Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Note to the Actors

Are you freaking kidding me?!?

I am no longer a voting member of SAG - I gave that up a few years back when I finally accepted that I won't work in this town again. Bygones.

But this is not coming from a place of bitterness of being a has-been. Shut up - it's not! This is coming from a place of LOVING entertainment, of craving my escapes into TV and film.

But the realist in me says that I don't think this will have a very happy ending.

The industry still has not recovered from the Writer's Strike. You may have noticed that fewer pilots got picked up, and those that did have almost no time to prove themselves to stay on the air. Many studios have cut back on how many films they have in production throughout the year.

And, um...did you know that we're in a massive recession right now?

Millions of people are out of work, and many more millions are suffering financially even with a job. Their hours are getting cut, their houses are being foreclosed upon, their kids may have to drop out of college. Not to mention, most of us feel less secure in our job than we did a year ago. And, oh yeah, the holidays are coming.

Do you really think that the people working in an automobile factory that has a strong possibility of closing down in the next two months are going to give a second thought to your jurisdiction over online shows?

Our President-elect is telling us it's time for us to tighten our belts, that we all have to be prepared to sacrifice. Many folks will begin to wonder about your sense of duty if you're not willing to accept the same deal that all the other entertainment-related unions have gotten.

Look, I was one of you. I know that the majority of the SAG members are not making their living from their acting duties. This actually affects you even more negatively. Your waitress/messenger job may be in dire jeopardy if Hollywood does not continue to run. And of course, with a strike, you can take no day gig on Law & Order to see you through Christmas.

My regular readers know that I'm pretty much the picture of the bleeding heart liberal. However, nothing plugs that bleeding heart quicker than an over-inflated, bureaucratic union. I want to know how much that bureaucracy continues to rake in during a strike. I want to know why there can't be a stop-measure gap implemented that will keep the biz going through, say, 2010.

This is not the same country it was when the writer's strike happened, what, a year ago? We are a country that is getting back to the basics. This is a country where sometimes you can't tell the difference between a Repub or a Democratic pundit (on stations other than Fox News, that is). This is a country where we're finally having serious conversations about what government involvement should mean when it comes to actual issues that affect all of us. This is a country where my daughters get that the number of presents under the Xmas tree isn't nearly as important as the roof over our heads.

I fear that you're counting presents rather than recognizing the roof. There are NO venture capitalists to invest in your internet production company right now. There are NO internet folks that are willing (or able) to subscribe to entertainment that they can get for free on YouTube and other free online access right now. And there's almost no one out there (with the exception of me - and Kori, probably) without a video camera willing to create their own entertainment right now.

And make no mistake about the studios. Most are owned by larger conglomerates that have other possible sources of revenue. You can't think, for one minute, that they haven't factored in shutting down scripted productions. You can't believe that they won't quickly fill their prime-time schedules with more reality shows and news programs and shelved product they already own.

I'm not saying you're wrong, but for people that are in the business of perfecting timing, your timing couldn't be more off. And in the end, I fear that you (and the viewers that love you) will suffer the most.


FreedomFirst said...

Kudos to that. I gave up cable long ago because it stank anyway, and I'm not about to shell out all that money again even without a writer's strike. I could seriously care less. I'll save my sympathy for the people making minimum wage.

MarĂ­a said...

What you said.

Florinda said...

You can add me to the list of people without a video camera. I don't want one, either. I think some people get so caught up in capturing an event on video that they miss the event itself.

Well said, April!

Jen said...

I am so with you on all of this April. I had the same reaction.

Kori said...

Of course you know that I have nothing of merit to add here, but since you are like one of three blogs I am commenting on these days, well, just wanted to say SOMETHING!

Ms Crazy Princess said...

100% true! I agree. Kudos to you!

Me. Here. Right now. said...

Insanity. Not yours. Theirs.

Julie said...

For some reason, this post made me step back and think, "damn, April is a great writer!" No idea why that just occurred to my now. I guess I haven't been paying close enough attention recently. This is my favorite line: "...for people that are in the business of perfecting timing, your timing couldn't be more off." Very nice!

Shiona said...

Yes this is very true! Months ago this was a huge deal and now it's like whatever. Some people don't even hasve a place to watch tv in. You are so right about the timing

Julia@SometimesLucid said...

I agree 100% with your post. I was watching the president of SAG on KTLA and just wanted to pummel him! WTF - don't we already have enough problems without an actors strike????

Elizabeth said...

So true. A strike right now will help no one.