Looking at Strike's Two Sides

Back Stage welcomes letters on performing arts issues. Each letter must include the writer's address and phone number, is subject to editing, and must be limited to 250 words.

Why did the advertising industry make such aggressive and dictatorial demands on actors, demands that are the heart of the matter in this commercial strike? Their approach may be as much of an issue as the pay-per-play negotiations themselves.

Are the actors expected to make the sole sacrifice in this new "lean" age? Are all others being asked to change? Do the advertisers really know what it takes to be an actor?

This strike seems to parallel one in the auto industry years back. Labor costs were too high, according to management. Hourly workers were expected to sacrifice. Today, a fair and (arguably) generous profit sharing plan exists. If the compensation for residuals is viewed as extreme, then why not use a structure similar to the automakers?

Personally, I am willing to open my mind and heart and risk that there is some legitimacy to the advertisers' actions. There is evidence that the whole industry is in a state of flux and fundamental change. Is there a structural change in pay structure for us all? Will the increase in advertising venues compensate for the decrease in individual project pay?

It's tearing me apart as an actor trying to do the right thing. Is there a good guy and bad guy in this struggle? I really believe that each "side" has validity. I could be totally naïve. All I know is that I need to hear both sides of the issue. This is so difficult to achieve in a war.

Rand Moorhead

New York City