By: Aaron Hegarty
Posted at 8:29 PM, Jul 19, 2023
and last updated 6:29 PM, Jul 19, 2023
OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On day six of the strike that has shut down most of Hollywood, there’s still no sign that the two sides are any closer.
Part of the dispute is over the way streaming services have upset the Hollywood business model. With shorter seasons including just six to ten episodes, SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher says actors can’t make enough money.
On the other side, The Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers says actors were offered more than a billion dollars in higher pay and benefits.
Alex Mortensen, an emerging actor from Omaha, was on a roll. In November last year, he appeared in an episode of Yellowstone. Then in January, he was on an episode of NCIS.
“That builds up a little bit of momentum,” he said.
But since the writer’s strike began about three months ago, he said he’s had no auditions. He estimates he typically had 4-5 auditions a month since getting into the business.
Mortensen and others striking say this isn’t about the big names everyone’s heard. He’s had a day job that’s keeping him going during the strike.
“At least 90-plus percent of us are not celebrity millionaires,” said Jim Hanna, an actor from Lincoln. “We’re just trying to grind out a living and we feel like we deserve our share of the profits we helped generate.”
Hanna’s done a lot of commercials you might have seen, and shows too.
“We’re basically struggling to make sure that the old payment model keeps up with the times,” he said. “The technology has changed … and the people who are creating that, the writers and the actors specifically … they deserve to share in the profits, and that’s just not happening now, in my opinion.”
Also from Lincoln is Crystal Carson. If you watched General Hospital, you’d recognize her. Now, she’s an acting coach.
“A lot of actors will take classes with somebody like me, but not for very long, because they’re afraid financially,” she said. “So I’m tightening my belt, they’re tightening theirs.”
She says everyone that likes impactful storytelling should care about what the actors are fighting for.
“Stories matter,” she said. “We need to honor that, and we need to … financially support it. ‘Cause it’s going down the drain.”