WHY WE STRIKE
Image Copyright Timothy A. Clary, for Getty, 2023. All rights to original owner.
I stand in support of my SAG/AFTRA & WGA sisters, brothers, and others.
I am not a member of SAG/AFTRA or the WGA, but this is an existential fight between multi-billion dollar companies and working-class actors, writers, stunt performers, stage managers, casting directors, and a multitude of people just trying to entertain you and make a living wage while being protected from unethical use of unregulated AI technology.
The way I see it, we're fighting for two things:
1) To bring the "New Media" (aka streaming companies) in line with established industry norms for compensation. No longer the scrappy startups that pleaded to be treated like the underdog, these companies are now the elephants in the room, and must be treated like the established, powerful companies they now are.
2) To protect workers in all stages of production from the unregulated, unethical use of AI, large language model and machine learning systems. These systems, developed by companies obeying only profit motives, are a threat to anyone's job, but the writers and the actors see the writing on the wall and are raising the alarm. Between the unauthorized and uncompensated "training" of these models on artists works, to the potential for deepfake technology to allow studios to use actors looks, voices and mannerisms FOREVER, the depths that studios may sink to in order to screw workers and pad their bottom line is limitless.
These companies, such as Netflix, Disney, Amazon and Fox are all gargantuan media conglomerates that rely upon our human ideas, human labor, and human vulnerability to create the media that makes them billions of dollars every quarter. These companies, beholden only to their shareholders and the relentless growth of profit and market share, decide to spend money on stock buybacks and staggering c-suite compensation packages rather than paying a fair wage that keeps their own workers out of poverty.
Well, we said no.
They rely on us, but they think we are just cogs in the machine, easily replaced by the next hot tech. It is time to show them that our stories and the ability to tell them were here long before they were, and will be here long, long after they are gone.