News & Politics

DURST: Actors Turning Down Work?

The Actors Guild just announced its first strike in 12 years. Pretty funny, coming from a group of people who face a 95 percent unemployment rate.
AFTRA and SAG announced their first strike in 12 years today mandating no work be done on radio and television commercials. Which is so odd. You might think actors project total confidence on stage but underneath we're incredibly insecure people, who face constant rejection and a 95 percent unemployment rate. Just think of a bunch of big puppy dogs with marshmallow hearts and cast iron bellies. That's us.

To not take a job on purpose is maddening. Like tossing a fat juicy leg of lamb in front of a pack of wolves and saying, "Stay." There's so little to begin with, and most of the voice-over work is going to big time fancy pants like Richard Dreyfus and James Garner and Jack Lemmon. They need more money the same way I need more hangovers.

But I got to admit we do give colorful rally speeches, and our marches spontaneously choreograph themselves. The deal is, management is attempting to force a scrapping of the traditional residual system and wants to pay a flat fee for commercials. Oh yeah, sure, let's force a rollback in the middle of the biggest economic boom in modern times. That's a good idea. Next we can outlaw the internal combustion engine and return to a transportation system of mules and big sway-backed sheep.

The 135,000 members of the unions are also trying to get basic cable rates up to around a third of what the networks pay, while the internet remains a big fat ugly sticky mess which neither side really wants to address until it sorts itself out. In the meantime, until a decent offer hits the table, you will see a lot of us waiting tables.

Will Durst recommends today's special: steamed bile.