“Guilding” Our Way to Success

To be completely honest, I didn’t know what a guild was until about a week ago. I’ve heard of “Actors Guild” and “Writers Guild” but I never understood the term. To completely understand the importance of Guild’s I’ll define it for you.

Guild (noun): an organization of peoples with related interests, goals, etc., especially one formed for personal aid or protection. -Dictionary.com

So we can see that a guild of actors, would be when actors come together to protect each other’s interests as it pertains to their job. This is especially important for people in the industry when one sector of creative laborers are not being compensated correctly or treated fairly. As we have seen in the past, as discussed in Cynthia Littleton’s book, TV on Strike, the industry has had a history of not treating creative laborers fairly, in this specific case, the Writers Guild were affected. However, having a Guild really did help the writers in the long run. It allowed and still does allow for them to come together and fight back against their maltreatment.



Looking beyond just the Writers Guild, there are many more guilds and unions that protect creative laborers. Of these, one in particular caught my attention, The Art Directors Guild. This is a local union of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage employees (IATSE). However, it is broken up into many different parts which include: art directors, illustrators and storyboard artists and matte artists, set designers, as well as scenic title and graphic artists. Each particular section differs on how to apply to be a member, although, for most, you must have a job in the industry or be employed as a worker in said field. This guild alone has 104,000 members, and that’d just the art directors. The benefits of being in a guild or union far outweigh the negatives. artdirectorsguildFor instance the guild takes care of all it’s members dealings with health care and 401k’s. As of 2015 Art Directors could make anywhere form 47,000 to 175,000. Which, to be honest is very surprising to me.


I just want to take a moment to let that last part sink in. Now, Art Director’s is a pretty big category, it could be anyone from an illustrator to a set designer. That being said they are earning a large percentage less than most directors and actors. Is that fair? I looked to see who was the top paid actor, just for fun, and it was Jenifer Lawrence. In 2016 she made over 46 million dollars. Of course this is a bit inflated considering this isn’t the average for actors. I’m not saying that actors don’t earn their money, but they are definitely compensated more than Directors or even Art Directors. Should this change? Should the people making the TV show or film be compensated just as highly as the actors/actresses are? I suppose it’s mostly comes down to personal opinion.

I believe that protecting the creative laborers is a very important part to make sure that the film and TV industry works smoothly. Everyone should have the opportunity to have a fair compensation, receive credit for their work, and have job security. I feel especially strongly about the ADG because of the creative component that goes along with a lot of their work.


The Hollywood Reporter

I would argue that film is an essential part of our culture as well as communication and entertainment. Therefore we should invest in this industry and the artists that make this industry function. It benefits us to invest in art and to care about how the people in this industry are being treated, because hopefully one day, that will be us.



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