Covid 19 & The TV Industry
I love my work. Yes, it can be hard, the days long and heavy, but but I take great pride in logging out of a project at the end of job knowing that I - and the Producers, Directors, Camera Ops and Sound Recordists (depending on the budget obviously) - have created an hour of TV that will be watched and - presumably appreciated - by 100s of 1000s of people.
I've been involved in TV Post Production for 20 + years and I have never seen it completely shut down before. As it happens, I am fairly confident I can weather the storm (assuming it subsides by early summer), but I know a lot of my friends and colleagues are extremely worried about what happens next.
A large proportion of us will get no help from the state during this crisis. Operating as a Limited Company, I'm not entitled to the same safety net offered to some of my self employed friends. Colleagues in junior roles that operate through short PAYE contracts and weren't employed on a specific date and have not been furloughed because the advice to production companies remains unclear are likely to be in tremendous difficulty.
It's a sad fact that we often live week by week, month by month, sometimes not knowing where the next job is coming from until the night before. We have no employment rights, no sick pay and a large number of us probably don't have pensions and for some reason, we are repeatedly classed as tax dodgers, grouped with companies like Amazon and Starbucks.
This needs to change.
How? I don't know! We're not famous for sticking together! If you've never thought about joining a union, now would be a good time. It's not expensive, and the greater the membership, the more clout (rates, hours, conditions) it will have as we look to the future. https://bectu.org.uk
The TV and Film Industry is vital to this country's economy https://www.screendaily.com/news/film-and-tv-boom-pushes-uk-economy-into-black/5143767.article and while we may have been forgotten now, we will get through this.
I refuse to believe anything else. And it will be better than ever.