How did you celebrate? It’s really hard to describe the level of jubilation around town a day after SAG-AFTRA agreed to a tentative deal with the studios. Mostly because this situation feels so foreign. Six long months. Strikes by two of the three above-the-line unions simultaneously. Countless jobs and paychecks lost, hot careers derailed, an estimated $6 billion erased from the national economy. And, tragically, Kim Kardashian was unable to post on Instagram about her appearances in American Horror Story and PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie. We all suffered, some more than others.
But now, a summer and fall of constant anxiety and existential questions have given way to relief and—dare we say it, even with all the problems Hollywood still faces—momentary optimism? You feel it from everyone, from creatives to the C-suites to the talent agents and managers and assistants, to Pamela, the maître d’ at The Grill. Every actor simultaneously wants a job, a meeting, a revised shooting schedule—and publicity for anything and everything. It’s normal, or at least whatever passes for normal these days. A collective exhale.
But… (you knew a but was coming), as we all celebrate and wait for the details of the actual contract that will be revealed tomorrow, after the SAG-AFTRA national board approves the deal and sends it to the 160,000 members for ratification, it’s worth looking back at what just happened and ahead to the next bet-your-industry negotiations in just a few months. Yes, months, not years.