Exclusive: As indie producers and financiers in Hollywood and beyond wait on tenterhooks for waivers from SAG-AFTRA — allowing their projects to continue despite the strike — some are starting to get the green light.
A confirmation letter sent instead of an actual waiver, which is still quietly not ready, indicates that the “interim agreement” negotiations include the terms of the last SAG-AFTRA counteroffer — including at least an 11% wage increase. 2020 Theatrical/Television Contract Fees [we hear it could be less than 11% under low budget film agreements].
An upcoming indie film Bride HartStar Rebel Wilson and at least a half-dozen movies are now allowed to move forward [waivers largely apply to film, given that most U.S. series involve a studio]And the flow of “non-interruption deals” and eventual waivers/interim deals for projects unrelated to the studio or streamer is set to intensify in the coming weeks.
Many say it is a complicated process. The last SAG strike for theater and television actors was in the ’80s, so there’s no recent precedent for the strike template. The guild’s website promised weeks ago that an exemption would be granted if the strike was approved, but it did not disclose the terms, how or when. Things are now speeding up with rebates – or, more specifically, the equivalent of letters certifying that one is coming. The usual practice is for a producer to sign the contract directly. But they can move forward for now if they promise to abide by its terms when it becomes available.
This is an emotional topic. In a now-deleted tweet over the weekend, a crew member working on the upcoming Simon West action-comedy Bride Hart He posted that SAG-AFRA had given permission to continue filming in the US through an interim agreement. Many thanks to SAG-AFTRA for allowing Brides to continue production in Savannah. We are an independently funded, independently produced film with no affiliation with the studio or AMPTP. Thanks to SAG-AFTRA interim agreement, productions like ours can continue,” read the scrubbed tweet.
We’ve confirmed the same update from another source on the movie — it’s the first known movie or TV project to be scrapped. We have reached out to SAG-AFRA for confirmation and an official update on the number of rebates it may offer in the coming days.
Contracts are awarded to “truly independent producers” unless they are affiliated with an alliance of motion picture and television producers and agree to be bound retroactively to whatever contract terms are reached with AMPTP once the strike ends.
However, many questions remain, meaning the path to production may not be straightforward. Among them: Will actors want to participate in a discount program when many actors are unable or unwilling to work? Even for films with discounts, this risks making underwriters even more nervous. Another risk — for productions in the U.S. — is if the WGA boycotts SAG-AFTRA-subsidized projects, and the Teamsters refuse to cross borders. Would qualified producers be thwarted or would such a move be considered too cumbersome and/or optically unappealing?
Eligibility for discount consideration is complicated, not least because of pre-sale distribution deals signed with streamers or studios in specific territories. Will those contracts be abandoned?
Some of those submitting waiver applications also complicate SAG’s approach to waivers for substantial projects with A-list actors. Will it dilute the strike if several major products are discounted? Or conversely, does it sack the studios if the business continues without the studios?
To help members wade through the maze of struck and unbeaten contracts, the Guild published electronic flyers showing which contracts members could and could not work under.
Last week we looked at the deadlines.