Toronto’s Actors Strike: Whine & Cheese

by W. Andrew Powell

A heck of a lot of the people who read my blog aren’t going to care about this, but I have to ask: why are the negotiations between ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) and the CFTPA (Canadian Film and Television
Production Association) making them both sound like spoiled brats?

For anyone who hasn’t heard (or cared), the two unions are fighting because they need a new contract for any new productions that shoot in English-speaking Canada. The trouble is all around the fact that ACTRA is asking for an increase in cash for “new media production” – meaning, they basically want more money for stuff like online video useage. But, the producers, living under contracts that are so outdated that they don’t deal with such things, aren’t interested in being modern – they want to keep costs down of course.

So the two unions have been fighting via press releases to the media that make the two unions sound like children who want more cake. And all the while the Canadian film industry is grinding to a halt (although Vancouver, which has some other strange arrangement, is still okay apparently). There’s talk that in no time Toronto’s film industry could crash completely.

The only bright side to all of this is that the industry is expecting American unions to pursue the same new media increases in the U.S. when they renew their contracts, so Canada may not be the only place that production grinds to a halt. I just can’t figure out why ACTRA and the CFTPA are willing to make themselves sound like whiny twits just to make a point.

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