Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Do professionals who play themselves deserve SAG cards?

Act of Valor receives more and more press everyday. Real Navy SEALs, real combat tactics, real bullets, real action (well, quasi-real action). The narrative posing as a doc found its selling point among the most patriotic of us and took off faster than a Tuskegee airman. The movie was shot in cinéma vérité style on a Canon 5d Mark II.

So, because the movie is a box office success, it begs the question: should these SEALs receive SAG cards? They haven't.

Judge for yourself. Now, technically, they cannot receive compensation for this film. However, given the filmmakers are making beaucoup money (sorry, beaucoup was the only word that works here), is it fair that these "few and proud" are not receiving the compensation they would if they were actors?

They were given lines to speak. They performed “action” and “business”. That’s the basic definition of an actor. Even reality TV defines one as such. It’s a complicated, legal issue. These SEALs are active-duty. They are already receiving a stipend. But, what about actors who sing? Or design clothes? Or have endorsements stated elsewhere?

I say go ahead and give them a SAG card. The film is not classified as a documentary. There may be some true actors upset; there may be some military members upset. But in the end, they performed the task of actors and if they were in any other profession (President Regan, anyone?), they would still receive residuals.

Happy Filmmaking.

No comments: