The SAG-AFTRA strike ended on November 9 when union leaders and AMPTP executives reached an agreement on a new contract that included many changes.
- An agreement reached between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP ends the strike and addresses actors’ concerns about AI, streaming bonuses, residuals, the casting process, and more.
- New regulations in the tentative agreement require consent for replicating actors’ likenesses with AI, introducing streaming bonuses for successful shows, and increasing residuals for syndication and streaming.
- Other key changes include regulations on the casting process, increased contribution ceilings for pension and health benefits, recognition of performance-capture actors, higher wages for background actors, new holidays, and access to appropriate hair and makeup services for all actors.
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The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) reached an agreement over a tentative new contract on November 8, meaning that television shows and movies could resume production after the strike officially ended the next day. SAG-AFTRA released a summary of its 2023 Tentative Agreement with AMPTP on November 12, and it includes many changes that actors were fighting for during the 118-day SAG-AFTRA strike. Of course, some compromises had to be made, but many problems were dealt with.
The 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike began on July 14 when the actors union and the AMPTP, which represents film and television studios, could not settle on a new contract following the expiration of the old one. The strike coincided with the 2023 Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, which started on May 2, so Hollywood was at a standstill for months. Actors were fighting for numerous changes, including consent over artificial intelligence and increased residuals, and the Tentative Agreement addresses many of their concerns.
10 New Artificial Intelligence Regulations
Actors can give consent to studios to replicate their likeness
One of SAG-AFTRA’s biggest concerns about its new contract with AMPTP revolved around the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in films and television shows. Many actors believed it was unfair for productions to duplicate their likeness and use it as the basis for AI in projects without their consent. So, of course, the tentative deal reached between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP, which Deadline detailed in an article, includes a long clause dedicated to AI.
For the most part, performers have to consent before studios can use their likeness to generate AI, and if they do, they are to be compensated. However, there’s one exception to the rule. The summary of the tentative deal states that consent is not required for “post-production alterations, editing, arranging, rearranging, revising or manipulating of photography and/or soundtrack for purposes of cosmetics, wardrobe, noise reduction, timing or speed, continuity, pitch or tone, clarity, the addition of visual/sound effects or filters, standards and practices, ratings, an adjustment in dialogue or narration or other similar purposes” or “under any circumstance when dubbing or use of a double is permitted under the Codified Basic Agreement or Television Agreement.”
Related: Every 2024 Movie Delayed Due To The SAG-AFTRA Strike
9 Streaming Bonuses For Actors
Actors will receive bonuses if their shows are successful on streaming
The tentative agreement between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP addresses the inclusion of streaming bonuses for high-budget SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) projects and how streaming payments are distributed. The two parties agreed that, after January 1, 2024, if “High Budget SVOD seasons of series, mini-series, and longform pictures” are watched by 20 percent or more of subscribers within 90 days of each exhibition year, then actors on said programs will receive bonuses. The summary goes into more detail about how payment is calculated and distributed.
8 How Actors Receive Residuals
Salary increases on advanced streaming and re-runs residuals
A significant problem that many actors had with the studios was the lack of residuals paid to them when their shows or movies went on syndication and/or streaming services. Residuals were a major area of concern when SAG-AFTRA was negotiating a new contract with AMPTP. According to the summary, most performers will receive a wage increase regarding advance payment residuals.
7 The Casting Process
New regulations on how actors audition for projects
SAG-AFTRA’s released summary of its tentative agreement with AMPTP also includes new rules when it comes to self-tape auditions, virtual interviews, and the casting process in general. The latest regulations are deadlines for producers to provide performers with their auditioning material, requirements to respond to all questions from performers even if the role is filled, accommodations for actors with disabilities, and so on. The document goes into more detail about all the changes made regarding how producers cast their projects. Related: 10 Ways The SAG-AFTRA Strike Ending Changes The MCU & DCU
6 Pension & Health Benefits
Increased contribution ceiling
SAG-AFTRA’s 2023 Tentative Agreement with AMPTP features a small pension and health section that addresses contribution ceilings, and it is different for performers on half-hour television programs and one-hour shows. For the former, their contribution ceiling was increased from $15,000 to $25,000. For those on one-hour shows, their contribution ceiling was raised from $24,500 to $35,000.
5 Coverage For Performance Capture Actors
The AMPTP recognizes performance-capture actors
An interesting update in the document revolves around performance-capture actors. One clause declares that the “Producers have confirmed that Performance Capture Services are covered work in live action theatrical and television motion pictures, as well as animated theatrical motion pictures.” The deal goes on to define performance-capture actors and the conditions in which they are covered in the agreement.
4 Wage Increase For Background Actors
Background actors will receive higher wages going forward
While the stars of movies and television shows get the most praise and recognition since their faces are front and center, the background actors are just as important, and SAG-AFTRA ensured they were included in the new deal with AMPTP. The summary states that background performers, stand-ins, and photo doubles will receive a minimum wage increase of 11 percent on November 9, 2023, four percent on July 1, 2024, and three and a half percent on July 1, 2025. Plus, under certain conditions, these workers will receive $150 for the day.
3 New Holidays
AMPTP will recognize two new holidays
An exciting new development documented in SAG-AFTRA’s 2023 Tentative Deal with AMPTP is the recognition of two new holidays. Effective at the start of the new year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth will be official, contractual holidays. So, productions will be required to allow their actors time off on those two days.
2 Appropriate Hair & Makeup Services For All Actors
Performers will have access to hair and makeup artists accustomed to them
One of the most important sections of SAG-AFTRA’s 2023 Tentative Agreement with AMPTP is “Equity and Inclusion.” Under this clause, significant changes will be made concerning the hair and makeup departments on the sets of films, television shows, and other productions. The deal says, “Each principal performer shall be given the opportunity to meaningfully consult regarding any hair and makeup needs so that production is prepared to work with the performer, including having appropriate hair and makeup products and equipment.” If actors are not provided with this service, they will be compensated for getting it themselves.
For many years, performers who require hair and makeup teams trained and familiar with how to style specific hair types have been denied that right. So, this clause needed to be included in the new contract between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP. Going forward, all actors should have access to the hair and makeup services they require.
Related: 10 Major Movies & TV Shows That Need Casting Now The Actors’ Strike Is Over
1 Intimacy Coordinators
Intimacy coordinators on set during intimate scenes
The last biggest change made following the conclusion of the SAG-AFTRA strike is the requirement of producers to use “best efforts” to include an intimacy coordinator on set during scenes “involving nudity or simulated sex.” Under the “Sexual Harassment Prevention” clause in the Tentative Agreement, producers must seek intimacy coordinators for intimate scenes in movie and television shows. They also cannot penalize any performer who asks for an intimacy coordinator.