01/07/2018
The Word,

Presidents Report

As 2018 is now halfway into history, I hope that history records that many of you have benefited from the upturn of production activity this year. The latter part of the year will see multiple drama projects in production over the same period. This situation would be far less frustrating, indeed an enviable situation, if there existed a base level of production activity happening consistently.

I’ve had many calls and conversations from/with crew expressing concern and frustration at the number of concurrent productions in the last quarter on the year. I want to assure all that these sentiments have been passed onto Screenwest management and the board.

Results from the PFCWA online survey provided some grim statistics. 80% of respondents did not make a livable wage in the screen sector last year, and 50% did not in the last 5 years. The majority of respondents had to supplement their income working in other industries.

Screenwest management acknowledges that the lack of a consistent sustainable level of drama production activity continues to stifle growth in the local screen industry. The Hames Sharely report of 2014 commissioned by Screenwest stated, “There have been a number of previous studies that have addressed aspects that are further developed in this report. The majority of the infrastructure recommendations in those studies have not been addressed. Whilst the local sector has seen success in the level of production activity during that time it has not come with any greater level of sustainability for the sector”.

A key component of the PFCWA vision is the establishment of suitable film industry infrastructure, which is a critical element for the local industry to grow and attain a consistent sustainable level of activity. Screenwest CEO, Seph McKenna, has asked Chris Veerhuis, Vikki Barr and myself to initiate a Screen Infrastructure Working Group. We’re in the process of scoping various location options and potential state government appetite for screen infrastructure. Stay tuned!

In response to the issue of non-payment of superannuation by some production companies/producers being raised by some members, PFCWA facilitated a “Superannuation Guarantee: An Information Session” at the Fielder Street Creative Hub in April. In front of a decent crowd of freelancers, producers and production accountants, expert guest speakers contributed valuable insight into this complex and often misunderstood topic. Follow this link for the recordings of the speaker’s presentations and the Q & A segment.

Of course, the information was general in nature. For information and advice specific to your own situation, you can contact Moore Stephen (08 9225 5355) &/or Patrick Horneman from Media Super (0408 759 586) &/or your own screen industry specialist accountant.

Last year PFCWA joined with the Australian Screen Sound Guild & Australian Screen Editors to facilitate a workshop on the business of being a Freelancer. Follow this link for reviews from two PFCWA members who attended the event.

The workshop is back, bigger and better and FREE for members! See Wrap article for details.

Membership is currently half price! A membership drive is currently underway with prizes up for grabs. See Wrap article for details. So, if you know crew that are not members and you feel could be, talk with them and encourage joining the PFCWA family. Remember that the association’s ability to have a loud voice at Screenwest and influence policy decisions is directly proportional to the number of professional crew that that are members of the association.

How have you found the new PFCWA website? There’s still work to be done, however, the committee would love to hear your feedback and any positive suggestions towards improving our website’s design and functionality.

In May Screenwest released results of the Emerging Sector Review. Follow this link to have a read.

Most of you would remember the death of Sarah Jones who was the 2AC on the production, ‘Midnight Rider’. Recently I was informed of a documentary, ‘Trial of Midnight Rider: Railroaded in the Deep South‘, which investigated the circumstances surrounding this tragic and unnecessary event. It would seem that details previously circulated were misleading. Follow this link to draw your own conclusions.

By the time you read this, it would most likely be that Vikki Barr is no longer employed at Screenwest. I know all members would like to join me in expressing our gratitude for the hard work Vikki has done in promoting and supporting the local screen industry during her time at the agency. Her support of PFCWA has been greatly appreciated and reflected in being presented with the PFCWA Award for Outstanding Service to the Industry in 2014.

Call or email me (I’m not on Facebook!), or any of your committee folk with information, thoughts, views on issues that have been raised or that you would like raised.

Enjoy, be safe!

John

 

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