If you’ve been living under a rock or simply haven’t been keeping up with the media, chances are you’re unfamiliar with the term SAG-AFTRA. Now, if you don’t see yourself pursuing a career in acting or screenwriting, you might be tempted to dismiss this topic. However, remember that knowledge trumps ignorance.
SAG-AFTRA, which stands for the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, is essentially a guild for actors. To put it plainly, it’s where stars like Arianna Grande, Timothée Chalamet, and many others who grace your favourite shows come together. So, you might be wondering, how did these protests begin? Well, it all boils down to one word: money.
Behind the shows we all love, from Dynasty to Scream Queens, and even Blue’s Clues and You, are writers—men and women who invest their time, creativity, imagination, and hard work to breathe life into these shows. They craft intricate storylines, plot twists, and dialogues that both baffle and captivate us. Unfortunately, many of these talented writers felt they weren’t being adequately compensated. This discontent led to protests and even riots within the writers’ guild.
As a result, shows stopped being written, and actors subsequently joined in the protest. The major production companies and streaming services didn’t anticipate an easy resolution, especially considering that the last time a protest like this occurred, it lasted for over five months. The “big players” in the industry have remained firm, refusing to yield, and citing that some actors are struggling to pay their fees.
Now, you might be wondering why you haven’t felt the impact of these protests if you’re not directly involved. Well, it’s because not all actors are part of the Actors Guild, and some production companies were never involved in the initial uproar. Furthermore, the shows we enjoy are typically released after a period of post-production, ranging from a mere two months to a whopping year. This delayed release allows many companies to continue making money while leaving some actors underpaid or even struggling financially.So, what does all of this mean for dream chasers? If you’re currently pursuing your dreams in the world of acting, things might become more challenging. SAG-AFTRA has set certain restrictions on which companies their members can work with, and joining the guild can limit your opportunities. However, keep in mind that guilds also play a significant role in securing acting gigs.
For those who have dreams but aren’t actively chasing them at the moment, it’s essential to remain vigilant. Situations like these tend to settle down eventually, but the world is an unpredictable place and money often creates problems that it should have solved. So, continue dreaming and never stop chasing your dreams and aspirations.
Upright Chiemezuo EMEH
Class of 2025