Actors Make Nothing From Streaming Video

By | July 21, 2021 | 0 Comments

“Longmire” was a popular cable series that ran for 6 seasons and is still streaming on Netflix. I believe its popularity stems from good writing and good acting, as well as its depiction of ordinary Americans doing their duty rather than superheroes doing the impossible.

The series demanded physicality from the actors. Much of it was shot at high altitude, making physical activity more difficult. A crew member was killed in a vehicle accident. An actor needed years of physical therapy for an injury. Katee Sackhoff, who played Deputy Vic, injured her knee during the final season. They wrote a gunshot wound into the script to explain her limp, but you can see her wincing and leaning on desks and chairs to relieve pressure on her leg.

We aren’t watching fictional characters. We are watching real people exerting themselves to entertain us and make a living, with the understanding that age or injuries can end their careers just as fast as if they were professional athletes.

If we watch a movie on the Late Show, the actors get residual payments. This was true for the first 3 years of “Longmire” when it was under A&E. But then it was bought by Netflix, so all 6 seasons now are seen without the actors getting one penny. That’s how it is with streaming services. True, there are no reruns as such; the shows stream whenever we want them. But the streaming service makes money from showing them, and the shows are removed as soon as they become unpopular. The streaming service makes money from the actors’ work – the actors deserve a share of it.

An actor in long-term physical therapy. Another actor performing in considerable pain to meet her contract obligations. A dead crew member. A lot of talented people work very hard, and sometimes endure physical and emotional pain, to entertain us. They deserve not just our adulation and fan mail, but also our gratitude – and decent compensation including residuals.

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