Actors are Turning to Cameo Amid SAG-AFTRA Strike

On July 24 Cheyenne Jackson, an actor, posted a photograph on Instagram that confirmed him shirtless, with glistening abs, veiny arms and his lips parted.

“This is me subtly letting you know I’m back on @cameo,” its caption learn.

Cameo is a service by means of which celebrities and others will be paid to make customized movies commemorating birthdays, bachelorette events, divorces and the like. Mr. Jackson, who has appeared within the “American Horror Story” TV exhibits and in “30 Rock,” stated in a telephone interview that he reactivated his account due to the persevering with strike by SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union.

Mr. Jackson, 48, prices $95 for a video message and cited payments — “I have two kids” — as one cause he’s on Cameo. “There are only so much sources of income,” he stated.

“My husband cringed a little,” he added. “But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Since Cameo debuted in 2016, some actors have used it when conventional work has dried up. In 2021, because the pandemic raged, the actor Andrew Rannells joined Cameo to boost cash for the Leisure Group Fund, a nonprofit previously often called the Actors Fund. On a latest episode of “And Just Like That…,” the “Sex and the City” reboot, the character Che Diaz, performed by Sara Ramirez, begins making Cameo movies after a TV pilot is canceled.

In line with information offered by Cameo, there was a 137 % improve within the variety of accounts reactivated or created on Cameo in July in comparison with June (the strike began on July 14). The variety of orders for movies remained about the identical for every month, however Cameo stated orders normally drop in July as a result of there aren’t occasions like graduations and holidays like Father’s Day.

A few of the new and reactivated accounts have been for individuals unaffected by the strike, however others have been for union actors like Mr. Jackson and Alyssa Milano. Fran Drescher, the SAG-AFTRA president, additionally reactivated her account, in line with Cameo, although it’s not at present accepting bookings.

Ms. Milano, 50, who prices $250 for a video message, stated in an electronic mail that Cameo “is a great way to supplement some income during this idle time.” Ms. Drescher’s representatives stated she was unavailable to remark for this text.

Whereas the actors’ union is on strike, its members are forbidden from filming most initiatives and from selling most initiatives at film premieres, movie festivals and occasions like Comedian-Con. However making Cameo movies, for essentially the most half, is allowed, stated Sue-Anne Morrow, the nationwide director of contract strategic initiatives and podcasts at SAG-AFTRA.

“As long as there’s no promotion of struck work within the Cameo, there’s no problem,” Ms. Morrow stated in an electronic mail.

In Could, across the time that film and tv writers’ unions went on strike, the actors’ union finalized a cope with Cameo that permits its members to have earnings from sure bookings utilized towards their medical insurance minimal earnings requirement, Ms. Morrow stated. These bookings should be made by means of Cameo 4 Enterprise, the place company clients like insurance coverage firms and grocery retailer chains rent expertise for promotional movies.

Ms. Morrow stated that the union pursued the settlement as a result of Cameo is one among some ways actors can help themselves after they’re not performing.

The common value of a Cameo 4 Enterprise reserving is $1,700, stated Steven Galanis, a founding father of Cameo and its chief govt. Non-business bookings — the kinds of movies Cameo is most identified for — common $70. Cameo receives 25 % of the charge for any reserving, and the remaining goes to the expertise.

Mr. Galanis in contrast the chance created by the strike for Cameo to the time period within the early pandemic when, as he put it, “every other income sort of dried up” for actors and different entertainers. “I’m hoping that the strike ends tomorrow,” he stated. “But if it doesn’t, we’re going to be here.”

On July 18, days after the actors’ union went on strike, Cameo introduced a spherical of layoffs, which occurred a bit of greater than a 12 months after the corporate laid off 87 staff in Could 2022. Mr. Galanis declined to touch upon the variety of individuals affected by the latest layoffs, or on the variety of individuals now working at Cameo.

Some actors who’ve began reusing the service because the strike stated that being profitable was not the one cause that they returned to it. Christa B. Allen, who has appeared within the TV present “Revenge” and within the movie “13 Going on 30,” stated that Cameo provides a chance to have interaction with followers at a time when she is making fewer public appearances.

“We’re nothing without our fans,” she stated. Cameo, she added, lets actors “connect with the people that love them and have supported their career in a time when they’re not going to be making traditional media.”

Ms. Allen, 31, who makes use of the stage title Christa Belle, reactivated her Cameo account through the strike after utilizing it sporadically since 2017. She prices $75 per reserving and stated she has made about $1,000 up to now.

“Cameo is not something I think of as a moneymaker,” she stated.

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