Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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    Hollywood Actors Gear Up for Tuesday Vote on Contract Agreement

    The actors’ union responsible for movie and television professionals announced on Friday that its 76-member national board, with an 86 percent majority, had decided to submit a tentative contract with studios to its members for ratification.

    The ratification process is set to commence on Tuesday and conclude in the first week of December, allowing actors to resume work immediately.

    Union members are anticipated to endorse the contract, valued at over $1 billion for a three-year period, according to Fran Drescher, the union’s assertive president. Drescher emphasized the comprehensive nature of the agreement, highlighting provisions related to artificial intelligence usage, increased minimum pay, enhanced healthcare funding, concessions from studios on self-taped auditions, improved on-set hair and makeup services, and a mandate for intimacy coordinators in sex scenes, among other benefits.

    During a news conference, Drescher, in a 28-minute monologue covering diverse topics such as Veterans Day, Bela Lugosi’s Dracula costume, Buddhism, and her dog, expressed that studios had to make concessions.

    The union, known as SAG-AFTRA, representing tens of thousands of actors, reached the tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on Wednesday, concluding a protracted standoff that led to a near-complete shutdown of the entertainment industry. At 118 days, it became the longest strike in the union’s 90-year history.

    The studio alliance described the tentative deal as historic, citing it as the “biggest contract-on-contract gains in the history of the union.” The alliance expressed gratitude that SAG-AFTRA’s board had recommended ratification and noted the industry’s enthusiastic return to work.

    The dual strikes, involving both actors and writers, caused significant economic damage, estimated at around $10 billion nationwide, according to Todd Holmes, an entertainment media management professor. Small businesses servicing studios faced severe challenges, and the overall impact on the industry was substantial.

    The summary of the tentative contract’s contents was made public by the SAG-AFTRA board on Friday, revealing substantial gains despite not achieving all their demands. The final hurdle involved the use of artificial intelligence to create entirely fabricated characters, known as “synthetic fakes,” and the union secured consent and compensation guarantees in this regard.

    The contract, however, did not address the union’s demand for a percentage of streaming service revenue. Instead, the studio alliance proposed a new residual based on performance metrics for streaming programs, which the union accepted. The agreement also includes a system where 25 percent of bonus money will go into a fund for actors in less successful streaming shows.

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