Union rally held in Los Angeles as part of the 2023 Writers' Strike

Source: Jim Ruymen / UPI / Shutterstock

Union rally held in Los Angeles as part of the 2023 Writers’ Strike

SAG-AFTRA and Alliance Of Motion Picture And Television Producers (AMPTP) have kicked off contract talks under a media blackout.

The parties have until June 30 to renegotiate terms in Sherman Oaks, north of Hollywood, before the minimum basic agreement expires. They announced the media blackout at the start of negotiations on Wednesday (June 7).

Earlier this week nearly 65,000 members or just under 48% of eligible SAG-AFTRA membership voted overwhelmingly to authorise a strike should talks fail to reach a deal.

The actors are issuing the same broad demands as the writers and directors, namely higher compensation, residuals, and regulation of AI, which in the realm of acting threatens to encroach on voice, likenesses and performances.

The group also wants to address and regulate the growing practice of self-taped auditions, which it says places an uncompensated and time-consuming burden on actors.

Should SAG-AFTRA go on strike it would compound the production slowdown already resulting from the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, which is now in its sixth week. (WGA East leaders have paused picketing in New York for the rest of the week due to poor air quality from the Canadian wildfires.)

Hollywood production would essentially come to a standstill, while international shoots involving SAG-AFTRA members would be severely compromised.

In a separate development the national board of Directors Guild of America (DGA) has voted unanimously to approve and recommend for ratification a new three-year contract tentatively agreed by DGA and AMPTP negotiators last weekend.