Monday, December 1, 2008

Here's The Mogul Argument

The above graphic is a letter to the public from the AMPTP explaining their stance on the whole possible SAG strike. Unlike some popular bloggers out there with the luxury of advertising dollars to protect their steady income, yours truly has a different viewpoint on the current labor stand off between Actors and Moguls. If you've been paying attention, you know I don't support a strike, because like many other actors in Hollywood, I do not draw my sole income from acting. I do other things to pay the bills (like many of you). I for one need Hollywood to be producing movies in order to put food on the table. I'm an actor and I sympathize with the issues SAG is bringing to the table.

However, despite the arguments brought forth in the lette rabove, I also would like to point out one more. When you have 100,000 options for a sevice available to you, the cost for those options goes down, not up. SAG's membership is incredibly bloated for the scale of work currently offered out there. Many members are paying dues for a union that provides labor protection for people who may never work on a project. It's kind of insane. This is why the producers do not want to pay the actors more money, because they know there are lots of people out there they can put in movies and on T.V. who will not quibble about the money. Think of it this way, if we had just 1,500 cellular providers out there, how much money do you think you'd have to pay for cell phone service? Probably not the fifty bucks you pay now. It would be more like 5 bucks.

However, SAG loves them some money. So, they won't turn anyone away.

This is ultimatley why this Union drives me nutes. There is no certification to be in SAG. There is no board that looks at a talented actor and says. Yes, they deserve to be a member of the Union. For example, You fall ass backwards into three days of extra work, and you're in the union. Does it make sense that all you have to do is stand there, and you get to be in a union?
You didn't have to have a speaking part. You didn't have to audition. You just have to be able to stand there. I'm not saying background isn't hard work (there are long hours involved), but as someone who has done it to make ends meat, it's a role that really challenges your acting chops. This is why so many talented trained regional theatrical actors give up and go back to where they came from. They've trained, received degrees, have years of experience, but for some reaons agents treat them like the plague because they cannot make friends with one of the nine extra casting agencies in L.A.

I worked some background a few years back. Everyone I talked to didn't even call themselves an Actor. They 'just did this for fun', or did it for the extra cash. Many had never even taken an acting class and didn't plan to. One guy saw me reading a copy of a play. He asked me what I was reading. I said a play. He said, "You mean you can buy copies of plays to read? I didn't nkow that". However, this guy was a member of the Screen ACTORS guild.

SAG has created this problem. They take anyone so they can so they canc ontinue to support the corporate model they have created for themselves. The Union is so bloated it needs a bigger deal to keep it up and running. It's no secret to anyone that SAG is fundamentally broken. It's model is corrupted and not working. This negotiation process is just one further example of why it needs to be dissolved, and re-invented.

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