The Hollywood actors’ union
This also includes consent for digital alterations to the performer’s performance in “previously recorded material unless it remains substantially as scripted, performed and/or recorded” and producers must provide a “reasonably specific description” of the alterations they would like to make.
For background actors, the agreement said if “lip or facial movements are altered to make it look like a background actor is speaking, and dialogue is added, they will be upgraded to a day performer.”
Mixed reactions from Hollywood
Reactions from industry insiders to the agreement have been mixed, and alternate between praise for the deal and excitement to move forward, and believing more could have been done and fearing for performers.
Director and producer Justine Bateman expressed her disagreement with the decision on social media. She called the AI permissions “violating” and said she was disappointed in the SAG-AFTRA leadership.
I’ve said from the beginning that the use of generative #AI will collapse the structure of this business. I want the actors and crew to have enough self-respect to turn over a table and flip the CEOs off as it happens. They’re going to leave you with nothing left to lose. 4/
— Justine Bateman (@JustineBateman) November 11, 2023
On the other hand, actor Jason Winston George, a negotiating committee member on the deal, took to X (formerly Twitter) to defend the agreement.
“Not only is it unrealistic and impossible to try and hold back the tide when it comes to technology, these new SAG-AFTRA protections actually allow you to surf the wave of AI technology when it comes to the use of your face and likeness.”
He said if a company wants to pay him by a rate he negotiated to use his AI double while he “stays at home—or better yet to work another job,” he’s on board.
These new protections give you fully informed #consent and #compensation
Producers must hire you for any movie or episode in which your “digital replica” will be used
Producers must get your Consent and give you a description of how they’ll use your digital replica
— Jason Winston George (@JasonWGeorge) November 12, 2023
However, he also said there may still be “a fight someday against Synthetic Fakes, completely AI-generated characters that don’t look like any individual performer.”
On the side of Bateman, actor Rainn Wilson, famous for his role in the sitcom The Office, mocked the deal, asking what would happen if actors disagree with the deal. Will they be replaced by AI actors?
The idea of a “best, last and final offer” from the studios/streamers is hysterical. We’ve heard those words so many times. So if the actors don’t take the offer, they’ll just do news and sports and/or go out of business? Or use AI actors? https://t.co/mJxU3BjYtw
— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson) November 6, 2023
The end of the SAG-AFTRA strike comes about a month and half after the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike ended on Sept. 24. The WGA strike was also negotiating industry practices, among which AI usage in writer’s rooms was a critical negotiation.
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