This is flat out bullshit, bullshit, BULLSHIT! In case you haven't heard, there have been talks all year of a possible Screen Actors Guild strike. The reason why these
greedy hardworking actors want to strike is for the same reason why the Writers' Guild decided to strike last year: MONEY! Basically they are throwing a tantrum over the royalties movie studios bring in from "new media" which consists of iTunes and Amazon.com downloads, streaming videos, etc. Bottom line, it's all the digital forms of movies and television shows that didn't exist 20 years ago the last time there was a major labor union strike in Hollywood. In 1988, the Writers' Guild flipped out over residuals for reruns of television shows and royalties from the sales of home video which were VHS and Betamax at the time (God, I feel so old!) This is pretty much the same old argument, just a different form.
There are many reasons why I'm so peeved at the idea of yet another strike in Hollywood, the main being that thanks to the WGA strike last year, many of my fave shows suffered while so many others got cancelled. Journeyman was really good, but didn't stand a chance in hell against several thousand writers picketing the studios for money they would never see. The other reason why I'm so mad over a possible SAG strike is that they haven't learned shit from last year's strike. In case the higher ups in SAG have forgotten THE WRITERS DIDN'T GET SHIT! Their demands were brutally rebuffed by the studios, so what in the hell makes SAG think the studios will cave for them? Yes, the studios want to make money and don't want to see Hollywood grind to a complete halt for another 3+ months again. However, this is one issue they are NOT budging on.
You may ask yourself "well Kim, I don't see the big deal. The studios are being greedy. Why not just give the writers and the actors their royalties on this new media?" I'll tell you why. It will be a logistical nightmare. First of all, digital media is still too new. Yes, it makes a decent amount of money, but it isn't a huge income winner for Hollywood and it costs quite a bit to produce it. Think of the bandwidth the networks use on their websites when they put up whole episodes. Episodes that have little to no commercial interruption which means minimal advertising revenue. Second, how would you pay these writers or actors? If you are a screenwriter for film, well, that's simple: you are the only one getting a check unless there were a couple others who did rewrites or supervised the overall writing of the film. With television writers, it gets VERY tricky. On a television show, you have a whole team of writers. One episode alone could use maybe one or two writers and sometimes more. There isn't a main writer who writes the entire show without outside help from other writers. So I ask you, how would you pay THOSE writers for royalties? Would you only pay them for the episodes they are credited on or would you just pay the entire writing team a flat royalty percentage each? The problem with both these solutions is some writers get more episode credits than others so it wouldn't be fair if writer A, who only wrote 2 episodes this season, gets the same cut as writer B who wrote 15 episodes. Finally, how would the writers and actors receive these royalties? Woud you cut a check around tax time for the previous years' digital media sales or will it be a little check every month? Like I said, logistical nightmare!
So to the writers who went on strike last year and the actors who want to strike now, fuck you! I guess the ten million per picture isn't enough, now you want a percentage of iTunes downloads sales too?! How will this strike benefit the lowly day players a.k.a. extras? What about secondary or minor characters in television and movies? Yeah, guess what, IT WON'T! Instead of striking, Ms. Kim has a wonderful solution that will solve everyone's problems. LEARN TO NEGOTIATE YOUR INDIVIDUAL CONTRACTS YOU DUMBSHITS! You don't have to have a law degree to know how to negotiate the terms of your contracts. Take Keanu Reeves for example: when he negotiated his contract for the Matrix series, he got a percentage of the overall gross in addition to his salary. He was smart. Many actors, directors, and even screenwriters do this all the time. Steven Spielberg is known for waiving his director's salary in exchange for five to ten percent of the film's overall gross. You are well within your rights to request that in your contract, but the downside is the studio might not accept it. In the past, royalties in film and television have been considered a privilege not a right. Studios will only give in to the A-list folks who ask for this, not some nobody who played Stormtrooper #3 in the first Star Wars prequel. I just don't understand why this hasn't caught on yet with the WGA or SAG. Common sense apparently isn't very common.