‘We’re All Looking for Work’

2024-02-29 04:53:19

Blue-collar Hollywood crew members are reportedly struggling to find work as the end of “peak TV” plus deep budget cuts across major studios have brought about a marked slowdown in production.

The result has been economic devastation for the so-called “below the line” people who keep Hollywood sets up and running.

In a report from Indiewire, crew members revealed that some have been without a full-time job for more than a year, relying on day-playing, the occasional music video, or odd jobs outside of film and TV. Many spoke of people leaving the industry altogether, of colleagues losing their healthcare coverage, and their savings.

In one instance, one crew member spoke of a colleague committing suicide.

Hollywood crews are represented mostly by IATSE and the Teamsters, which are responsible for protecting its members in their bargaining with the studios.

Both IATSE and the Teamsters endorsed Joe Biden in 2020.

IATSE has even doubled-down on Biden, with its board unanimously voting to extend its endorsement of Biden to his re-election bid.

The past four years have been anything but good for blue collar Hollywood workers.

Many are still recovering financially from the pandemic and last year’s dual strikes by actors and writers. The expected rebound in production from both cataclysms has failed to materialize.  Instead, crew members are facing the prospect of long-term unemployment as major studios hammered by weak TV advertising are slashing spending, canceling shows, and pulling back on their once profligate streaming spending.

“It’s never been this slow. The economic situation for a lot of crew members in general has been worse than the pandemic,” Elyse Jackson, a digital asset manager with IATSE Local 871 who has been unemployed for the last 14 months, told Indiewire.

“Back then, we had governments or even some support from the studios, and we had been classified as essential workers. This time around, all we have is each other. We’re not getting enough support, really, anywhere outside of our own community.”

As Breitbart News reported, the precipitous decline in TV advertising is wreaking havoc on major Hollywood studios, resulting in budget cuts and layoffs. Households crushed by inflation brought about by the Biden administration are cutting back on spending as they struggle to afford basic necessities like food and energy. As a result, corporations are buying fewer commercials on TV.

The Walt Disney Company laid of 7,000 people last year amid a $7.5 billion reduction in spending, with another $2 billion in cuts in the works.

Other studios swinging the ax include Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount Global, and Amazon / MGM Studios.

FX’s research team recently tallied 516 adult-centric live-action scripted shows released in 2023, a drop of 14 percent from 2022 which had a record 600 series, according to Indiewire. That represents the biggest drop in 20 years.

The economic despair could boil over into yet another Hollywood strike in the months ahead.

IATSE and the Teamsters — which represent the vast majority of below-the-line crew members — are scheduled to enter negotiations with the major studios on March 4.

 

Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at dng@breitbart.com



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‘We’re All Looking for Work’

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