The contract, which is being voted on and needs a majority of “yes” votes to come into force, was considered a victory by many and received with suspicion by others. In the initial vote, 14% of the members of the union's national board voted “no”, and that is what Portuguese actress Kika Magalhães intends to do as well. “The reason is that they don't protect actors in relation to digital replicas”, she told Lusa the actress, based in Los Angeles since 2016. “They say yes, that there is protection, but then we look between the lines and there is nothing.” Kika Magalhães, whose latest film, “The Girl in the Backseat”, has just been released reaching Amazon Prime Video and the streaming platform Tubi, points to how digital replicas can be disastrous. “An actor goes for a casting and the producers ask if he will accept their digital replica. If the actor says no, they may not give him the role,” she explains. Top-notch actors will be able to negotiate and say no without losing the role. “But small actors like us don't bring as much money to the union and they don't protect us as much”, considered Kika Magalhães. The actress doubts the solution put forward by one of the clauses, according to which if a studio uses digital replicas of an actor this You will be paid corresponding to the hours you would be filming. “This is very relative, because a scene can take a month to film. They can say it took a day to make.” Actress Justine Bateman also criticized loopholes that allow studios to use digital replicas without actors' consent when certain conditions are met. The results of the votes will be known on December 5th. If there are 50%+1 “yes” votes, this contract will come into force for the next three years. “I have heard many actors saying that they will vote no”, said Kika Magalhães. Her husband, actor Chris Marrone, said that “if the majority fully understands what they are signing, then they vote no.” Marrone considered that the SAG contract “doesn’t seem like a big victory after all” and that there should be specific language to define the actors as human beings. This is something that actress Katja Herbers also defends, in opposition to “synthetic actors”. However, the expectation is that the “yes” will win, because the industry has been at a standstill for too long and there is widespread fatigue. This is what Mário anticipates Carvalhal, who belongs to the Animation Guild, stressing that the stoppage was long and the “no” appears to be a minority. “There is a possibility that some people will vote no, but I believe that these new measures will pass and be approved,” he told Lusa. “I think it is a minority that is very right in what they are demanding, but it was practically a whole year of work stopped in this city and I think everyone is ready to move forward”. Mário Carvalhal considers that the big risk of AI will be the reduction in quality and a change in the way the environment works. “Actors have more to claim, especially when it comes to those who do voices. There have already been cases where AI can do the job,” he said. “It's an inferior job, but for many companies it's enough and doesn't cost them anything.” Carvalhal considers that actors “must maintain their rights to image, voice and everything else, their likeness.” The Portuguese also stressed that, although the strikes did not achieve all their objectives, they allowed “important steps in the right direction” to be taken and this is an aspect of which the strikers are proud. “As much as possible, I think the workers won this fight”, he considered. For screenwriter Filipe Coutinho, member of the Portuguese Cinema Academy, the unions were justified in their fight, which took longer than expected. “I'm quite satisfied for the way both the WGA and SAG acted over these six months”, he told Lusa. “It’s an unbelievable time to have an entire industry at a standstill,” he stressed. “California is one of the largest economies in the world and it is incomprehensible that it took so long for the studios to offer a fair contract to writers and actors.” Filipe Coutinho also said that, even with the agreements, “everything is a little upside down. the air”, with studios and production companies “trying to understand what the next phase will be”. The Portuguese mentioned changes in the business model, with 'blockbusters' expected to fail at the box office, cancellation of films and the dilemma of 'streaming '.“No one really knows what to invest in and under what conditions to invest, and now contracts also change the approach to content production.” Afonso Salcedo, lighting artist, who worked on the new Disney film “Wish – The Power of Desires”, considers that the strikes were difficult but important, at a time when it is not yet clear to what extent AI will affect the industry. “The agreements will last three years so I think it is a good step to see what it is like that the technologies will work in the coming years”, he indicated, noting that the animation segment will have to renegotiate the contract in 2024. “It will be interesting to see what will happen, if we are going to negotiate protections against Artificial Intelligence”, stated Afonso Salcedo. “Maybe, next year, we will get into these fights with the studios again.” The vote on the agreement reached between the SAG-Aftra union and the studios runs until December 5th. The results will be tabulated and published on the same day.
Strike is over but Artificial Intelligence continues to divide actors in Hollywood