Actors Four Month Strike Ends With Pay Rises and Much More

In a decisive move to conclude a four-month-long strike that left the film and TV industry reeling, the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (Sag-Aftra) revealed key details of its groundbreaking agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers (AMPTP) on Friday. The national board of Sag-Aftra overwhelmingly approved the agreement with an impressive 86% backing, paving the way for the final ratification by the union's extensive membership of 160,000 next week.

This development comes as a relief for the industry, which experienced significant disruptions due to both the actors' strike and a concurrent writers' strike. Actors, however, are now poised to return to work immediately, marking a crucial turning point in the industry's recent tumultuous period.

The comprehensive agreement, initially disclosed on Wednesday, addresses a spectrum of issues affecting performers. Notable highlights include:

  • Higher Compensation for Background Actors: Acknowledging the integral role background actors play, the agreement ensures elevated compensation for these essential contributors.
  • Streaming Success Bonus: Actors engaged in series or films released on streaming services that achieve success will receive a bonus, reflecting the evolving landscape of the entertainment industry.
  • AI Protections: In a forward-looking move, the agreement incorporates safeguards for actors concerning artificial intelligence. Performers, both living and deceased, are entitled to "informed consent and fair compensation," acknowledging the industry's increasing use of AI technology.
  • Diverse Makeup and Hairstyling Requirements: Recognizing the need for inclusivity, the agreement introduces new standards for makeup and hairstyling, ensuring expertise in catering to performers with diverse hair textures and skin types.
  • Intimacy Coordinators: A groundbreaking inclusion mandates the hiring of intimacy coordinators on sets for scenes involving sex and nudity, emphasizing the industry's commitment to fostering a safe and respectful working environment.

Chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, speaking in Los Angeles, emphasized the significance of the AI protections, stating they guarantee performers' rights to consent, fair compensation, and employment. Addressing concerns about AI's impact on background actors, Crabtree-Ireland assured that the use of digital replicas would not undermine the engagement and payment of background actors under the new contract.

The value of the three-year deal, estimated at over $1 billion (£814 million), was enthusiastically welcomed by industry luminaries such as Jamie Lee Curtis and Zac Efron. A comprehensive summary of the agreement is slated for release on Monday, shedding further light on the intricacies of this landmark deal.

The 118-day shutdown, marking the longest in Sag-Aftra's 90-year history, and the combined economic impact of the actors' and writers' strikes, estimated to be over $6.5 billion, underscore the far-reaching consequences of the industry's labor disputes. As Hollywood anticipates a return to normalcy, the industry is braced for the economic, creative, and procedural repercussions of these historic negotiations.

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