May 2023 Message From MPPIA Chair

May 16, 2023
Posted by: Leslie Wootton

2023 has been an unsettling year for BC’s film and television production community considering the culmination of circumstances across the global industry that have us paused in our tracks. The uncertainty can be unnerving for everyone, but we’re especially mindful of industry ‘newcomers’ – those who have experienced only the constant, unprecedented growth and demand for content over the past 6+ years – when even a global pandemic couldn’t keep the industry down for long and we did what we do best to keep working – adapt and persevere.

The business of production has evolved away from the more predictable cycle of ‘the old days’ when we each planned for the expected continuum of pilots, green lights, pick ups, wraps, cancellations and at intervals, labour negotiations. In more recent years, technology shifts, production volumes and streaming models overturned previously accepted expectations and predictions, and we just kept working. But today we find ourselves at a crossroads of new market shifts and regrouping, economic uncertainty and a significant labour disruption at the heart of our industry south of the border.

There is little consolation for uncontrollable market conditions that keep us from our livelihoods. We can only do our best to connect with one another within BC industry organizations, and where possible, find and take advantage of any opportunities available in skills training or other professional or personal development and support. The nature of this unique industry can be as isolating as it is bonding when we are working in the tightly knit groups that make film and TV. The rewards are generous, but the gaps take patience and a strong personal strategy to manage the down time. There is no apparent watercooler to gather at to share information, anxieties and support for one another. Look to your labour/employee organization, or industry associations like this one to hear updates or insights, and if you are feeling disconnected or overwhelmed take a moment to connect with Calltime Mental Health, an excellent support system that is there for our production community.

As far flung as the global production industry is today, film and television production communities worldwide are collectively experiencing the current state of the industry as we are here in BC — I’ve included a comparative infographic that demonstrates the similarities. On the side of optimism, there are two things that we know for certain: labour negotiations eventually conclude and the global appetite for screen content continues to grow. We have every reason to hope that 2023 can still deliver another busy year for production in BC.

Gemma Martini, Chair, MPPIA