The actors continue to walk the picket lines in the SAG-AFTRA strike, many of them are coming forward to share examples of why they’re striking.
Among them are William Stanford Davis, a veteran actor whose extensive credits range from “Curb Your Enthusiasm” to “Ray Donovan”, and is currently seen on “Abbott Elementary” as janitor and occasional substitute teacher Mr. Johnson.
Davis recently posted a video on Instagram, in which he displayed a residual cheque for a role in a TV series he didn’t identify.
“I’ve been a member of the [Screen Actor’s] Guild for 32 years and… I’m gonna let this speak for itself,” he said before holding up a residual cheque for a whopping five cents.
“This is a residual cheque,” he said. “Can you see that? Can you believe that? That’s [five] cents. The postage, the paper, everything costs more than that. That’s what they think of us as actors. This is why we’re on strike for better wages, for better residuals [and] for a piece of the subscription and to not give in to AI.”
Actor David Denman, who played Roy Anderson on “The Office”, echoed those sentiments in an interview with The Associated Press.
According to Denman the streaming model is set up to benefit the studios that sell the content to streaming services, effectively cutting actors out of the equation.
“Netflix, they created a model that everyone else followed, which is, ‘We’re gonna buy you out, we’re gonna pay for your services for a cycle, which could be three months,’” Denman said.
“And it doesn’t matter if you watch that show once or you watch it 100 times, you’re not gonna get any more money because more people watch it,” he continued.
As a result, he explained, if a show becomes a huge hit for a streaming service, actors don’t share in that success, because “the only person that makes more money is the person who licensed that to Netflix.”
That was particularly true of “The Office”, which has been even more successful on streaming that it was when it originally aired on NBC. “And when it was the No. 1 show on Netflix, they’re able to make a significant profit off of that,” Denman added. “But that doesn’t trickle down to a blue-collar actor like me. I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t. And so, the model has to change.”