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What Hollywood actors can and can't do during the SAG-AFTRA strike

No shoots, no auditions, no tours, no press, no social media promotions — these are some of the union's strike rules.
What Hollywood actors can and can't do during the SAG-AFTRA strike
Posted at 6:43 AM, Jul 14, 2023

In a historic development, both writers and actors in Hollywood have officially gone on strike for the first time in more than 60 years.

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union members have joined more than 11,000 writers on the picket lines and took to the streets Friday. 

Similar to the writers, the actors union, which has about 160,000 members, was unable to reach an agreement with studio heads, resulting in a complete halt to Hollywood operations. 

The writers have been on strike for over two months now, and it seems that the SAG-AFTRA fight is poised to be equally drawn out. 

But while they pick up signs, march and amplify their voices outside Hollywood studios, the union has also issued a list of dos and don’ts for union member actors to showcase their solidarity during the strike.

SEE MORE: 'House of the Dragon' to keep filming in UK amid SAG-AFTRA strike

According to the terms of the strike, all SAG work outside of movie productions, TV shows and streaming platforms is allowed. 

But in a notice sent to members and obtained by Scripps News, the SAG-AFTRA members are barred from any promotional or publicity activities for any current project that falls under the Guild’s TV or Theatrical Contracts.

Tours, personal appearances, interviews, conventions, fan expos, festivals, panels, for your consideration events, premieres or screenings, award shows, junkets, podcast appearances, social media promotional posts, and studio showcases are off the table. Which means festivals like the Toronto International Film Festival in September and next month’s Comic-Con and Venice Film Festival would have to be scrapped.

This also includes the Emmy Awards, which usually air in September but could be postponed as Variety reports the Television Academy and Fox are now debating when to air them. 

SEE MORE: Drescher defends Italy trip during tense Hollywood strike negotiations

It goes without saying that on-camera work, including principal roles, background roles and stand-in positions are also not allowed — which means no acting, singing, dancing, stunt work, voice acting, narration (including audiobooks), or even participating in any work related to making show or movie trailers. Actors are also not allowed to do any stand-in work, any photo or body double work, rehearsals, or auditions for roles.

An industry that will be impacted by this right away is the beauty and fashion industry, as actors are also not allowed to do fittings, wardrobe tests or makeup tests.

Furthermore, SAG-AFTRA says that moving forward, "members must instruct their agent and/or other representatives to discontinue conducting negotiations on their behalf with the studios, streamers, and networks for covered services."

Members, however, are allowed to work on other projects as long as those projects are not produced by any company represented by or related to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

The AMPTP represents major studios and streamers, including Amazon, Apple, Disney, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, Sony and Warner Bros. Discovery.

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