Though the June 30 contract deadline came and went without incident, now SAG is saying they are holding firm and not caving to the AMPTP current stance on Internet and other New Media contracts. Now, there us already a rift between SAG and AFTRA because the smaller (latter) union just wants to keep their people working and is being more flexible with negotiations, and after a non-productive meeting in Hollywood yesterday, producers are weighing their options.
Now, I have a bunch of friends who are actors-- and at varying levels of success. Some have been working steadily for a decade and have held their SAG cards for just as long; some have just started, fresh out of school; and some fall somewhere in between: on the scene for a few years but still holding a "day job" to make ends meet. There are two kinds of non-union actors, and yes, I have friends that fall into both categories: there are the ones who are hardworking, passionate, and very focused on the art of the craft but who just don't know the right people and can't get the big auditions or always lose out to a "bigger name," and then there are the ones who may be just as hardworking, passionate, and focused on the art of the craft but who just aren't that good and therefore are still non-union for a reason. Is it realistic to assume big studio AMPTP producers will suddenly start to look at these unknowns and see potential in them that maybe has always been there? No; producers are lazy as hell! When actors go into auditions, they are told to "be" (aka "look") the part as much as possible because no one wants to think or extend their imaginations anymore; no one wants to (or has the time to) dig a little deeper and try to nurture a budding star. As a sometimes producer-- and even fewer times director-- I pride myself on the fact that I separate myself by searching for that unique, undiscovered talent. I think it's a much bigger accomplishment to find a "diamond in the rough" or an up-and-comer who you can give a big break and then say you knew when, rather than just use the same oversaturated faces time and again.
So where does that leave the state of films, though? Well, should SAG decide to hold their ground and strike, we will most likely start to see our favorite soap stars on the big screen come Summer of 2009. Go Jason Cook!