Tatiana Maslany as She-Hulk in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and Brandee Evans as Mercedes in P-Valley

These Shockingly Low ‘She-Hulk’ and ‘P-Valley’ Residuals Show Why Strikes Are Necessary

The shockingly low residuals that a writer on She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and a P-Valley actress received show exactly why the current labor strikes in Hollywood are necessary. On July 14, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) officially went on strike after its contract with the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers expired without successful negotiations for a new one. SAG-AFTRA joined the Writers Guild of America (WGA) on the picket lines, the latter of which has been on strike since May 2.

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Both unions have multiple reasons for striking, ranging from compensation to job security to artificial intelligence regulation. The major problem is that Hollywood has changed a lot in the past three years due to streaming, and it requires changes to how writers and actors are paid, especially when it comes to residuals. Residuals are paid out to actors and writers every time their work is reused. So, for a show released on cable, writers and actors would be paid every time the show was re-aired or released on DVD. How much they are paid depends largely on the overall profit and success of the film or show.

However, today, a lot of shows and films are released via streaming and no longer getting reruns or DVD releases. The major difference between streaming and cable residuals is that streaming does not take the success of a show or film into account. Instead, it relies on subscriber counts and flat rates to pay out residuals. Hence, even if the show/film is a massive hit and breaks viewership records, writers and actors won’t see any additional compensation for that success. Even more troubling is that many streamers are permanently deleting shows and films from their libraries, meaning that actors and writers may have their residual payments prematurely cut off. With both unions on strike, actors and writers are now coming forward to show just how badly streaming has slashed residuals.

Actors and writers share their low residuals

Brandee Evans, one of the lead actresses in the critically acclaimed Starz series P-Valley, shared her acting residuals via TikTok. She explained that it was her birthday week, so she was excited when she received three residual checks. However, Evans opened them and found a check for $3.99 and another one for $4.67. The third check she received was for a mere $0.01. She ended her video with, “And that’s why we’re going to strike.” Evans did not specify if the checks were for P-Valley, but they were shockingly low for any acting job. In the comments, many indicated that their residual checks for years-old commercials or minor roles were still bigger than Evans’. Many also pointed out that it likely cost more to print the $0.01 check than what it was worth.

Cody Ziglar, an Emmy-nominated writer, also took to social media to share his residual payment for writing an episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. Ziglar wrote the episode “Ribbit and Rip It,” which featured the highly anticipated return of Daredevil (Charlie Cox) and likely reeled in many viewers. However, on Twitter, Ziglar revealed his residual check was a meager $396, and it sounded like he only got one. This amount seems very low for the primary writer of an episode of a Marvel TV show with a budget of $25 million per episode.

https://twitter.com/yayforzig/status/1679502095244996609?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1679502095244996609%7Ctwgr%5E892406905177d494562f18095f8d6ad2c2c8bc4a%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cbr.com%2Fshe-hulk-writer-disney-ceo-paycheck%2F

Ziglar also called out Bob Iger in his post after the CEO of Disney, who is looking to make $27 million this year, claimed that writers and actors weren’t being realistic in their expectations and that their strikes were “disturbing.” Many actors and writers are clapping back to show him that, no, expecting residual payments greater than $0.01 is not unrealistic. Several Twitter users also began sharing their meager acting residuals under #postyourpay.

While these actors and writers received a base pay, it’s not uncommon for many to rely on residuals for financial stability between projects, similar to how authors rely on royalties in addition to advances. However, a few cents isn’t going to go far at all and is part of the reason why writers and actors are struggling with the cost of living and have no choice but to strike.

(featured image: Disney+ / Starz)


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Author
Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.