SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The ongoing strikes of the Writer’s Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists affects local people who work on Hollywood productions in northwest Louisiana.
“Business has been slow all year but now it’s been at a complete standstill.” Tim Smith, a local actor said.
The strike came after studios and labor unions that support film industry employees could not reach a contract agreement. At the center of the dispute is a fairer streaming compensation and better defining the usage of artificial intelligence.
“We are looking at hundreds of thousands of actors that want to get paid fairly,” Rich Hansil, Robinson Film Center Co-Director of Education said.
Hansil said the AI portion of the dispute must be addressed now because using digital imagery could cut out many other jobs that aid in the overall look and feel of a film.
“If the studios were able to get their way if AI is a big issue where they want to be able to scan actors and use them in perpetuity. So that removes hair and makeup, that removes a lot of the lighting you have to do so that’s griper, gaffers, hair, and makeup, just of those alone, if actors were to disappear tomorrow five industries at the top of my head immediately go away as well,” Hansil said.
Shreveport still has a solid crew base, but Smith said streaming services are not accurately sharing how much each movie is making them.
“People that are on the way up they still rely on their residuals, like me, it’s impacting us,” Smith said.
Hansil fears the strike could last till the end of the year.
“Actors and writers are looking to get paid appropriately off streaming and if you make a $200 million movie for Netflix they feel they should get paid the same as if you made a $ 200 million movie for the theaters or for television,” Hansil said. “I fear the strike will last until Christmas and I fear that will be the breaking point because anyone with kids knows Christmas without income is a very very difficult thing, and that is a very long time to last.”