A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks. The Writer’s Strike is over and the membership seems to be mostly pleased with their new contracts. The actors, however, are still on strike. The Directors Guild of America made their deal early, so all eyes are on the Screen Actors Guild and the AMPTP. So, what now? We wait seems to be the obvious answer. But, there seems to be a bigger issue than is obvious. Directors can plan. Writers can write. But, actors need to be hired in order for them to do their work. It is also true that on the one hand, nobody can go back to work until the actors return. But, that only applies to the fact that whatever project you are working on is not being produced by a member of the AMPTP. Interim contracts, student films, SAG New Media contracts aside, nobody can really work just yet.
I stand by my union with the demands that are being negotiated. However, a troubling thought has begun to cross my mind. What about the actors that are not of the 15% that work regularly enough to qualify for medical insurance and their pension? It’s a group that I have been a member of off and on for the last 34 years. Some years were fantastic and I could provide for my family. Other times the belt had to be fastened a little tighter in order for us to make our bills every month. And during the last few years, not counting COVID-19, I have had to go back to my day job in order to fulfill my financial obligations. It’s not a terrible thing and maybe not even a complaint. But, what worries me is how the actors that are on the fringe are able to make a living as an actor. The reality of the business sets in after a few years of auditioning, booking, and mostly not booking work. Therefore there is no shame in doing whatever it takes to keep your house and dreams alive at the same time.
I don’t have a magic solution for myself, let alone others. What I can say is that even though I am not working as regularly as I would like, I still consider myself a professional actor and that being on the set for even a few weeks a year is worth the weeks I am not working. When we strike, my chances for work diminish terribly and when we go back to work after the strike, I hope to be back in the game. But, hope must turn into action, and sitting on the sidelines whinging about not booking work or having the opportunity of even getting in the room is a form of going on strike against myself.
Well, I hate to cut this one short, but I have a resume to update, some footage to edit for my new showreel, and setting an appointment with my agent to discuss my plans for a new direction of my career as a professional actor.