2 Burst results for "Liz Alpert"

Hollywood in Crisis: Producers, Theater Workers, Crew Members Brace for Coronavirus Fallout

The Frame

06:15 min | 2 years ago

Hollywood in Crisis: Producers, Theater Workers, Crew Members Brace for Coronavirus Fallout

"Around the globe. Hollywood is shutting down the production of scores of movies and TV series and that means a huge number of crew members are suddenly unemployed. Many of those who lost their jobs are assistance and writer's room studios in agencies who might not qualify for pay or health benefits during a shutdown. Liz Alpers TV writer and a former assistant. She's the creator of pay up. Hollywood and I asked her how her organization started half. Hollywood is an organization that started in response to a lot of these system abuses and low wages that were going on in the entertainment industry and our goal is to shine a light on some of the abuses and outdated practices that have been going on and do whatever we can to fix it and bring assistance and other support staff up to a living wage while also radically aiding the abuses they're still going on in the workplace. So let's talk about what's going on in the workplace right now. More than seventy TV and film shoots so far. Shut down but when you add it all together probably looking at thousands of people below the line who are suddenly out of work. Do you think that's about right? I think that number's rising every day. So some of those people might be full-time studio employees. They might be casting directors or maybe somebody who works in post production. But I'M GONNA have to assume the majority are freelancers. They go from show to show kind of the backbone of Hollywood's GIG economy how might that latter group B. added disadvantage if they're laid off especially for the freelancers who are not part of any of the unions. These are people who don't have any sort of Cushion to fall back on often. They're living hand to mouth often. They're being paid lower than anyone else on the crew and they are paying for their own health insurance. It's not provided through union. They're the ones who went stuff like this happens. They don't really have anywhere else to turn. There are also ten ninety nine employees Who Don't get to pay into unemployment insurance and so they don't receive unemployment benefits when you major shutdowns like this happened even though it's never really happened before in the event that movie is cancelled or TV. Show ends what they have in their bank account is all they have to survive on until their next GIG. I have read that some of the things that have been considered our pain. People compensation for a couple of weeks but based on a forty hour work week. But there's almost no such thing as a forty hour work week during production. A lot of the compensation is tied to overtime when people are working sixty eighty hour weeks so that extra pay which can be huge if that goes away even if you're getting a paycheck for a couple of weeks it would be a fraction of what you might typically take home correct. Yeah that's connected honestly. Most people who work in production are given sixty hour. Workweek guarantees so by saying that we will pay you for a forty hour workweek. You're taking away. Twenty guaranteed hours if you're making say minimum wage of fifteen dollars an hour. That's about an additional three hundred dollars a week that you're losing and that's a huge difference. That's the difference between being able to pay your rent. Pay Your bills. Maybe you know by your kids food. If that money goes away you have nowhere else to turn and especially in a situation like what we're facing now where everything's uncertain. No one knows when production's going to be coming back you're essentially digging a financial hole and you don't know when you can stop we're talking with Liz Alpert from pay up Hollywood about unemployment in Hollywood. Your organization has helped start a crowd funding campaign. What kind of people do you think are most in need of help? You know honestly I think across the board. There are just people in need of health. It's it's the workers if the production folk we're focusing on the support staff because that's who our organization is fighting for but beyond the support staff. There are there crew members. There are studio assistants. Are Office Workers? Who have been laid off without pay. So it's really everybody. And even though we started this go fund me we're still urging the studios in the employees in the entertainment industry to continue compensating all their employees. Because right now the employees are the ones that needs to be taken care of and the businesses profit because of the hard work of their people so right now they need to be stepping up and offering financial protection and support throughout this time of uncertainty. It also feels like this is a moment where income disparity in Hollywood and probably around the world could be brought into much sharper focus so we have studio heads and CEO's who make tens of millions of dollars. Disney's Bob Iger may nearly fifteen hundred times. What the average is the employee makes and whole foods which is owned by Amazon. The richest man in the world. Jeff bezos worth. A hundred billion dollars has been asking it staff to donate their time offer others who might be sick. And I'm wondering if we're to step back might be a conversation that could follow after this is all over. You know. This is a conversation that's been had for years so it's not that these conversations haven't happened. It's that the world hasn't taken notice yet. And so what I think needs to happen is for the public at large to understand that we are facing a severe income disparity where the people at the bottom ten to pay the most in situations like this and who are at the most at risk and get their situations never change. They're they're never give an ounce of relief instead. They're told that they simply have to work harder to dig themselves out of these financial debts that they've accrued.

