B.C. film and television workers struggle to find work
People working in B.C.’s film and TV industry are saying they’re having trouble finding work, with some going so far as to find work in other industries.
“From what I’ve seen with my peers, for getting film work right now in Vancouver it is a bit of a barren landscape,” Patrick Macht, the props coordinator for The Good Doctor, said.
Macht says he’s fortunate to still have his job.
“I have friends that were working nonstop for years alongside me, and now they’ve been looking for shows for the past few months, kind of since January, and they’re not finding anything,” he said.
Film shoots around the region are also starting to wrap up, including Riverdale, which is slated to finish shooting its final season this summer, and The Flash, which wrapped up its ninth season at the beginning of March.
Prem Gill, the CEO of Creative B.C., says film production is on track for this time of year — although she says other factors are at play.
“We’re all reading in the trades that there’s a global scaleback…on production, or what we kind of called peak TV. For a long time…there was so much production going on, and now there’s still a fair amount, but might be a slight decline,” she said.
But Macht says that people are feeling worn out waiting for industry jobs, and are starting to branch out.
“I think we’re wrapping up kind of the seasonal run and going into spring, where we’re usually starting pilots around town,” he said.
“My friends and colleagues right now, they’re getting to the end of their rope of how long they can just keep going unemployed, so they’re looking at new ventures. I have one friend that is becoming an inventor right now, one that’s going into manufacturing and side hustles.”
Down in Hollywood, the Writers Guild of America is starting negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers, and Macht says some in the industry are wary of a potential strike.
“Everyone’s waiting to see what’s going to happen with this writers’ strike…You don’t want to invest [in] and start a pilot, and then be waiting for however many months before you can actually start shooting based,” he said.
Gill says in 2022, the film and TV sector contributed $3.6 billion to British Columbia’s economy.
“Early Creative BC insights project that 2022 production spending on original storytelling content in B.C. will be over the est. $3.6B production volume mark in B.C. Final figures are anticipated to be steady if slightly above Creative BC’s 2021 numbers for original film and television production activity. This is well above pre-pandemic levels in 2019 when there was an est. $3.3B in production volume,” an email from Creative BC reads.
According to the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC), in 2021, it was worth about $4.8 billion.
But Creative BC says this number “was measured by the VEC for 2021 at $4.8B when you add in commercial advertising, some music videos and sound recording, and some work performed outside of film and tv for video games.”
It says the VEC’s 2022 report will likely be similar to the $3.6 billion that Creative BC is initially projecting.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to better clarify the amount of money the film and TV sector contributed to B.C.’s economy.