Updated 1 September 2020 with added venues and new print-outs for home display.
I know I don’t have to tell you the entertainment industry as a whole has been shut down for months and it’s anybody’s guess when we might be back to work again. I’m equally certain some if not all of you are feeling a bit helpless in the face of uncertainty, unsure what or if there is anything you can do. We aren’t used to sitting around doing nothing, we’re used to jumping in and making things happen, often under less than ideal circumstances.
I feel safe in saying right now we are facing the ultimate in “less than ideal circumstances”. But there is something you can do to be part of a global effort and call attention to our plight. You know how we’ve always said if they see us doing our jobs, we’re not doing our jobs right? Now we need them to see us. We need to call attention to ourselves. We need support from the public, from politicians, from each other… we need to be heard.
Above you’ll find a lot of information and I won’t repeat it here, but I will highlight a few things. The Live Events industry is estimated to bring in $1 trillion to the United States annually. Since COVID-19 hit, approximately 12 million people are out of work. 77% of our industry has lost 100% of its work, and that number jumps to 97% when you look at independent contractors. Those are the big numbers. This is the impact that is felt globally. Closer to home, we have only been able to offer minimal, sporadic work to a handful of the 400 or so people on our work referral list since mid-March. We need help!
On September 1st, We Make Events North America, partnered with ExtendPUA.org and the Live Events Coalition as well as unions such as IATSE, trade associations including ESTA and IAVM, and other entertainment industry groups has organized #RedAlertRESTART. It’s a global day of action, wherein venues, houses, union offices, whoever wants to participate will light their facades, lobbies, living rooms, front porches, etc. red in solidarity and to show the world how far-reaching the effects are on the Entertainment Industry as a whole. The event starts at 9:00 PM and ends at midnight (local time). The event page can be found here if you want to let everyone know you’re participating, but you’re certainly not obliged to do so. Participation is not mandatory, but the more red there is across the country (and the world!) the more the general public will get the idea of how far-reaching the problem is.
Above is a list of the venues in the Grand Rapids area who are participating. There may be more than that, and we will recognize them as they join. We also have a few folks willing to light their homes up. If you aren’t comfortable lighting your house (or simply cannot), please consider volunteering to help put the lights up at one of the venues listed (contact Stan Sacha at 616-432-0719 or email@example.com to coordinate times and locations). We are also in need of people willing to stay with the gear at each venue until the event is over to ensure nothing happens to it, and also to answer any questions passers-by might have. Additionally, we will have a video crew going to the various venues to interview folks about what this means to them and why we are doing it, so be aware you could end up on YouTube.
The IATSE has put together a list of legislative priorities ensure workers are put first when COVID-19 relief bills are proposed. To read them and also find a form so you can send a letter to let your representatives know what we need, please visit iatse.co/redalert.
Lighting things up red isn’t possible without lights, and John S. Hyatt and Associates deserves huge recognition for their support and going the extra mile. They are providing the lights for some of the venues, and have said if anyone wants to participate at their homes they will loan a light with red gel free of charge for the night. All you need to do is contact them at 616-451-9245 and let them know who you are and that you need one and they’ll get you set up. I’d also like to point out that JSHAA is Local 26’s “Grand Rapids Shop No. 1”, and was founded by long-time and dearly missed member John Hyatt. It is currently run by Mary Gamble Hyatt, and our 2nd Vice-President (Glenn Gould) and one of our Trustees (Jessi Nix) are currently employees. The company’s willingness to loan equipment free of charge shows exactly the solidarity, support, and family unions stand for, and we applaud and thank them profusely. Gobos were donated by Glenn and Jessi Gould.
The two links above are PDFs you can print for yourself, one in colour and one black and white, to either add to your red light at home or simply place in your windows if the light is not an option to show your support. Since I live in an apartment building and also will be at the IA26 office that night, I’m printing one for each of my windows that face the street. I’m hoping my neighbours will ask what it’s about. You don’t have to wait for Tuesday to put up the signs, either! Get them wondering about it early… you might find some support and maybe even a new friend.
If you would like to share on your own Instagram feed, use the image above (click for full size before saving). Jess Westra has already sized it correctly for posting. Below you’ll find an image, again correctly sized by Jess, for you to use in your own Twitter feed. If you share the event on any social media, we have been asked to use the hashtags #WeMakeEvents and #RedAlertRESTART.
For more information on the Day of Action, please visit We Make Events.
One last thing… there was discussion about finding or making a frame for Facebook profile pictures for the event. I have not seen one (although that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist), but We Make Events has a widget on their website to tint your profile picture red. Or, if you’d rather, I found a photo that when shrunk down as small as possible (size adjustment is under the photo when you upload it) makes a perfect Facebook profile picture as well as one that works perfectly for a cover photo. You’ll find both of those below (again, click for full size before downloading).
We’re all in this together, so let’s make a statement together and support one another. Not only should this get the attention of the general public, but the politicians can’t fail to notice as well. Hopefully it will help us in our efforts to return to work safely, securely, and within a reasonable time frame.
I’ll close with the refrain: Be safe. Be well. STAY HOME OR MASK UP. And as always… WASH YOUR HANDS!