ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It has been a long four-plus months, but The Writers Guild of America finally has a tentative deal with the Studios. Over 150,000 Hollywood actors, however, are still embroiled in their months-long strike.
The key demands of fair pay and protections from AI generated content are the main sticking points.
“We’re empathetic; we want to support. We want our actors to be paid fair wages,” said longtime Albany County Film Commissioner Deb Goedeke. She actually sent a crew of local SAG actors to the front lines to picket.
Goedeke has been bringing productions to the Capital Region for almost two decades. She said 2022 was the best year to date for TV and film productions in Albany County.
“We had over 11,000 sleeping room nights.”
But now everything has come to a screeching halt, and she says the longer this strike goes on for the actors, the more it hurts our local film community.
“It’s the little people. It’s the crew, it’s the hair and makeup, it’s the grip, it’s the gaffer, it’s the costume designer,” she said.
Albany’s Daybreak Vintage Rentals is one of the local shops impacted right now. They’ve supplied thousands of articles of clothing for shows and movies dating back to the 1950s. Films like “Catch Me If You Can” and hit shows “Mad Men” and “Boardwalk Empire.”
“We have back from Boardwalk Empire some items that we’ve kept that have blood on them, fake blood from gun shot scenes,” Daybreak’s Adam Ornstein told NEWS10.
But in the last few months, much like Hollywood, their lights have gone out.
“We’ve had four employees that we’ve had to do various things with: one on unemployment, two girls we had to let go. It’s affected us greatly,” Ornstein said.
As you venture further west in Upstate, the strike is also affecting current film productions. Longtime character actress and Cazenovia native Siobhan Fallon-Hogan wrote, produced and is starring in her latest film “Shelter in Solitude.”
“This is a movie where you laugh your head off and cry your face off,” she told NEWS10.
It’s a prison love story of sorts that she said she wrote years ago. She did it fully independent, being granted a special waiver from SAG-AFTRA that allows her to promote it.
“You don’t try to minimize a background actor with AI. You don’t try to stick it to people on their pay. You got to get back to the rules of life,” she said.
“Shelter in Solitude” will be hitting theatres exclusively on October 6 with dates in Saratoga, Schenectady and Albany.
Meanwhile, back in the Capital Region, Film Albany hopes that Monday’s meeting between SAG-AFTRA and the Studios will bring an end to the stalemate.
“We are still marketing Film Albany,” Goedeke said. “We just got to keep moving forward with those marketing efforts and really lean on and depend on each other to lift each other up and get through this.”