SAG Unsatisfied with Hollywood Salary Increase on Jun10 2009

by Scott Bufis | Print the article |
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The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has struck a two-year deal with the major Hollywood studios to increse the minimum wage for actors of film and primetime TV shows 3% as a part of a $105 million package of improvements.  The deal, however, did not cover appearances on the internet – a hotly debated issue in Hollywood.

SAG president Alan Rosenburg is not satisfied with the deal.  He called the contract “devastatingly unsatisfactory,” and told members to “ready themselves for the battle ahead” for new negotiations in 2011.

Apparently, the millions of dollars Hollywood actors receive for their work is simply not enough – they need more.  Understandably, people must accomodate their salaries to the consistent inflation of currency, but SAG is obviously unsatisfied with this incremental increase of income.  The question comes down to: are Hollywood actors financially savvy or spoiled brats?

Comments welcome.

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The Author The playwright of award-winning one-act "What You Didn`t Know About Superheroes," Scott Bufis has been writing since he was of elementary school age. Originating with sci-fi comic book style fictions, Scott now studies philosophy, religion, and creative writing at Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL. His writing styles include graphic fiction, academic papers, screenplays, stage plays, short fiction, poetry, journalism, socio-political commentary, and experimental spoken word. | All posts by | Topic: Business, Entertainment | Tags: , , , ,

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  1. 1 Why We Watch on June 10, 2009 11:57 am

    If you take $105 million, divide it by the 110,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild the average amount each member receives as an ‘improvement’ in pay is a mere $95.45 That is actually split over the next 2 years so call it more like about a $47 a year ‘improvement’ per actor.

    Of course this is not how SAG & actor payment works, not at all. About 9.3% of SAG’s members make more than $28,000 a year from acting (that $28K number is the amount it takes to qualify for SAG’s health insurance for an entire year), the rest get nothing except residuals when their films or TV shows are aired on broadcast or cable TV (and those residuals decrease over time). With ‘new media’ about to become the home of reairings & library product the fact that this deal doesn’t secure actors any significant money for that area (while you know that the 6 gigantic media conglomerates are getting paid when they put their product out there and that market will grow to amount to untold billions of dollars) should tell you why this supposedly great deal didn’t appeal to a significant number of actors.

    So long as they remain popular with the public, the richest actors of course don’t have to live under a standard SAG contract, they have one or more people representing them who can negotiate them deals up from the union minimums. But that’s not true for the rest of actors who are mostly stuck with minimum union pay (called scale plus 10%, the latter going to pay agents/managers for actors who have them) with no hope of significant career advancement in the form of more pay with more work experience unless they hit the the equivalent of the acting lottery & become stars.

    The richest actors who used their celebrity to turn the union into their personal country club / slush fund may not be so fortunate to remain as commercially viable as they currently are. When that day comes (and it will come for the majority of them if Hollywood history is a reliable guide) they won’t have the securities their union used to provide to fall back on. It will be as sad for them then as it is for the vast majority of actors now.

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