SAG-AFTRA and The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) will meet to resume negotiations on a new contract for the first time since the actors’ strike on July 14. The return to the negotiating table comes just days after studios reached a tentative deal with the Writers Guild of America.
The studios and actors jointly announced that the two sides will meet on October 2nd and several executives from AMPTP companies will also be present.
The WGA’s new basic minimum agreement with studios should provide a basis for discussions that could, in theory, speed things up between actors and studios. The authors won increases to minimum amounts, a new residual formula for shows and films in streaming and even protections when using artificial intelligence.
But SAG-AFTRA has many requirements that are specific to the needs of actors. The guild wants additional protections or minimum requirements for background actors and stunt performers. It also wants regulations for self-recorded auditions. And his concerns about AI are far more complicated than even the writers have had to deal with, and that was the one area that held up the writers’ contract negotiations until late into the weekend on September 24th.
The studios and WGA also agreed to a 5 percent increase in the first year of the contract, but SAG-AFTRA originally demanded an 11 percent increase in its negotiations, figuring that less would not keep up with rising inflation costs. Studios might be wary of going beyond what the writers ultimately agreed to.
It could take several more weeks of negotiations to reach a tentative agreement and schedule a vote to end the actors’ strike, and many industry forecasters are already predicting early November or Thanksgiving as a possible date for production to begin in earnest.
It took 148 days for the WGA strike to finally come to an end. This came only after three intense days of negotiations in which Bob Iger, Ted Sarandos, Donna Langley and David Zaslav met with the WGA negotiating committee to negotiate a deal. And although many writers scoffed at the idea of a “best and final” offer from the studios, it was expected that the studios would shift their focus to SAG-AFTRA if an agreement was not reached at this point.