During a press conference where SAG-AFTRA actors announced they were joining the writer’s strike, members of the acting union shared the studio’s proposal of “a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects actors’ digital likenesses for SAG-AFTRA members.”.
This proposal was revealed in a statement about the strike where the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), made the proposal. The use of AI on actors isn’t new. In the latest Indiana Jones film that was released a few weeks ago, AI was used to de-age star Harrison Ford for several scenes that took place in the past.
But the proposal shared this week is quite different and far-ranging. During the press conference, Crabtree-Ireland said, “This ‘groundbreaking’ AI proposal that they gave us yesterday, they proposed that our background performers should be able to be scanned, get one day’s pay, and their companies should own that scan, their image, their likeness and should be able to use it for the rest of eternity on any project they want, with no consent and no compensation. So if you think that’s a groundbreaking proposal, I suggest you think again.”.
In a response, spokesmen Scott Roew denied the claims by the acting guild during their press conference. He said in part that “The claim made today by SAG-AFTRA leadership that the digital replicas of background actors may be used in perpetuity with no consent or compensation is false.”.
He went on to clarify how they want to use AI, saying part, “In fact, the current AMPTP proposal only permits a company to use the digital replica of a background actor in the motion picture for which the background actor is employed. Any other use requires the background actor’s consent and bargaining for the use, subject to a minimum payment.”.
The use of generative AI technology has been a hot-button issue for induvial actors. Some, such as James Earl Jones used the technology to preserve his iconic voice. While others, such as John Wick star Keanu Reeves made explicit contract conditions of “zero-use” during and post-production of any of his films. He even called deep fake technology “scary“.
Though not all feel that way. South Park creators, Matt Stone and Tray Parker invested $20 million in a new Deep Fake VFX venture. Though individual actors have their own feelings, it seems that the fear of AI is felt in the labor market across the spectrum. And this is one of the reasons for the current writer’s strike as many within the writing union fear AI is creeping into their space and can possibly reduce their ability to work.