Over 65,000 Hollywood actors have gone on strike recently, taking to picket signs and protests. They were demanding pay rises and rules surrounding the use of AI. With many actors denying AI the rights to use their likeness within training.
Actors went on strike early this year for a number of reasons. One huge reason came down to pay. While people believe those in Hollywood are paid huge amounts, this isn’t completely true. Those at the very top might earn large numbers of money each year. However, those who don’t have huge known names throughout, are on far less.
The cost to live around the areas are extremely high, so with actors not being paid fairly, many cannot afford to live. So many will need to leave the area, and this will result in them not being cast in shows, films and more. Not only that, but their residual payments have been taken from them. This refers to money earned from re-airs.
Each time a show or film an actor is in replays on TVs or theatres, the actors will receive money from this. For a long time this money has paid well for smaller actors because they only need that one big break. If they’re featured in a film that regularly gets played on air, then they’re regularly earning money. Take this away, and they might not have much of an income.
Not only that, but another issue actors have is the use of AI. It’s becoming more and more popular. It’s cheaper as it doesn’t require a wage, and it’s completely adaptable. However, how do they train AI? Well, they need humans for this. A lot of AIs have had training from actors. It picks up a real likeness to the actor. It can almost be a replica.
Actors are fighting back. Why should they help train something which could be used to replace them? They’ll receive the earnings for training, then what? Once the AI can essentially be them, what’s the need for them any more? It seems completely unfair, so it’s no wonder actors began to strike. This has been going on for months.
SAG-AFTRA stands for Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. They’re a union who represent pretty much anyone within the arts and creative world. Anyone from actors, dancers, radio hosts, broadcasters etc. They work with the creators and have been battling for fairer pay for some months now. It looks like they’ve finally reached an agreement.
If actors agree to this TV/Theatrical contracts deal, the strike will come to an end. There’s a new compensation stream put in place for actors who work within the streaming industry. This is a bonus on top of the current residual structure. Any actors who meet certain viewership requirements will be able to receive this payment.
They’ve also discussed how actors will be protected against AI in the TV and film industry. It looks like there will be informed consent and compensation granted to any actors where digital replicas are being formed. This is for all members of the union, both living and deceased. Hopefully this is good enough for the actors to agree to.