SAG-AFTRA Picketers Start Feeling Pinch on Their Personal Finances: ‘I Started Waitressing Again’

“My only income was from acting,” one picketer tells TheWrap

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Members of SAG-AFTRA and WGA go on strike at Netflix, Sunset Gower and Paramount Studios on July 21, 2023 in Los Angeles (Credit: Momodu Mansaray/Getty Images)

Now more than 80 days into the SAG-AFTRA strike, the striking picketers are starting to feel the pressure the work stoppage is putting on their personal finances.

Negotiations between the actors’ union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers continued on Friday, with both parties making further progress towards a new contract.

At the “Ferocious Friday”-themed picket at Amazon Studios in Culver City, the marching crowds seemed to have gotten smaller with the Writers Guild of America strike wrapped up. Almost half of the picketers were WGA members still showing up to support SAG-AFTRA.

Some picketers are “excited” for a deal on the horizon as talks were happening. One picketer, who preferred not to be identified, hopes a deal can be struck where an actual living from acting can happen in the post-strike business.

“I have other jobs, because acting doesn’t support me as it is,” the picketer said. “There are very few and far between ‘actors’ who solely earn enough money from acting these days, which is why we are striking.”

Meanwhile, a striking actress who actually made their full-time living from acting on television said that she had to return to waitressing.

“My only income was from acting,” she said. “I started waitressing again. Which is fine, a lot of actors serve, so that is not a bad thing — but acting was definitely my only source of income.”

That second picketer is hopeful a deal can be struck before the strike hits 90 days next week on Tuesday.

“I feel positive, but at the end of the day, I won’t believe it till I see it. We have been through talks before,” she said. “I think the writers making a deal is really good for us. It shows they can meet our needs, but I also recognize that it is not going to be plain and simple.”

She added: “I will still be on the picket line, as long as we need to, until we get what we need to get done.”

Negotiations will take a break over the weekend as both the guild and the studios focus on internal matters, before resuming on Monday.

For all of TheWrap’s strike coverage, read here.

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