Coronavirus – how’s it affecting us TV lot?

Wed 11 Mar 2020 | Opinion | 0 comments

What an unsettling time it is right now. Both personally, and professionally for so many of us. Coronavirus has been on everyone’s lips (and tissues and news alerts) for a couple of weeks now and it’s hard to know how to react, and just how worried to be. The barrage of information and differing opinions on social media are unavoidable. From 24/7 news ticker statistics to loo roll panic buying (you’d think this virus causes dysentery), to cracked hands from hardcore handwashing and direct questions from children about whether Granny’s going to die. Eek.

Plus – it’s cold and flu season anyway, so people off work sick (in emails: ‘not Coronavirus LOL’) must feel a tad unsettled, and all this coupled with the not knowing how bad the whole situation is going to end up is making anxiety levels peak.

People have been asking us about how the TV industry is being affected – especially only just emerging from the quiet Winter period. Are freelancers are going to get paid if filming is put on hold or pulled? If we’re honest, just like everyone else, we’re uncertain. And with Italy now on complete shutdown, is it only a matter of time until the UK is too?

Here are the things that we do know, and we thought might be helpful to share… (TP’s viewpoint only of course):

– We’ve noticed a significant pick up in staffing the last couple of weeks – Talented People is busy. Our jobs board is bulging, so take heart that for many companies, there’s still a spring in their Spring step and – Coronavirus allowing – things are being commissioned.

– Yes, some productions we’ve been working on have been put on hold as they involve filming abroad. But people are going to need a shedload of content to watch if they end up in isolation, right?! So here’s hoping they’ll be quickly adapted or replaced with more shiny new commissions that can be filmed within any potential restrictions.

– London appears to be cracking on with its typical, bold, take-no-sh*t thing for now. Not a single mask in sight on our personal commutes this week, and lots more people walking instead of taking the tube. One good thing.

– Working from home – whilst we are huge champions (and examples of) flexible working, this could backfire on its reputation big time. We suggest you plan ahead and think about what you will need now, and how you’ll achieve your role to the best of your ability if you’re suddenly needed to work from home. Let’s not give flexible working/wfh a bad name because people are ill-prepared or and please no one take the mick…

– Just in case your production is put on hold, check your contract now (please tell us you have one). There will be a termination or notice period in there that you should know about, whether it’s one or two weeks. If you’re at all concerned about how things are shaping up for your project, talk to your PM or HOP openly and honestly. And frequently! Make sure junior members of the team are kept in the loop – even if it’s still all uncertain, bring them in – this may be an even more stressful time for them and they are less likely to speak up.

– Don’t buy blimin’ loo roll. Buy wine. And fine – maybe a tin or two of soup. Oh and check your SVOD subscriptions and internet connections are all good for the foreseeable…

Let’s hope we’ll soon be out the other side. In the meantime, tear yourself away from the news and watch all those great series that have been backing up on your planner.

Have you heard us feature on new TV industry podcast ‘Production Pieces‘ in the episode on Unemployment? Oh and are you following Talented People on TwitterFacebook, Instagram & LinkedIn? If you’re not, you’re missing good TV industry chat and news, what to watch on the box, as well as our latest job opportunities… Keep your eyes peeled for these blog posts too, they’re pretty fun and informative.

*Talented People is an Equal Opportunity company and welcomes applicants from all backgrounds and circumstances*

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