ArtCube Nation

Insider Voices: Film Crew & Vendors Quotes on the Strike Impact

Oct 10, 2023 09:05
3 minutes read 140 0
vendor and crew strike quotes film and TV crew talk abiur movie industry jobs, movie industry jobs

The common threads: Post-COVID Gut Punch, Corporate Greed, Loss of Resources, Workers' Rights, and Tragic Economic Fallout

In physical film production, where the rubber hits the road in actual filmmaking, the recent strike has caused high anxiety far and wide. What’s very clear is that the physical production ecosystem of crew and vendors felt the pain in tandem. 

For film crew and film vendors, it’s a pivotal moment in time, and their candid voices provide a mosaic of the strike’s continuing impact.

The TV industry jobs and film gigs landscape is now navigating shallow waters.  The strike has cast its shadow on long-format, union movie production jobs, union TV production jobs, and the vendors that serve them, in the lurch.

The worldviews among the film crew reveal a small range of sentiments; anger, despair, worry and are common themes.

Some seasoned union crew enjoyed the time off, while the younger generation, eager for their maiden voyage into film crew jobs, is met with distinct challenges. The term “strike” becomes a looming specter for those who have carved complicated and high-stress careers in film and TV, a stark reminder of the industry’s potential volatility.

In this climate, freelance film jobs might not have the allure they once did. It’s a recognized r risk to your stability to do film production freelance jobs and run a film industry-specific business.

Recent film school grads and others looking for TV production assistant jobs or any entry-level production jobs are victims of circumstance. The door (where they would normally put their bright-eyed and bushy-tailed foot) slammed shut.

The notion of careers in film and TV may not have appeal if the film crew job description includes “resilience in the face of extreme uncertainty.”

The tsunami-esque ripple effects won't be fully realized until the tide rises to test the buoyancy of whatever craft is still upright in the sandbank.

The upshot.

The strike has led to a strengthening of the industry’s interconnectedness. Whatever the fallout, the nexus of film and TV vendors and film and TV crew is not just about “making a movie” but also the bonds forged, the survival of collective effort, and the shared love for the craft and one another.

These insider voices – of freelance film crew and vendors – will resonate through the corridors of the film industry for years to come.

It is my hope they serve as a testament to our resilience and a warning shot to future generations.

While the strike has disrupted the familiar and dependable ebb and flow, it has also ignited a collective determination to rebuild, adapt, and thrive once more.

The film industry, like the medium itself, is ever-evolving, and the voices of its insiders will continue to shape our collective CV.

NOTE: Below are verbatim quotes from the ArtCube Nation Member Survey before the WGA came to an agreement.

IF they chose to leave a comment, Film Crew and Vendors wanted the truth known, and to remain anonymous.

Post-COVID Gut Punch

Too many of the people working in the film industry are now unemployed- again just a few years after COVID.

I'm about to be at the point where I cannot pay my rent. I understand the battles that SAG and the writers guild are fighting for.

But I myself am not going to be able to pay my bills and their fights are not going to help increase my salaries to make up for the lost time.
Assistant Prop Master
NYC

I run two companies in the physical production support space, a fabricator shop, and a props rental house. This strike is hurting the shop and killing the rental house.

We aren’t ballerinas or basketball players, we can only pivot so much.

After the peak of the pandemic, we were just getting our footing again, hiring people and making purchases.

Investments were made and just when we thought we were getting in a good position, the rug was pulled out from under us

Fabrication Shop
NY | NJ
I run Everything Props, a rental house support all forms of live entertainment. The elimination of productions for the last several months means that I have been funding payrolls from my own pocket and have about 2 weeks before I start letting people go.

I’m exhausted, it’s hard enough running a business in god times, bu the one-two punch since 2020 has me thinking of moving into a different space. If we’re not here when everyone gets back, I hope someone else has the ability and patience to host a diverse collection used for all sorts of storytelling.
Prop House
NY | NJ

Disappearing Vendors

Costume Rental Houses catering to the trade are highly dependent upon the film and TV industries to survive.

In addition to the difficulty of finding sufficiently affordable commercial space for our NYC businesses to thrive and successfully serve our local and extended entertainment communities due to no commercial rent regulation, we are further fiscally hindered by the vagaries of the entertainment industry..

Almost all of the large costume rental houses in NYC have already closed, while conversely, film studios continue to expand their footprints in NY and New Jersey. Costume Designers, Shoppers, Wardrobe Supervisors,etc are finding themselves bereft of income.

Many have given up on their dreams and left NY to accept other kinds of jobs. We are already a low-paid sector of the entertainment industry and like to quip we do it for love and not for money, but love does not pay the rent..

Who will be left in NY to dress the Emperor?
Historical and Period Costume Rentals
NYC
Many people not directly involved in the strikes are suffering, including vendors that we rely on for so many things, some of whom might not survive this unfortunately.
Set Decorator
NYC
We run a loft location that has supported film & television projects as a shooting space, holding area & catering support. There has been no way to service the industry since the strike began so the typically busy months have been at a zero rental rate. We are in a prime area where filming is ordinarily popular. Our location is well connected with locations department personnel who have also been out of work since the strike began.
Daylight Studio
NYC
My business is down like 20% - 30% but suspect it will be more like 50% by the end of the year. This strike is devastating. And prop companies are essential for the TV / Movie industry especially as the retail landscape disappears.
Cleared Art Rentals
NYC

Corporte Greed and Government Relations

I find very little in the news about the effect on the NYC economy, yet thousands of people have been out of work for months. It seems obvious that the city and the state care much less about wages than they do about their relationships with large companies. olution to the root issue. We all know what is.
Mechanical SFX Fabrication
NYC
We need legislative actions that helps protect workers from exploitive and purely profit driven companies who harm everyone in the industry despite their already unimaginable wealth.
Freelance Fabricator
NYC
I understand why the unions are striking (against extreme corporate greed) but it is unfair to the countless businesses and freelancers who are now out of work.
Daylight Studio
NYC

Workers' Rights

I support the strike but also, as an IATSE member, myself and fellow brothers and sisters, will not be able to fight for our rights when the time comes in a year for our contract because many of us have been out of work for almost a year now and are desperate for money.

Also, as a set dec dept, many of the businesses we shop at will not make it through this strike. It needs to end now.
Assistant Set Decorator
NYC
Advocate for workers rights. Support union workers in New York.
Property Person
NYC

Tragic Economic and Mental Health Fallout

I have also lost my housing during this strike.
Set Decorator
Wake Forest, NC
It’s hard to create a comment that will encompass the entire emotional and business angst that has been foisted on us for six months.

People vs. People and no two talking. What else would you like to hear? The Entertainment Industry is a gold mine for the State and someone with more clout than I needs to find a resolution to the root issue. We all know what is.
Prop House
NYC
In addition to being a freelancer with buying power, I am also a sole proprietor who is struggling to stay in business myself due to the strikes. Producers know there is a big supply of workforce, and offering low rates for the few non-union gigs available.

This hurts future negotiating power of below-the-line crew members on all sorts of shows.

The ongoing strikes have also severely impacted the mental health of people who have made this industry their career, and are unable to quickly pivot or retrain for other work.
Set Decorator
NYC

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