SAG-AFTRA Leaders Say They ‘Remain Optimistic’ About ‘Extremely Productive’ Talks With Studios (Video)

Actors guild’s contract with AMPTP expires June 30

In a video taped Friday night and posted Saturday afternoon, SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher and National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland updated members on the progress of talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television producers.

Drescher and Crabtree-Ireland said they “remain optimistic” about the progress of negotiations on a new contract, which they say have been “extremely productive.”

“We’re not providing you with a lot of detailed reports tonight because, well, frankly, it’s very confidential what’s going on in there. But I just want to assure you that we are having an extremely productive negotiations that are laser-focused on all of the crucial issues you told us are most important to you. And we’re standing strong and we’re going to achieve a seminal deal,” Drescher said in part.

“We have a very narrow window of time remaining before our contract expires,” Crabtree-Ireland added. “We’ve all been working long and hard to move these talks forward and we remain optimistic that we will be able to bring the studios, networks and streamers along to make a fair deal that respects your contributions to the industry.”

Watch the clip at the top of the page now.

SAG-AFTRA began negotiations with the studios earlier this month; the guild’s contract with AMPTP expires on June 30, and talks are taking place as the WGA writers’ strike approaches the end of its second month.

But unlike the WGA, SAG-AFTRA has not publicly released is demands, which are happening under a full media blackout. However, Drescher did tell TheWrap in May that the guild is looking for significant changes to the contract that reflect in particular the greater emphasis on streaming in Hollywood.

Artificial intelligence is also expected to be a major topic in the SAG-AFTRA talks just as it was in talks between AMPTP and WGA before they broke down. “AI” is already being used to recreate the voices and likenesses of actors. In an interview this past spring, Crabtree-Ireland told TheWrap that SAG-AFTRA’s leaders believe it could benefit actors if properly regulated so that performances and likenesses can’t be used without proper compensation and consent.

If talks aren’t successful, SAG-AFTRA could end up joining WGA in a strike; members voted to authorize a strike ahead of contract talks earlier this month by an overwhelming 97%. If that happens, studios will face a strike by two separate guilds at once for the first time since 1960, when a double strike held by writers and actors led to the establishment of residuals for TV reruns. SAG-AFTRA has not held a strike since 1980.