LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Major Hollywood studios are at the negotiation table with actors for the first time in SAG-AFTRA’s near three-month strike against them.
Over 1,100 actors in Nevada are registered with the union – according to SAG-AFTRA Nevada – all of whom have been told to not act, rehearse, or even promote productions by major motion picture studios represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
This came after failed negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and SMPTP in July 2023.
While Eileen and John Prudhont have a combined 60 years of acting experience between them, the role of a “person on strike” is new to them.
“We’re working independent films. We’re working commercials. We’re working industrials. Voiceover,” John said inside his South West Valley home Monday afternoon, discussing how actors are making money amidst strike obligations. “You don’t have the better-paying roles, because of course, larger feature films, they’re going to be paying better.”
“They’d be like ‘Are you available? Okay it’s tomorrow at—’ and then they’ll let you know at like midnight you need to be in at 6 a.m.,” Eileen said, discussing how quickly some acting work used to come before the strike.
The couple said besides one commercial shoot, their primary sources of income have turned to their other businesses outside of the media production industry.
As predicted at the onset of the strike, the fall television season has seemingly dwindled due to work missed during the summer. Mitchell Bobrow, national board member for SAG-AFTRA Nevada, said future seasons are at stake too.
“It might get a little boring out there,” Bobrow said inside Vu Studios, where several Nevada-based feature films were filmed. “There already won’t be a fall season. Now we’re looking at, will there be a spring season? Will there be a summer season?”
The union’s demands remain unchanged: over 160,000 members want high pay and residuals, more compensation through streaming, and protection from the artificial intelligence feared to potentially replace the working actor.
But, for Bobrow, he remains optimistic as AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA met at the negotiation table for the first time since the strike notice last week. As the Writers Guild of America (WGA) ceased in September, he said actor negotiations are now leveraged by what writers accomplished.
“Hopefully, we’ll start our negotiations at that point, and get even better than the writers did,” Bobrow said, speaking about the WGA deal. “All the studio heads are in the room. All of our people are in the room.”
Until that deal is struck, actors like the Prudhonts said they are willing to stand in solidarity.
“They’re not going to starve us out,” John said. “It’s extremely important that we’re protected and that what we’re doing is not being used out there without us being compensated for it because we are our products.”
The SAG-AFTRA strike has reached the 85-day marker. For context, the WGA strike lasted 148 days, or roughly two months longer than the current actor strike.