Seth Rogen and Ryan Reynolds share their support for film workers

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A Vancouver-based film worker says she was suicidal and had “lost so many friends” in the industry.

Activists are sounding the alarm bells over working conditions in the film industry and two popular Vancouver actors share their support.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Employees (IATSE) recently announced that it was preparing for a nationwide strike authorization vote citing dangerous working hours, mediocre wages for workers in the worst trades lower pay and inadequate breaks. He also noted that workers on some “new media” streaming projects are paid less, although they work on productions with equivalent budgets.

Vancouver resident Kerri Coombs is a member of IATSE Local 891, the union representing over 9,000 film production workers in British Columbia and the Yukon. She started working in film in 1999 when she was in her twenties, but left the industry for about 10 years. When she returned there in her forties, she said she suffered from severe depression.

“I was suicidally depressed,” she says Vancouver is awesome. “Along the way, I’ve lost so many friends. You will be at work and you will receive death notices by email in the middle of your workday. And you could teach someone you were talking to. yesterday and [was] totally fine is now gone.

“I’ve never seen this in any other industry.”

Coombs compiled a spreadsheet of data gathered from available obituaries published by two large IATSE locals – one in Vancouver and one in Toronto – but notes that this is “a very small set. of data “. Some film departments are not included in the data and she points out that this is not a scientific study. Either way, she says it speaks to serious issues in the industry.

The data shows the life expectancy of each person based on their date of birth, gender, department, age at which they died, date of birth and death, and number of years during which she worked in the industry. Vancouver’s sample size is 137 people: 111 males and 26 females. The average life expectancy in Canada is 68.56 years, while the life expectancy of the Vancouver film worker is 9.48 years shorter, or 59.08 years.

Interestingly, data from the Toronto local also showed that film workers have a lower life expectancy than the Canadian average. Based on a data set of 249 workers, 223 men and 26 women, the average life expectancy was 7.08 years lower.

Daniela Saioni, a Toronto-based writer and comedy writer, sent Coombs Toronto the IATSE Local 873 obituary that she used to prepare an upcoming YouTube video “In Praise of the 8 to 10 Hour Shoot Day”. She tells VIA that one of the most significant findings from the data is the percentage of transportation workers who die before their 60th birthday.

“What you can’t tell from the way the data is presented in the Toronto table is that [20 per cent] of those who died before their sixtieth birthday belong to a single department: transport, ”she explains.

“It’s important because they work the longest hours.”

Transportation workers are not represented in the Vancouver data because they are represented by Teamsters Union Local 31 in British Columbia and Yukon, rather than IATSE, Saioni added. “In Toronto, we are all in the same room.

“There is nothing more important to our overall health and longevity than sleep.”

Solaris Fatigue Management President Mike Harnett was interviewed for a documentary film on working conditions in the film industry titled Safes, which is still in production. In a mass survey of film workers with more than 2,200 respondents, she told VIA that lack of sleep is a significant risk for film workers and the general public.

“The most important factor is that they have ridiculously long schedules that don’t allow people to get the restful sleep they need,” she explains.

In most cases, the film crew will work more than 12 hours per day. In the worst case, she notes that they can work 20 hours a day, depending on the shoots.

“We have situations where I like to call it ‘sleep bulimia’ – where they’ll work ridiculous hours and then try to make up for it when they have a break between the next production they go to,” he notes. -she. “But our bodies are not designed like that. Our bodies are designed to sleep a minimum of seven to nine hours a day.”

If they don’t get proper restful sleep, Harnett says workers can experience a variety of health consequences and put their co-workers at risk, especially if they work in departments such as lighting, transportation or participate in stunts.

When asked if implementing a midday nap can replenish tired employees, Harnett said it would not compensate for a continuing pattern of poor sleep habits.

“We need a seven to nine hour consolidated block. You can’t do a few hours. You’re not going to make up for the lack of sleep by napping all the time.”

There is a very strong link between mental health and sleep, Harnett adds. “There is nothing more important to our overall health and longevity than sleep.”

Harnett notes that the biggest risk for all movie workers is coming home. After staying awake for this extended time, she says they’re more likely to have a fatigue-related crash.

“You have lost so many good people who fell asleep at the wheel and died,” she explains. “You’ve gone into a microsleep and you don’t know you’re about to crash.”

Seth Rogen and Ryan Reynolds share their support

Vancouver Hollywood heavyweights Seth Rogen and Ryan Reynolds shared their support for film workers.

On September 22, Rogen said on Twitter that “our movies and films literally wouldn’t exist without our teams, and our teams deserve better.” The comedian also joked that maybe it was a bit “early” in the day for him when he wrote this because he meant “film and television.”

Ryan Reynolds also shared his support for film workers in an Instagram story, although he didn’t have to mount his first attempt at the Rogen.

Many other actors have shared similar posts including Ben Stiller, Kerry Washington, Jane Fonda, and more.



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