in total, the film industry is months behind in production. This has been the largest hit since COVID to the film industry, both locally and nationally.
What’s the deal?
Immediate changes include wage minimums for performers to increase by 7%, followed by another 4% increase in July 2024 and a 3.5% increase in July 2025.
Wage minimums for background actors, stand-ins and photo doubles will also will increase, rising 11%, immediately, followed by another 4% increase in Year Two of the contract and a 3.5% increase in Year Three.
The contract also includes protections against the use of AI. Basically, the employer has to ask for performer permission before digitally altering performances significantly. If the employer also wishes to use a performer’s digital replica beyond the production the actor originally consented to, production must obtain separate consent after describing how the replica will be used in “reasonably specific terms.” Consent also carries over after the performer’s death “unless explicitly limited otherwise.”
There were also changes made to streaming bonuses and casting/auditions to protect performers. Namely, performers will not be required to memorize scripted material, use expensive/high-quality equipment to film, appear nude or perform stunts in auditions/self-tapes.
There were also wins for sexual harassment prevention and equity and inclusion. More hairstylists on set, consultations with performers for hair and makeup, more intimacy coordinators, and much more!
Overall, the Atlanta film industry, also known as the Hollywood of the South, is ready to go back to work, and is excited to get back on set!