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  • Christian Myers

End of Hollywood Strike

Christian Myers

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) announced it had reached a deal with The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), effectively ending the 118-day actor’s strike following months of negotiations and a combined strike with the Writers Guild of America.

SAG-AFTRA also announced that its national board approved the agreement, 86 percent to 14 percent and recommended union members vote to ratify it. They concluded the strike after reaching agreements regarding the necessity of consent and compensation for the use of AI when creating doubles, particularly fabricated performers generated from that AI. As a result of this strike, actors can now resume promoting projects they are involved in, alongside an increased minimum wage.

However, Sharma, a member of the negotiating committee, expressed concerns about potential loopholes in creating AI performers. He highlighted that if a fabricated performer doesn’t distinctly replicate a certain actor, none of the protections would apply, raising worries about the effectiveness of the safeguards.

The deal seemed rushed despite the 118-day strike, lacking guaranteed protections. There are evident loopholes concerning AI performers that the actors' guild will need to continue fighting to address. These loopholes risk undermining the core reason SAG-AFTRA was fighting for—preventing the use of both living and deceased actors through AI without consent.

While the strike was necessary, it inadvertently led to unforeseen consequences, notably delays in movie filming and screening. For instance, "Captain America: Brave New World" initially set for a Jul. 24, 2024, release, is now scheduled for Valentine’s Day in 2025, almost a year later. Similarly, Disney’s "Snow White" was postponed from Mar. 22, 2024, to Mar. 21, 2025, resulting in a year-long delay.

However, these setbacks, although substantial, served the noble cause of advocating for reform in Hollywood's treatment of actors. They were a small price to pay for such a significant change.

Overall, in my view, the strike was a positive force that prompted substantial changes in how the film industry treats its actors and approaches using AI to depict deceased actors without permission.

However, I foresee the need for continued advocacy to solidify these changes. The ever-evolving power and applications of AI will likely lead film companies to explore new, unforeseen uses. It remains to be seen how AI will progress and how it will impact the industry moving forward.

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