SAG AFTRA is now on strike, and Hollywood actors and writers are picketing for better pay and other working conditions. What does it mean that almost all Hollywood productions are on hold, with a few exceptions for productions on the other side of the world. Still, there are some questions about what is and isn’t affected by the strike, especially for relatively newer media that haven’t been around as long as film and TV.
Podcasts and interactive media like video games (which fall under SAG-AFTRA’s jurisdiction) are notably exempt from the strike, but the real game industry—where actors or other public figures record themselves playing a board game (usually Dungeons & Dragons)—is a little trickier. The fate of an Actual Play show depends on the company behind it, and perhaps the platform on which it is broadcast: for example, the series Rating 20 from the Dropout streaming service, is a SAG production. Verification of SAG databasedifferent seasons of this show and other Dropout series like game changer And Uh, actually are shown at fall under SAG’s Electronic Media contract, and are therefore closed. Some of the service’s shows may be exempt, but its major shows are currently on hiatus until the strike is over.
Similarly, shows that are part of the next 24 hours Dungeons & Dragons Adventure broadcast channel—Heroes’ Day, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!, And dating party— were made under the Electronic Media contract. A specific release date for this channel (which was set to arrive on multiple platforms, albeit unnamed) has never been revealed, and Hasbro and eOne have been quiet about it since the initial reveal in May. It goes without saying that the silence will continue until the strike comes to an effective end.
Conversely, Critical Role will continue to broadcast new episodes as the strike continues. Although its founding members were all members of SAG due to their individual acting careers, comics note the founders also have their own stake in the production company doing the show. It’s a weird gray area that the show exists in – they stream all of their media to YouTube and Twitch, while their two animated series release under Priceme video. Ohen contacted by Polygonthe company said it “fully supports the strike and stands in solidarity with our fellow cast members. Currently, our broadcast schedule is unaffected by the strike, but we will continue to assess and take appropriate action s he was to be affected in the future.
The Glass Cannon Network, another Actual Play company responsible for Androids and aliens and other shows, Polygon told Polygon he would also continue production during this time. In CEO Troy Lavallee’s statement to the outlet, he said, “There are enough rules in RPGs that the last thing we need are outside forces trying to regulate the way we play ourselves.” get together to play games. (…) With a small, but ever-growing stable of full-time employees who rely on the success of our content to survive and access healthcare, there is nothing that can ever stop or slow down the content creation machine we’ve worked so hard to become. He added later on Twitter that as a longtime member of the SAG and WGA, he “fully supports making sure the little guy isn’t taken advantage of by the big guy.”
As of this writing, the fate of other real-life gaming shows is currently up in the air, as each of them are likely weighing their next move in the future. As it stands, it’s a reminder of just how complicated the entertainment industry still is when it comes to setting up new media and streaming. But given how the Actual Play space continues to grow, this slice of the industry could eventually be forced out of the murky territory in which it operates.
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