Those inexperienced with how the film industry works often assume that Hollywood and its workforce are especially wealthy. But the wealth that famous actors enjoy is far from the norm. Most actors live a life of rejection and destitution before acquiring gainful employment in the film industry, and even then, most actors never “hit it big.” Furthermore, film crews often go without work when there is not enough demand for filming. These people travel extensively to locations or move their families to areas where their skills are valued.
For example, Wilmington, North Carolina, had been the “Hollywood of the East Coast.” It has been the location for many famous movies and shows, including Dawson’s Creek, Iron Man, One Tree Hill, Under the Dome, and many more. When the state governor removed film industry tax incentives, film personnel living in Wilmington had to either move or go without work. This example is common for those in the film industry.
Having spent decades in the film and television production industry, producer James DuBose of Woodland Hills, California, understands the woes of an industry that suffers due to unforeseen circumstances, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. DuBose is the head of programming and executive producer at Fox Soul. Now an accomplished filmmaker, Mr. DuBose is a graduate of Wake Forest University and began his career in film as a program assistant at Brad Lachman Productions Company.
Due to COVID-19 safety concerns and lockdown orders, many find solace in streaming their favorite shows and movies. Because of the emotional comfort that shows and movies bring others, it is reasonable that non-film individuals would want to support struggling artists and film crew personnel. Here are a few ways to do so.
Film festivals used to be in-person events. Thousands of participants would generate funding and exposure from these events. But because of COVID-19 risks, the traditional film festival is not possible.
However, many film festivals have gone online. Supporters can join these festivals virtually and support participating artists, says James DuBose.
Lesser-known (yet highly qualified) artists and film personnel are using their downtime to teach and mentor those interested in a career in the film industry. Some of these online classes are free on platforms like YouTube or Twitch. Others are too valuable to give away, so they are available at a modest price.
For those wanting to learn more about what it’s like to work on set, these classes are informative and publicly support the artists that organize the class.
Using a simple Google search, one can find countless non-profit organizations dedicated to assisting those in the film industry experiencing hardships. Some of these non-profits aid specific film roles, such as aspiring actors, stunt doubles, sound engineers, musicians, etc.
Others have a wider scope, helping even theater workers that are without work due to local business closures. Supporters can make donations to these non-profits and record their donations when filing taxes.
On many of the leading streaming services, brands are offering to donate profits to suffering artists and film personnel. Among the leading streaming donations brands is Spotify’s Music Relief.
There are many film celebrities that have launched their own efforts to relieve the financial burden for those suffering in the film industry. Supporters can donate towards these actor-subsidized organizations and help struggling artists.
Working in the film industry is challenging and rewarding. To be successful, one must endure difficult circumstances and work tirelessly to improve their skills. Most struggle for the majority of their professional life and never accomplish what they hoped to achieve.
Like every industry, says James DuBose, many film crews and artists are out of work and struggling to make ends meet. Considering the emotional benefits that TV and movies have brought to millions around the country, it’s imperative that those with the means to help not forget the host of struggling artists and film personnel.