How SAG-AFTRA Strike Impacts Christian Productions, Actors

Photo from the CHOSEN Instagram

How SAG-AFTRA Strike Impacts Christian Productions, Actors

By Movieguide® Contributor

While the ongoing strikes in Hollywood have brought the entertainment industry to a halt, many Christian actors and productions have been given the unions’ blessing to continue work.

When the SAG-AFTRA announced it was going on strike on July 13, every production currently filming had to stop immediately. This was heartbreaking news for THE CHOSEN cast and crew, who were only two weeks away from completing season four of the show.

Because the production is completely independent from the large studios the strike is meant to combat, THE CHOSEN’s creator and director, Dallas Jenkins, immediately applied for an exemption.

“We’re the good guys; we’ve treated your actors well. Please take the few minutes to approve our application so you actors can get back to work getting paid for the last two weeks of a season they want to finish,” Jenkins pleaded on Instagram in a post asking for the union to allow them to continue filming.

Amazingly, the union granted his request immediately, and THE CHOSEN was given an exemption on July 16, becoming the first production allowed to continue filming.

THE CHOSEN isn’t the only faith-based production to receive such treatment. WHEN CALLS THE HEART also received an exemption later that month, allowing the faith-based show to continue work on season 11.

The actors’ union went on strike to combat the unfair and predatory practices of the large production studios. However, they created a system to allow independent studios to continue production as long as they agreed to honor the SAG’s latest proposals, allowing smaller studios to avoid the crossfire. 

Because independent studios run most faith-based productions, many Christian projects have continued despite the strikes.

Similarly, because the strike targets large studios, actors can continue to work on personal projects. Actress Candace Cameron Bure, for example, can run her podcast without any impact from the strikes.

However, just because an actor is Christian does not mean they automatically avoid the impact of the strikes. Those who work on more mainstream productions, such as Melissa Joan Hart, have been impacted by the strikes just as much as anyone else in the industry.

Hart joined a New York City picket line in July to show her support for the strike and share her passion for a better deal for actors.

“It’s been 86 days without work for the writers and 13 days for the performers and the studios haven’t come back to the table as they try to starve our members into desperation and give them an unfair deal for the next two decades,” she posted on Instagram after her picketing. “Help us stand firm to fight for workers everywhere by supporting the [SAG-AFTRA].”

Movieguide® previously reported:

THE CHOSEN resumed production for season 4 after receiving an exemption from the SAG, and wrapped filming on August 1. 

Like every other scripted production, THE CHOSEN was forced to stop filming when the actors’ strike began on July 14. However, because the production is fully independent, it quickly received an exemption and became the first TV show able to continue production.

“Everyone’s thrilled to be at work … everyone was eager to finish,” creator and director, Dallas Jenkins told Religion News Service. “We were already done filming Episodes 1-4, so these last two weeks allow[ed] us to complete Episodes 5-8.”