Read to the end for a post about getting the band back together

Programming note: I’ll be off next week for a much-needed vacation. Perhaps there may be a rerun.

It may be a good time to start making a list of all the TV shows and movies you've been thinking about watching. Last week the Screen Actors Guild went on strike, joining the Writers Guild of America. The WGA has been striking for a month. Now come the big guns, the actors.

AI, of course, and the rights of 'digital versions' of actors are the big sticking point. Studios have been up-front with using digital actors or doubles to do the heavy lifting on a show. It's how Peter Cushing returned in Rogue One and how a certain young Jedi appeared in The Mandalorian. Actors know that if a studio creates a digital version, they don't own it. The same goes for their voice and voice actors' voices. Unchecked, you could realistically ask "Did so and so even work in this movie?" if a digital version was used the entire time.

While I am quite bullish on AI, the graphical power to pull these tricks off is present today and this is not a "ChatGPT will take our jobs" kind of thing. Look at any AAA video game and you'll see the threat to actors clearly.

Besides this, is the money and how streaming is Hollywood's secret weapon to hoard more money.

The stories that have come out in the past weeks about how streaming has flipped the industry upside down are incredible. No longer are writers able to work their way up or to even be on set during filming. "Writer rooms" are more exclusive and have gatekeepers wherein the people who work to create the stories we love to watch are essentially kept out of most of the process.

Every time "Friends" changes services, we hear about the gobs of money the actors continue to make in residuals. In today's day that entire cast would be under-paid and given peanuts for the same work. A bombshell report dropped on Friday revealing many of the cast members of Orange Is The New Black were severely underpaid. For a show that helped solidify Netflix as a dominant platform of original content, it's shameful to see this happen. And yet, we've seen this strike before.

The WGA had its last strike in 2007 and 2008. It was a similar tale of not getting enough money for the intensely-creative and demanding work they did. To counter the sudden loss of programming, the networks scrambled to fill their airwaves. American Idol and other reality shows were dominant at the time. Late-night TV came back but without writers. Many shows never returned or had year-plus gaps between seasons. Heroes was one victim, losing huge momentum after its first season to quickly fade into a shell of its former self.

There seems to be a different tactic this time around by the studios. Hollywood is simply going to starve out the talent. Deadline has this gem from an executive:

“The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses,” a studio executive told Deadline. Acknowledging the cold-as-ice approach, several other sources reiterated the statement. One insider called it “a cruel but necessary evil.”

At the end of the day, this is a tale as old as time. The rich want to be richer. The people creating the work want to be fairly compensated. The people performing the work want to protect their likeness and not have any part of them owned. And while I believe a deal will eventually be struck, the residual waves will be felt at least until a year from now.

Severance's second season? The return of Stranger Things? That's at least a year out now. Shows on the bubble after a rocky first outing? There's a good chance they'll be gone.

So, it's back-catalog time. Whether it's Ted Lasso or The Good Place, now is when we'll do the only thing possible: spend some time with our "Friends"; because they'll always be there for you.


PS: If you're enjoying my work here on TimeMachiner please forward this email to a friend who'd like it too. It helps me grow. Thank you. 😊


You have no major muscles in your fingers. All muscles that control finger movement are in your forearm and palm. Source

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