How the SAG Strike Could Ruin Comic-Con for Fans

     June 24, 2008

While most people assume everything is great here in Hollywood, as the writer’s strike ended months ago and everyone is working again…unfortunately, this is not the case. If you didn’t know, the Screen Actor’s Guild contract ends with the studios on June 30th, and while many people just want to keep working, there is a chance the leadership might ask the members to vote for a strike and the industry would once again shut down.

While I don’t know the chances of this happening, it’s definitely something the studios are concerned about as Sony scheduled junkets for the rest of their big summer movies this week, in case the strike actually happens. Also, movies like Terminator 4 and Transformers 2 have put into their schedule months of filming without actors…so in case the strike does happen they can keep shooting.

Again, I don’t know what the deal is…but I do know one important thing that most fans probably haven’t thought of…if the actors go on strike…they aren’t going to Comic-Con next month.

A strike means the SAG members won’t be promoting anything.

That means no actors from Watchmen. No one from Star Trek. No one from SAG would be promoting. Of course, an actor can still go to Comic-Con as a fan and walk around…they just won’t be on stage in Hall H or signing autographs at studio sponsored events.

While a SAG strike will cause major headaches, some actors have another union called AFTRA (the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), and they’re close to finalizing a deal with the studios, which means they could attend the Convention and promote. But, as of now, it’s not signed, and many AFTRA members are also in SAG. What that means is…if SAG strikes, the dual membership members aren’t going to be promoting either.

Look, I’m not trying to use George Bush fear tactics to scare you into not going to Comic-Con. The fact is, all the directors and producers will be there and they’ll definitely be bringing footage that’ll make you piss your pants. At least that’s what I’ve heard about the Watchmen footage….

But most people go to Comic-Con to get a glimpse of some of the biggest actors working in the Entertainment industry. Where else can a fan from Colorado show up and know their favorite actors will be there and they’d actually have a chance to get an autograph or ask them a question.

I know before working on Collider, going to Comic-Con was a big deal to me. After all, where else could a kid from suburbia see their favorite actors and ask a question. So while I currently get amazing opportunities to ask questions due to the site, it doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten my roots or what it means to the next generation of fans that aren’t in my shoes.

Right now the 4 day badge is already sold out for Comic-Con 2008 and the single day tickets are also close to selling out (Saturday is actually sold out already). This year will be bigger than ever and it’d be a shame for the Convention to not be as good as it should be due to an actors strike.

And I haven’t even opened the discussion to what another strike could do to the upcoming TV season. Last year the writers strike caused even more erosion to the networks audiences, and another strike might shrink the audience even further.

With the way the economy is and all the negativity out there in everyone’s lives, the Screen Actors Guild needs to work out a deal with the studios and make this dark cloud go away.

While I was a staunch supporter of the Writers Guild and what they fought for. If they’ve worked out a deal with the Studios and the DGA has as well, I’d like to think precedence has been set over new media money and other residuals.

For fans of TV, the audience at Comic-Con, and all the people that work in any area of the movie industry, I hope a deal gets worked out before the deadline.

That being said, I’ll see a lot of you at Comic-Con…with or without the actors.

And one last thing…I based this story on the presumption that SAG will not allow their actors to promote anything if they’re on strike. It’s possible SAG will change their stance and allow certain people to promote…but after talking to many executives in the industry yesterday, they all think if SAG goes on strike they will not be allowed to promote.

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