Opinionated: What is the future of 'The Industry'?
It's a dark time for creatives, as it is for many other people. Everything is on stop and people from every department is left wondering when their first gig after lockdown will come? We're the same, raring to start our exciting new projects. At the same time, we're committed to keeping everyone in our cast and crew safe and we will only continue when UK Government advice allows us to. This is something I know every production company will be struggling with right now. The number of ideas that are being created is fantastic, which leads to infuriation when realising that they cannot be brought to life, and won't be for a while. However, when we are able to, we are very excited to start on our projects from the COVIDs Writer's Competition.
So, how will COVID-19 affect the industry as a whole? The first thing I've noticed is who I think we're going to see on our screens for the foreseeable future. Everyone has lost money. The economy is crashing and people are struggling to make ends meet. Some TV companies have created stories whilst in isolation, filmed by the actors and the people they're isolating with over video conferencing apps. The problem is (as an actor as well as a writer, I see it as a problem) all the actors in these stories are already established artists. I understand why you'd place household names on-screen before everyone else, money. More people watch, more money comes in. However, this is detrimental to the thousands of new talent that come into the industry every year. Anyone can perform these as they're all taking places in your own home! It's not as if they were perfect for the part either, there have been no call-outs that I've seen for these type of projects. I can only assume (and this is me assuming) that producers contacting agents directly requesting specific talent. And they'll get that talent because everyone is out of work right now. If this carries on, it may be many months before 'less-established' actors start to get a slither of work, which is extremely worrying.
Another change that has really got me annoyed is advertisements. Over the last couple of months, we've seen adverts for supermarket chains and other food-based services create adverts based around families, which again have all been filmed from the comfort of their own houses. What some people may not know is that the vast majority of these homes, are in London. After years of people telling us you don't have to live in London to get a job, Covid-19 has smacked the industry in the face and said "Nope, London is the place to be". Again, I understand why this is the case. The companies need to send equipment for filming and the bases are in London, so to save money on postage, only allow people based in London to send in self-tapes. However, this greatly diminishes the number of people who are able to apply for these jobs. It's especially annoying when you usually live in London but have to temporarily move away to isolate somewhere else.
If you're an actor reading this, don't be disheartened, just know that it's going to be tough going, but don't give up hope. The best thing you can do is create work for yourself. Write a showreel scene, write a short film, write a feature film! Write something and cast yourself in it. If you're struggling to start something, then check out one of my blogs for writer's here. Personally, that is how I started. I wasn't seeing myself being cast in anything anytime soon, so I started a one-man show, then I wrote a different show at the same time and it spiralled into what I'm doing right now. Everyone is on a different journey, so don't compare yourself to others.
If you have any thoughts or experiences of your own, then feel free to comment below and start a conversation. Let's all work together to get through this
Bye for now.