Saturday, November 22, 2008

An Open Letter To Alan Rosenberg...

Dear Mr. Rosenberg:

As president of the Screen Actors Guild, I understand you have a lot on your plate. Add to that a teenage son, a wife whose own production schedule could be the work of two, and the fact that you're still a working actor, and anyone could understand if you were just too tired and wanted a break. But you stick it out-- you take your responsibilities extremely seriously-- and when you say you're going to sit down with the other party and discuss an important matter, you actually follow through, unlike so many in your business who promise to "do lunch" or "work with you down the line" only to fade away and never be heard from again.

Therefore, I understand the recent round of negotiations with the AMPTP have been extremely stressful. Going to all hours of the night, and right before the holiday season, too, is hard on everybody involved, even if they're not showing that, but I have to ask you for a favor now, Mr. Rosenberg: no matter how tired you may be and how much of a break you may feel you (rightly) deserve, you cannot lead your fellow actors to a strike! Not now, not after the year we've had with the economy in general, let alone the residual hits from the previous year's WGA strike.

Now, I understand your plight as an actor, Mr. Rosenberg; I have friends who are actors; I have dated actors; and I have even considered becoming a background extra to earn some extra cash and get myself onto more sets. I agree you deserve a new media contract, and I don't think any of you in SAG should agree to work in those realms without one. That being said, though, I think it is enough to boycott the new media side of things without having to grind all work to a halt. Any SAG actor who agrees to partake in an internet only production during this time should be penalized and his or her status with your union jeopardized. I say that with a heavy heart as a fan of many of those productions-- from Dr. Horrible to In The Motherhood-- and also as a producer of an up and coming web series that would probably benefit from your talented actors, but I think it needs to be done in order to avoid a repeat of last fall's quarter. Too many families were hurt by the WGA strike, and as much as I supported the writers at the time, just as I would ultimately support the actors, too, it took all year for some of them to recover, and to hit them again now would just be a slap in the face to all the loyal, hardworking below the line individuals who are so often overlooked on set, let alone in the press.

That being said, I have a few other ideas for what you can do to avoid a strike but still let the AMPTP feel your anger and disappointment, and the next time you are meeting with them or the MPAA, if you'd like to stop upstairs in Suite 3000, I'd be happy to abandon my cubicle for a few minutes and deliver my presentation to you in one of our state of the art (and named for the famous movie theaters of LA, I might add) conference rooms.

Seriously, think about it...

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