SAG was about to go on strike against commercials. There had been another SAG strike twenty or so years before and I chose not to work during that strike, not so much for support of SAG, but work was difficult without SAG actors and I was going through a divorce, so I chose to take the time off and ski. It was the time of my life.
This time, I checked with the DGA about obligations and the spokesperson told me that the DGA was going to support our SAG brothers (and sisters). Great. If the DGA was to do that, the strike would last a week. Well it turns out that I was alone in supporting the SAG strike. My DGA ‘brothers’ (and sisters) chose to work in third world countries like Canada, South Africa, and Australia to get their work done, prolonging the strike and causing damage that remains to this day. Greed overcame solidarity and loyalty. The strike lasted far longer than it had any right to while the clients tried to break the union.
When I started directing, the acting pool of talent was tiny, with most of the really good actors being in New York. Since then, the acting pool has grown exponentially and our abilities to do good work have grown as well. We all must coexist and that is one of the necessities of our profession. We stand alone in the world in talent, skills, and social benefits (not provided by our government). The acting profession is especially vulnerable to abuse and for us to survive as a creative industry we must support them or compromise our work. We are all brothers (and sisters), actors, camerapeople, grips, gaffers, makeup, wardrobe, on and on and on and what was done to the actors during the strike was unforgiveable and we are still suffering.