June 3, 2020

Hollywood’s Backstage Creatives Try to Soldier On

LOS ANGELES — Just a few weeks ago, Hollywood’s global assembly lines were spinning at full speed.

Crews were working on Universal’s latest “Jurassic World” installment and Disney’s live-action “Little Mermaid” in Britain. Guillermo del Toro was in Toronto shooting “Nightmare Alley,” a Fox Searchlight remake. Marvel had productions running in Australia and Atlanta. On the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Calif., cameras were rolling on multiple soundstages and editors were working on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical “In the Heights.”

But that was another epoch. As with much of life around the world, film and television production has ground to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic — leaving stars, stylists, directors, studio chiefs, grips, writers, set builders, trailer cutters, agents and scores of other specialized Hollywood workers at home and confronting the same question almost everyone has: Now what?

Across the industry, shooting is not expected to resume until August, in part because of the time it will take to reassemble casts and crews once the coronavirus threat subsides. That leaves a vast number of people without work. Hollywood supports 2.5 million jobs, according to the Motion Picture Association of America; many workers are freelancers, getting paid project to project.

“I keep telling myself, ‘Panicking is not going to help,’” said Muffett Brinkman, an associate casting director who has been unemployed for more than a month. “Hopefully things restart before I’m completely financially ruined.” She is a member of Teamsters Local 399, where the hourly minimum for her job category is $18.45.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/19/business/media/coronavirus-hollywood-production-jobs.html

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