Sure it can. How? Ignore the long term. Actors are good at that. We need to know we have the immediate in hand that we are living moment to moment. Artists are allowed to be ignorant of business, we're allowed to say "I'd rather leave that to someone who knows it, I do the creative part." The bad news is that most of us can't afford to have someone look out for us the way we'd hope to be looked out for with our career, our union's objectives, our retirement money.
Actor's are always on guard for the actor who might get a role, for the strategy that will get them more work, but are we ever taught to think 5 moves ahead? The SAG strike, the coming Presidential Election, our inevitable time on the "not hot" list, it's all coming, or here. So…how does one make a better choice this time to not land in this same place in 3-5 years?
Ask yourself if you can afford to remain numb and strategically ignorant. Ask yourself if you really need another car, or another latte, or another boring night watching cable. SAG is about to implode. How did it happen? Where did all the animosity come from? The country is about to implode too…hmm…same thing, much animosity and finger pointing, so where did…
Greed folks. Greed. Being in a capitalist country it seems the only real universal value is money. Doesn't matter how you make it, (and we know guilt is only about what can be proved, not whether or not you did the wrong thing to get it) and money is the absolute last word on most of the sets I've worked on. Who makes the most? They run the set. Who's the star that got the project green lit? They run the set. Does that make them the most talented? No. Do they run the risk of being out of work in year? Sure do.
When the character of anything is measured by how much it's worth, we have left the world of art and entered the world of desperation. I haven't met many people in this biz that are truly content. People whose lofty status and insane pay that truly have that feeling of being at peace with their spoils. How can that be?
The long term and short term vision are the same. Fear.
SAG can't bend on a non-union allowance and no residuals. If they do, we really don't have a union. AFTRA has such a low pay scale it really doesn't matter and AFTRA actors aren't used to getting residuals anyway. SAG also can't strike or deepen the fear in every actor that they will not be able to make a living let alone their health insurance minimum. If this union leaves me without health insurance, I don't see why I'd stay in it.
If the Republicans are allowed to bury us in another yet unknown but certain-to-happen (The S&L scandal under Reagan?) financial disaster, the end result will be one giant entertainment company and one news station. How many banks will we lose this year that will fold into a bigger bank? Monopolies are the goal of capitalism. What defense would SAG, or any union, have with the one company that holds all the deals in Hollywood.
Art should be the great leveler. The thing that allows anyone to compete. Think of trying to climb the corporate ladder in order to get on stage…
Long term folks. You have to see the world now as long term because everyone who thought they didn't have to look at the biz because they were being an artist is now understanding what a world of businessmen will do with the world when they are the only ones watching the store.
Save your money, support your union, and by god vote and scold anyone you know who says they're "not going to bother voting" until they vote just to shut you up.