Saturday, July 15, 2023

117 - SAGAFTRA on strike!

 In the mid 1990s I did a lot of Extra work. I don't even know what the Union/non-union rules are for studio films these days, but in the 90s you could work a big budget studio film as a non-union Extra, as long as the the film began each day with the required number of SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Extras. Those of us who were working lots of non-union Extra jobs, started to get to know each other. We all had the same goal in mind. What was that goal?

Those three 'SAG Vouchers.' If you could  convince a shoot to keep you on for another day - maybe a day when they were planning to hire only ten SAG Extras - because they needed to match the shot you were in, you might get a 'SAG Voucher.'

Three SAG Vouchers and you qualified to join the Union.

I got my first one on Forrest Gump.

The memory is a little hazy now, but I believe I got my second one on a film called SFW Starring Stephen Dorf. The third one was for Jimmy Hollywood, a Joe Pesci, Christian Slater film, written and directed by Barry Levinson.

I was thinking about that film recently when I watched the Hulu series Dopesick. I noticed that Barry Levinsoon - who is 81 now - co-produced Dopesick, and directed the first two espisodes.

This inspired me to give Jimmy Hollywood a watch recently, for the first time since the 90s.

I'm proud to say that I briefly shared the screen with Joe Pesci and Christian Slater. In the top picture, that's me right in between them, standing in the background (that's an unusually BLOND Joe Pesci), and in the second picture I'm in the foreground, with Christian Slater and a little of Pesci's blond in the background. This was me playing the part of, Actor, at an audition. That was the scene. I was going over some lines I needed to audition with.

So, you ask, what's the point?

The point is Actors are on strike.

A couple months ago I posted here in support of the WGA writers strike. The writers being on strike by themselves felt a little bit lonely. I hate to admit the power of celebrity, but having the actors join the writers - with personalities like Matt Damon speaking out from the picket line - does feel a little more powerful.

A week or so ago, before SAGAFRTA joined the writers on the picket line, I read a comment from one producer that their goal with the writers was to "Break the Guild."

I don't think I have to interpret this for you. 

Pure evil!

This strike is having an impact. It has to reshape the entertainment industry.


Peter Wick

July 15, 2023