Coronavirus Cancellations

An estimated 120,000 below-the-line film crew workers have lost their jobs due to the impact of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. But thanks to pressure from the Directors Guild of America, major Hollywood studios will be helping some of these relatively underseen workers — at least for the next two weeks.

The DGA announced that major studios “have committed to two weeks of pay” for non-director members who have lost their jobs because of the industry-wide shutdown of film and TV productions amid the coronavirus pandemic. Those below-the-line DGA jobs include assistant directors, unit production managers, stage managers and production associates.

“As the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on our health, our work, our community and the overall economy continues to unfold, your Guild is working hard for you,” DGA president Thomas Schlamme and national executive director Russ Hollander said in their message to their members, according to Deadline. The message continued:

“With film, television and commercial production suspended for the time being, and our members in news working hard to keep the world informed – we have been in contact with so many of you who have shared what’s on your minds. While the situation continues to remain fluid, we know you are seeking certainty in a sea of unknowns. Your Guild is here for you to be that beacon as we continue to fight on the front lines. For your protection. For your rights. And for your peace of mind.”

The guild has been “fast-tracking residuals” payments that are worth “tens of millions of dollars so you would have this important source of income in your hands immediately,” Schlamme and Hollander said. The guild is also offering “leniency” on membership dues.

You can read the full message here.

This move will only help a fraction of the estimated 120,00o below-the-line workers who have lost their jobs amid the coronavirus crisis. However, across the industry, private companies have been stepping in to provide some financial relief to these technical workers. Earlier this week, Netflix announced a $100 million relief fund “to help with hardship in the creative community.” And Thursday, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell, in a letter to staff confirming that he has tested positive for coronavirus, announced that the company hascommitted over $150 million across our film, television and parks businesses to help our employees and other workers, and to at least partially bridge the period before normal operations can restart,” according to Variety.

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