In a recent NPR article, Beth Broderick puts out an interesting idea…actors helping actors financially. You see, capitalists have no regard for anything but profit. Movie and TV studios are capitalists. Agents are capitalists, and artists eventually become capitalists out of necessity, but it isn't our nature.
She brings up the idea that since only the big name who gets the movie green lighted gets a salary and the rest of the players are paid at scale, what about that big star taking just a million of their dollars and sinking it into the salaries of the next 10 cast members so that they can earn a living. Doesn't it behoove that actor to have great people around them making the movie better? It's an interesting idea and one that will make many people sound off as to it's socialist nature, but I think it's a good discussion. Why?
We are facing the extinction of the journeyman actor. The guy or girl who is that second, third, fourth or fifth lead who has is always great, always funny, always solid, and can make a nice life out doing those roles. If you look at any huge movie, it's never the big star alone that makes it great, it's always the performances of the whole cast and usually a smaller role by some unknown that knocks scenes out of the park.
With the "it pays scale, take it or leave it" attitude of many films now, it seems you will either have to take a day job to support your acting job, or you will have to make it into the millionaires club. There will be no middle class. Producers aren't interested in making it easy on actors. They believe we steal all their money with our residuals, they're happy to steal it back up front by paying less for the same talent, so we'll receive no help there.
But what if the actors themselves actually stopped fighting about who was in charge and thought about the future. Not just sounded off about the contract they were able to chisel out of the AMPTP, but really thought about how the future could be shaped no matter how "they" treated our salaries.
It's a wild thought right now, but I fear it will become a necessary thought in the very near future. The question is, will we band together or will "they" win and keep us focused on the symptom and not the disease.