Sag-Aftra Strike Logo. Image courtesy of

Strike continues between SAG-AFTRA and WGA: Everything you need to know

The industry takes a screeching halt as The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) join forces picketing for Residuals and limiting the use of AI Intelligence. As the Strike continues between Sag-Aftra and WGA, here is everything you need to know. 

Sag-Aftra Strike Logo. Image courtesy of

Why Are WGA and SAG-AFTRA on Strike?

On July 13, 2023, President and Chief Negotiator Fran Drescher announced that SAG-AFTRA will be joining WGA on strike. This decision comes after failed negotiations with The Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP). After eleven grueling weeks of protesting on the picket line, WGA and its members remain steadfast in their fight for fair treatment.

Amid WGA’s strike, most productions remain active but did not allow writers to be on set. Now with the partnership of SAG-AFTRA productions are forced to shut down altogether any project that falls within the contract of the AMPTP.  It is important to note that the WGA and SAG-AFTRA play an essential role in the development and creation of your favorite films and television shows. Behind the scenes, writers are crafting noteworthy scripts and working diligently to bring the characters to life.

Cut The Check

SAG-AFTRA Strike. July 14, 2023. Image by REUTERS/Mike Blake

Despite Marvel, Disney, and Netflix earning millions from the work of writers, actors, stunt performers, etc. many do not make enough to support their families, pay for health insurance, or even buy groceries. When discussing the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike, many tend to focus on the more highly compensated celebrities. While Lead Actors do earn a livable wage, co-stars, background actors, and writers receive residuals that are barely enough to cover life expenses. 

Since the migration from Televised content to streaming services, there has been a significant financial gap between wages and residuals. Actors and writers are not only paid for the work they’ve completed on set and in pre-production but they are paid by viewership. In other words, the actor and writer receive better compensation as the number of reruns of their episodes increases. However, streaming services have changed how companies pay actors and writers under WGA and SAG-AFTRA. What was once a fully developed television series with multiple episodes that appeared weekly on some television channels, are now dropped all at once on one platform. Netflix, Disney, and Hulu will earn from viewership but actors and writers will be paid initially for the distribution and cents to the dollar subsequently.


Artificial Intelligence (AI)

In addition to receiving well-deserved compensation and residuals from streaming services, writers and actors fight for the protection of their imagining, and voices for service through Artificial Intelligence (AI). Believe it or not, AI has already taken over many social media platforms. There are viral trends that allow AI to swap your face with celebrities and other professionals, creating scenarios with just very few images. In the grand scheme of things,  AI is very dangerous in the wrong hands. For Actors, this would offer the AMPTP technological advancements to hire an actor once and duplicate their voices and imaging for future work without ever using the actor again. This indicates the non-necessity to pay for actors properly and their likenesses. No more gigs, no more substantial residuals, and a lack of originality and creative perspective.

As an actor, this hits the hardest. We as actors invest significantly into our careers. From acting classes, private coaching, headshots, reading material, etc. The Use of AI would take away the creative aspect of this industry. This theory applies to writers as well. Let’s be honest here, no amount of Artificial Intelligence can contribute to the organic stories told by writers. An Influx of AI-generated content will cause a decrease in staffing and soon writers can become non-existent. 

How Long Will The Strike Last?

To be completely honest, no one truly knows. WGA began this journey roughly 3 months ago on May 2nd and SAG-AFTRA less than a week. Through joint forces, both guilds have caused a growth in viewership for others to become aware of what’s truly going on in the industry. Celebrities such as Ke Ke Palmer, Kevin Bacon, Jaime Lee-Curtis, Josh Gad Dule Hill, and Aisha Hands march at the picket line while others share their experiences as full-time working actors and writers that may shock their fanbase. Actress Kimiko Glenn, who played Brook Soso in the Netflix original Orange Is The New Black, shares her recent residual checks from her 44 our 91 episodic run. This is honestly quite shocking. In another TikTok video, Glenn shares that it was quite common for the cast to hold onto their side jobs, as they were not paid well enough to quit them.


why #sagaftra is striking #sagaftrastrong #sagaftrastrike #sagstrike

♬ original sound – kimiko

How Does This Affect the Television and Film Industry?

During the strike, SAG-AFTRA urges Actors that are union or non-union to refrain from any production contracted under the AMPTP. This includes acting, singing, stunt performance, puppeteering, narration, ADR and the list goes on. Background actors are in a gridlock along with photo-doubles and stand-ins. There are many successful movies in theaters this summer such as Mission Impossible 7, Barbie, and Oppenheimer. Usually, actors would be eager to walk the red carpet, promote newer films, and do tour junkets but unfortunately, that is also off-limits. Actors are also urged to refrain from tours, personal appearances, interviews, conventions, junkets, festivals, panels, award shows, etc.

This leaves many wondering about the 75th Emmy Awards. According to, The Television academics are in talks to migrate the award show from September 18th to either November or January which would fall near the Golden Globe Awards (Jan 7) and The Critics Choice Awards (Jan 14th). As for films such as Oppenheimer, the star-studded cast stands in solidarity for the Strike. shares a meticulous red carpet walk-out prior to the screening of their film in London. The cast gracefully walks off the red carpet after an hour of attendance. Also in solidarity, Margot Robbie, responds to an interview on the pink carpet Barbie premiere showing her support for the SAG-AFTRA choice to go on Strike. Hopefully, this will cause a drastic change within the industry and eventually influence the revision of future contracts under the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers. 


What Can Actors Do In the Meantime?

According to, Mark Ruffalo encourages actors to “jump into” independent filmmaking and stray away from Studio Projects. I can not agree more. It is very important to be very intentional during this time. Secondly,  this is a great time for actors to spend time studying their craft. In addition to that, I think it is very important for actors to breathe. I know that may sound cliche but actors are running a race. The high demand for social media content, and maintaining a habitable lifestyle requires a steadfast work ethic. At times, one may not have enough space to take a moment and contemplate. This is the perfect time.

Once you’ve taken that movement for yourself, stand in solidarity for your fellow writers and actors by getting involved, and picketing on the frontlines. For my fellow non-union actors and content influencers who would like to potentially become Union, please do not scab. Scabbing identifies as the name given to those who cross picket lines by working for contracts that fall under AMPTP for financial advances while union actors are unable to. Please read all your contracts before joining new productions and refrain from taking brand deals that will hurt what our actors and writers are fighting for. SAG-AFTRA gave a detailed description of what they’d consider scabbing and will not allow non-union actors to become Sag-Aftra if they find out. Yikes!


What Can I Do To Help?

Right now is a tough time for the industry and, if you know someone who may be struggling during the strike, check in on them. While some picket the frontlines, others may not be capable at the moment. Halting all production means no income for families and potential loss of insurance, and the incapability to pay rent, etc. A simple phone call or well wishes can go a long way.  Secondly, once you’ve gathered all information, please share what you know with others whether in person or online. Viewership matters. If you have time, join your fellow actors and writers on the picket lines, and pass out water and snacks. The more bodies we have represented, the better. Lastly, donate. There are several donations and Gofundme accounts set up in partnership with SAG-AFTRA to help those who are struggling with utilities, rent, groceries, etc. There is no donation too small. 


Please go to  and to stay informed and engaged in the ongoing fight with daily updates.



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