Striking Actors Share Images of Tiny Residual Checks

'I'm only netting $2.77. The math ain't mathing'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2023 1:04 PM CDT
Striking Actors Share Images of Tiny Residual Checks
Actors Sarah Paulson, left, and Elizabeth Reaser walk on a picket line outside Netflix studios on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Under deals secured decades ago when Ronald Reagan was president of the Screen Actors Guild, actors, writers, and others involved in film and TV production get residual payments when shows and movies are rerun. But while the payments are intended to help people make ends meet between film and TV jobs, many of the checks are pitifully small, which is one reason actors and writers are on strike. Stars have been sharing images of the tiny payments online and the "winner" might be Kamil McFadden, who starred in all three seasons of Disney's KC Undercover, NPR reports.

  • McFadden tweeted a video of a list that includes some residual payments of $0.01 and others in negative amounts. "Y'all ever seen negative amounts on your residuals?" he asked. "The full video is almost two minutes long and I'm only netting $2.77. The math ain't mathing."
  • "To fans of my character Bev on Reservation Dogs, here's a peek behind the IHS counter at what part of my residuals looks like for acting on a show that I love," tweeted Jana Schmieding. "I pull in $.03 each quarter for UNLIMITED world wide streams on fx/hulu/DISNEY," she wrote, adding that Disney CEO Bob Iger "is yachting."
  • William Stanford Davis, who plays custodian Mr. Johnson on Abbott Elementary, displayed a residuals check for $0.05 in an Instagram video, noting that the paper and postage would have cost more than that. "That's what they think of us as actors," he said. "This is why we're on strike"

Increasing residuals and other pay is one of the main issues at stake in the strikes, along with health care and retirement contributions and the use of AI. On Wednesday, actors and writers picketed Netflix headquarters, saying that as the leading streamer, the company should be a leader in fairly compensating workers. "I think that would be great leadership if they came forward and helped stop what they started," screenwriter Kirsten Smith told Rolling Stone. "Residuals are one of the main reasons I'm striking. As someone who came of age writing movies in the 2000s and then would sometimes have movies not get made, residuals are how we lived and how we survived the lean times to get to the next project." (More residuals stories.)

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