Congratulations to the WGA. As a member of the Guild of Aquatic Performers Local 223, I am thrilled our sister union was able to reach an agreement with the Hollywood studios.
For the past 2 years I’ve been a performer in Sea World’s DOLPHIN EXTRAVAGANZA. (I’m the one who circles the tank twice then splashes the audience as the announcer says “Sorry folks! Sometimes the dolphins get sloppy.”) I’m a skilled actor, yes, but I’m only as good as the writing. Memorable characters like the one I’m lucky enough to portray here don’t suddenly materialize. They are painstakingly written by union writers.
Would circling the tank 3 times have added more drama? What about the announcer calling dolphins sloppy? Wouldn’t suggesting that make me unlikable, working against the show’s Dolphin As Everyman subtext? These are not easy questions. Yet they are exactly the type of story decisions made each and every day by guild writers. My highly refined acting skills bring characters to life but first you need the characters. Without writing you have no show.
Want proof? Take a look at the shark tank. They’re all just swimming around in random patterns like one big reality show. Who wants to watch THAT for 45 minutes? There’s no story! I’ll bet my dorsal fin no one’s ever gonna write Sea World saying, “Watching hammerheads randomly swim around in your shark tank was the best part of my vacation.”
Luckily the writers made their deal in time to save the summer season. (Rumor is the producers always intended to make a deal by mid February in order to save the Oscars and Shamu’s new summer show BELIEVE.) Hopefully SAG will be able to piggyback on the terms of the writers’ deal but if they too are forced to strike they can rest assured that my brothers and sisters in the Guild of Aquatic Performers Local 223 will support them too.
Because when it comes right down to it, we’re all in the same tank.