LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — You may have seen this mid-Michigan man on shows like “NCIS,” “Chicago Med” and more. But production of these shows went on pause during the SAG-AFTRA actors’ strike.
“Streaming has gone up so much and we don’t get the true number of how much things are being streamed, and so therefore, we are not receiving fair compensation,” said actor Aqeel Ash-Shakoor.
Ash-Shakoor has had roles in several shows, including a recurring role in “NCIS.” But on April 17th this year, the beginning of the Writers Guild of America strike brought life on the big and little screens to a halt.
The workers in the union were seeking fair pay, health benefits and compensation for streaming. In July, the members of the Screen Actors Guild joined them in striking, forcing Hollywood studios to shut down.
As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, Shakoor said he proudly joined the strike after seeing the discrepancies in pay. “When you look at the monetary figures of what I said…producers are making a little over $78,000 a day when your normal actor is making $26,000 a year or less,” Ash-Shakoor said.
Protections against artificial intelligence are another demand that both the writers and actors were making. Studios can use the new technology to write scripts and make it appear that there are actors in a movie when there are not.
“They make it look like they’re walking through the airport, when they really are not,” Ash-Shakoor said. “That is what AI can do. So studios would be using our likeness and images, and this could go on for years and never receive another dime for it.”
But on Nov. 9–more than 146 days after the strike began–both the writers and actors guilds, as well as the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, came to a three-year agreement.
All members of the union still need to vote on the contract, so the details have yet to be released. “The deal was worth over $1 billion. That is a great number–over one billion dollars,” Ash-Shakoor said.
If you would like to see Aqeel Ash-Shakoor in his next movie, “Shirley,” the release is expected in the summer of 2024.