It’s so easy to see only darkness at times like this, let’s be honest things weren’t exactly feeling bright even before the Coronavirus crisis so it’s understandable for folks to feel like there’s not much good left in the world. Whenever things get that way I always try to remember that for every bad thing there are usually two or more good things happening, you just have to widen your view. This pandemic has is deeply affecting those who will never contract the virus, with social distancing businesses are shutting down left and right and while many are able to work from home an equal amount can’t. With production shutting down globally at this point and seeing as how film and TV production is a decidedly hands-on undertaking this crisis has hit these workers especially hard. It’s easy to think “oh, those Hollywood types will be fine, they’re rich!” but the truth is the percentage of millionaires in the film industry isn’t much different then it is in any other line of work. For every Tom Cruise there are 100’s of electricians, carpenters, drivers, stylists who get pennies on the dollar. In what I hope is a move that’s copied across the board three major players in the industry are doing the right thing and making sure those hit the hardest are getting the help they need.
Leading the monetary pack Netflix has created a $100 million dollar emergency support fund for workers in the creative industry. From their official press release:
“This community has supported Netflix through the good times, and we want to help them through these hard times, especially while governments are still figuring out what economic support they will provide. So we’ve created a $100 million fund to help with hardship in the creative community.”
Beloved art-house studio Oscilloscope has gotten creative and found a way to keep their revenue going while also making a difference to the affected. The company has released a deal they are calling the “Circle of Quarantine“, for $49.99 you can choose any 10 movies from the studio’s library. That cost is to own, not rent, so it’s a great deal regardless but if you need more motivation to expand your digital film shelf they have pledged to donate $10 of every sale to help movie theater employees via the Cinema Workers Solidarity Fund. These are men and women who are mostly low-waged, hourly workers and are often forgotten when we talk about the entertainment industry…that guy that rips your ticket? Yup, he’s in the film business, gets paid about $8/hour and hasn’t been able to work in weeks.
Last up is everyone’s favorite theater chain, the Alamo Drafthouse. Showing what it means to take care of your people, the original dinner and a movie cinema is donating $2 million dollars to its Alamo Community Fund which aims to assist it’s employees who are currently unable to work, which is roughly 80% of it’s total employment base. Drafthouse CEO Tim League issued a plea to his fellow industry leaders saying:
“The coronavirus pandemic is an existential threat to all cinema, but particularly independent and arthouse theaters. That’s why I’m asking for our friends and partners in the film and hospitality industries — if you believe companies like ours are vital to the welfare and strength of your businesses, please help us keep our people safe, strong, and ready to get back to work.”
The silver lining to any situations like this is that we are given a chance to see what humanity is capable of, we learn that contrary to popular belief people instinctively help each other. We’re all in this together, we can let things like this rip us apart or we can use it to prove the greatness that we are capable of.
They’ve set the example Hollywood, now it’s up to the rest of you to do what’s right.