Hollywood Liz Alpers Writer Jeff Bezos Liz Alpert Bob Iger Amazon Disney CEO
#PayUpHollywood Attempting To Change Pay And Working Conditions For Entertainment Industry Assistants

The Frame

06:44 min | 3 years ago

#PayUpHollywood Attempting To Change Pay And Working Conditions For Entertainment Industry Assistants

"Assistance in the entertainment industry are overworked underpaid and and often have to run personal errands for their bosses even after they leave for the day. That's according to a new survey of more than fifteen hundred assistance. It was released this this week by the grassroots movement called pay up Hollywood. The campaign started as a twitter Hashtag back in October and has been gaining momentum since then Katie kilkenny is an associate editor at the Hollywood reporter where she covers labor and she explains how the Hashtag grew out of an episode of script notes. A podcast asked about screenwriting. A assistant wrote in saying you know I think one of the big issues. That's going to be coming forward in the next few decades in Hollywood is that we're gonna I have to talk about the low pay. That assistance are facing in how that is related to rising cost of living in Los Angeles and from near the hosts which cacus Craig Mason. Who are both really powerful writers in Hollywood? Read that note and ask for more people to talk about their stories of being an assistant in Los Angeles they just got an overwhelming matic. Email and a writer named Alber who is on the board at the Writers Guild of America started Hashtag called Hashtag Champ. Hollywood so a couple of days before Thanksgiving script notes facilitated a pay up Hollywood town hall where assistance had a chance to talk about some of the issues. And here's what one woman who didn't provide. Her name had to say about burnout. We almost have like three jobs at once. Like not only. Are we working our day. The job for forty to sixty hours a week and not making enough and then therefore doing work on the side like babysitting driving etc but we also have the work of our own careers. I and I think that is what leads that burnout. Because we're not only expected to have this day job that puts all these things in place for us to move forward and then on top of that we're expected to have like an hour to write a day or or to fund their own short films and make them on the weekends like that is just like impossible. I think impossible's inaccurate word word for what she's describing. What some of the other issues that came up around the Hashtag and around the town hall so I think a big one is the question of access? Hollywood has been talking talking a lot about its diversity issues wanting to get more folks into the pipeline of diverse backgrounds. But what we're looking at. Here's the situation where you have to to be able to afford to be an assistant in the first place to get that first leg up in the industry and so Paige Hollywood has just released a survey of one thousand thousand five hundred fifty one assistance and they found that seventy percent of the people who were surveyed were white and that fifty two percent were receiving financial -sential aid from family and friends to make ends meet as they were assistance in Hollywood. So I think we're seeing that this industry in order to diversify does have to become more accessible or economically manically accessible to folks who aren't coming in with with that aid so that to me was notable as well as the fact that a lot of assistance were also talking thing about this sort of demeaning conditions that were expected of them. Hollywood has pay your dues culture and I think a lot of folks remember at its in difficult conditions when they or assistance and so sort of expect. There is a lot to go through that as well. But in the survey it showed that one hundred and four respondents had an object thrown at them in the workplace. So I think that we're looking at conditions assistance or not only being pretty badly paid but also they are facing conditions that are pretty rough. We're talking with Katie kilkenny at the Hollywood reporter about pay up. Hollywood there are other things that really jumped out to me. One is that almost ninety three percent of those. The people surveyed said they work more than forty hours a week and fifteen percent said they were working more than sixty hours a week and hero's something that was really troubling. Almost almost a quarter said that they had reported an increase in substance abuse. So it sounds like the job is really taking a terrible terrible toll on the people who are in this line of work completely. I mean I think these numbers sort of show something that assistance have been talking to each other about for a long time and so I think for a lot of this is not a surprise but this survey really shines a light on some of these issues and the fact that things need to change and it sounds like some show runners are actually saying this is unsustainable and maybe even immoral absolutely so I talked to a few folks. We'd been vocal on twitter with their support and basically found out talking to them that they were advocating for higher wages on projects that they're currently developing and these are Adam conifer who Folks might know true. TV's Adam Ruins everything. David H Steinberg. who was a CO show runner? Netflix is no good nick. And the writer producer producer Creator Ayelet Waldman who was an executive producer on Netflix. Unbelievable Waldman in particular told me that she was trying to get her assistance twenty dollars an hour plus benefits and hover was saying that he was trying to just various aspects of the job to make it more. Tenable you said in your story Lori that you had reached out to the major studios and talent agencies for comment and let's just say they weren't flooding the phone lines calling back. have any of them. Had anything anything to say. One Agency is doing something and they didn't provide comment for the story. But you know I heard via sources that for which is the talent agency that represents spoke John August who helped movement as well as Liz Alpert who coined. The HASHTAG has conducted in anonymous pace survey of their assistance. And and I will also be receiving and looking at the results of the pay up Hollywood survey and I imagine that in weeks to come others will speak up more but for now they our remaining mum and even if the hours are horrible. The working conditions aren't great. A lot of people want these jobs right because it's so hard hard to get into the business and this is one possible path for people who want to become creative people in Hollywood definitely. They're extremely competitive jobs and often a line that is used with assistance to speak up about work. Conditions is that you know there were thousands. That will take place but it's gotten to the point where the wages are the same as they were twenty years ago in some cases That's what we're hearing from. These stories while the cost of living in Los Angeles has skyrocketed. And so these assistance missiles argument is that the situation is untenable at the slain. Katie Kilkenny is an associate editor at the Hollywood reporter. Katie thanks so much for coming on the show as much for having me

Hollywood Katie Kilkenny Paige Hollywood Los Angeles Reporter Writer Twitter Associate Editor Writers Guild Of America Unbelievable Waldman Netflix Craig Mason John August Alber Lori David H Steinberg. Adam Liz Alpert Executive Producer