LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Hollywood writers are back at work and some of your favorite shows will soon be back on TV. However, one question remains: what’s next for the actors?
On Wednesday, the actors’ union announced that it would resume negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which is negotiating on behalf of the studios, on Monday, October 2nd. SAG-AFTRA said several executives from AMPTP member companies will be in attendance.
On Tuesday, board members of the Writers Guild of America approved a contract agreement with studios that at least partially recovered the industry from a historic production halt of nearly five months. The terms the WGA has reached will certainly be closely watched by others – particularly SAG-AFTRA.
Actors are also seeking better compensation through streaming. But they also call for safeguards against AI that may be able to use a star’s likeness without their permission or replace background actors entirely.
Actor Jack Black hit the picket lines this week along with “Better Call Saul” actors Bob Odenkirk and Abigail Spencer in hopes of securing a new contract with the studios.
“I think it’s very important that we all get back to work with a fair deal, and the actors are still on strike!” said Spencer.
Striking actors voted to expand their strike to include the lucrative video game market, a move that could put renewed pressure on Hollywood studios to strike a deal with performers who provide voices and stunts for games.
SAG-AFTRA announced the move late Monday, saying 98% of its members had voted to strike against video game companies if ongoing negotiations were unsuccessful. The announcement came ahead of further talks scheduled for Tuesday.
Acting in video games can include a variety of roles, from voice acting to motion capture work to stunts. Video game actors went on strike in 2016, leading to a nearly year-long work stoppage.
Some of the same issues are at play in the video game negotiations as the broader actors’ strike that has paralyzed Hollywood for months, including wages, safety measures and protections around the use of AI. The companies involved include gaming giants Activision, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, Take 2 Productions, and video game divisions Disney and Warner Bros..
“It’s time for the video game companies to stop playing and get serious about reaching an agreement on this contract,” SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said in a statement.
Audrey Cooling, a spokeswoman for the video game producers, said they “continue to negotiate in good faith” and have reached tentative agreements on more than half of the proposals on the table.
U.S. consumers have spent $34.9 billion on video games, consoles and accessories so far this year, according to market research group Circana. The threat of a video game strike emerged as Hollywood writers were about to go back to work after months on the picket lines.
“We are there for the whole city”
The authors said that despite their success in negotiations, the work is not yet complete.
“We are out there for SAG until they get everything they deserve,” said WGA member Laura Beck, who was on the picket line Wednesday. “Then we’ll be out here for IATSE too…we’ll be out here for the whole city until we all get what we deserve.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.