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I'm a little late blogging this month. I've been busy. Walking the picket line.

It's mid July 2023 and SAG-AFTRA joined the WGA, striking against the AMPTP. I mused a little last month about the crunch of a work stoppage, the irony of being prohibited from working in an industry with 95% unemployment, so, I won't revisit it here.

Southern California is hot. It's known for sunny days, temperate nights and baking summer days. None of which are lost on the feet, hands, heads and shoulders of picketers stomping around Disney, Warner, Netflix, Amazon, Sony, Paramount or any number of affiliates and associates. It's a bad deal for everyone involved.

But, it doesn't have to be.

I'm an actor and a writer so my perspective emanates from that point of view. I don't have a $27 million base salary or $217 million in bonuses to cushion my outlook on a work stoppage. I have unsteady income that depends on the whims of others as much as my whims and it could use a little less whimsy.

Sure, the studios have slogged through a pandemic trough, mergers and other inconveniences. Maybe they show red ink the first quarter of 2023. Maybe they have depreciating stock values. Maybe. But, after years of billion dollar profits, it's hard to feel sorry for corporations who don't plan for the vagaries of an insidiously specious business.

Unfortunately, their lack of foresight (or compassion) is now our problem too. What would you do if your actual wages were stagnant and your real earnings were depreciating? Or, what would you do if what you created, or God created, suddenly wasn't yours anymore? How about people stealing food off your table? Keep working, thankful that you get to do "what you love?" Hardly.

That's what's happening here. The studios want to use our likeness, in perpetuity, universally, for half a day's pay. The studios want to use generative AI to replace as many employees as they can. The studios want an oligarchy not a partnership.

I get it. They want to make money. Everybody wants to make money. But, it's the oldest cliche in the book - we all win when we work together. No matter what the other side thinks, they can't make money without actors, writers, grips, electrics, hair, makeup, costumes... When the current backlog is gone the public is going to be angry. Or worse, apathetic. Then, everybody loses.

I lift my voice to heaven hoping cooler heads prevail and a harmonious resolution will replace the acrimonious divide. Even if I face 95% unemployment, it's still better than being told I can't work.

As details emerge I'll share them here. Until then, go see live theater. Actors Equity and the Producer's Leagues agreed terms a long time ago without so much as one fistful of mud. Let AMPTP, SAGAFTRA and the WGA learn that lesson.

Blessings all.


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