Data-rich resources for sustainable production in the screen industry.
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At Reel Families for Change (RFC), our mission is to advocate for working families in the screen industries. While our focus includes championing family-centered initiatives like onsite childcare and flexible parental leave, our broader goal is to implement universally beneficial work-life integration solutions, such as shorter workdays, portable benefits, and equitable career advancement.
Each year, thousands of individuals are forced from the industry due to discriminatory, reductive, toxic, and diminutive behavior. Having highly qualified leaders versed in areas of (i) equity, belonging, and justice; (ii) client-vendor compliance; and (iii) care systems is tantamount to attracting and retaining innovative and diverse talent.
At RFC, we fervently advocate for the adoption of sustainable production practices. Our initiatives are intentionally crafted to support the most vulnerable industry populations, ultimately fostering universal benefits for all workers and the industry at large.
While results and outcomes will vary, and success will look different for every person, team, and/or project, the resources provided herein have been meticulously curated and data-proven to help craft more equitable, supportive day-to-day care infrastructure for screen industry professionals.
Before commencing the work of designing, building, or expanding a comprehensive care ecosystem, there must exist certain fundamental truths upon which all subsequent elements will be built.
The following are non-negotiable tenets held steadfast by Reel Families for Change.
Given the unique composition, vision, and resources of each production, it is expected that every company, every project, and every team will have different outcomes related to their sustainable production practices, and varying metrics of success.
Despite this variety, however, certain standards and principles remain constant. Central among them are deterrents against harassment, bullying, discrimination, and retaliation. According to our case studies, the most successful care ecosystems implemented policies, procedures, and protocols to safeguard workers from harm.
Preemptive Planning and Preparation
Understanding your team’s needs before a project begins is crucial. Whether through a simple Google form or by tapping into our network for Care and Accessibility Coordination support, the goal is to prioritize care from the project’s outset.
Worker-Centered, Family-Supportive Access Solutions
Beyond legal requirements, productions can proactively support workers with ideal conditions for nursing mothers, eco-friendly materials, and worker-friendly policies like short workdays and flex-time/remote options (when applicable).
Clearly Defined Roles, Responsibilities, and Accountability
The attention given to mitigating risks around equipment and finances should be applied to people, too. Clarity is crucial, ensuring teams know where to seek help, how to file reports, and what to expect, with corrective measures for procedural breakdowns.
Streamlined Reporting and Anti-Retaliation Protocols
A streamlined and confidential reporting system with robust anti-retaliation measures ensures swift and effective responses to incidents. Guaranteeing an unbiased investigation and clear outcomes enhances transparency for both reporters and those implicated.
Leadership Development, Peer Education, and Training
Opportunities for growth, including mental health awareness and conflict resolution, equip teams with essential tools for fostering respect and understanding. Training initiatives are vital for effective conflict resolution and diverse leadership.
Protocols for Restoration, Reconciliation, and/or Reunion
Establishing post-report protocols emphasizes restoring a safe environment, facilitating reconciliation, and ensuring support for returning individuals (known as “reunion”). Versatile and comprehensive, these protocols consider the complexities of invisible threats and emotional residuals.
These days, most people immediately think of the environment when discussing sustainability but that’s not wholly accurate here.
Our definition of sustainable production practice is inspired by the Gallup 5 Survey on workplace wellness, known as “ESG Reporting with Employee Voice in Mind.” which explores environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards. We believe that at the core of sustainable production practices is a generative leadership approach that aims to ensure the optimal, equitable use of resources, the well-being of the people involved, and the careful consumption, conservation, and/or replacement of natural resources.
Sustainable productions have been proven to save time and money because of their intent focus on planning and preparation.
Lack of planning and preparation often leads to impromptu changes, ineffective solutions, and interpersonal conflicts that halt productivity, lead to accidents and injuries, result in considerable overtime fees, and require payout of insurance deductibles, legal fees, and other punitive costs. More often than not the difference between a sustainable set and a volatile one is a matter of reallocating, repurposing, and/or reimagining your use of existing resources.
ESG stands for environmental, social, and governance. These standards were created to help investors consider companies’ non-monetary risks and ethical practices. It was intended to help expand beyond environmentally conscious operations to include people management and the morality of leadership. Over time, ESG has become more widely accepted and internal policies related to ESG reporting have become a norm. Because these standards directly affect their health, wellness, lifestyle, and livelihood, many workers are becoming informed about them and considering potential hirer’s ESG practices in their decision-making.
Although environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards originated beyond the screen industry they are highly applicable to our work. As Reel Families for Change strives to standardize work-life integration as an industry norm, we know this requires exploring successful applications from beyond our sector.
Below is a list of the standards along with examples of how they apply in the screen industry.
Our goal for using specific language is to minimize confusion.
Employees and contingent workers have very different legal rights, as well as on-the-job expectations. By differentiating our language, we hope to be more clear about when we are referring to employees and employees who have specific legal protections and obligations, and when we are referring to contingent workers like contractors, gig workers, and vendors as well as those who hire them.
Client. Assumes total/shared liability for the production. The production project is completed on their behalf. Typically a studio, network, producer, etc.
Hirer. Typically assumes zero risk for the success of overall production. Responsible for recruiting and/or securing a team of skilled professionals, managing the production project’s resources, and/or overseeing the day-to-day operations related to completing production. Usually, managers, department heads, showrunners, etc.
Note: Clients and hirers are not usually the same person/entity but they can be.
This answer varies depending on the size, budget, and timeline of your project. We mandate every client seeking to create on/near set childcare options to seek legal counsel for several reasons:
Generally speaking, it can cost a production anywhere from $5,000 to $500,000 for on-set childcare. There are many pro bono attorneys, referring agencies, and even grantmakers who will help smaller productions to minimize, or even eliminate, the cost of the on-set childcare. In some states, monies spent on childcare are eligible for rebates and deductions, which can be beneficial to larger projects looking to offer childcare solutions to their production teams.
If integrated into your overall production plan, sustainability is quite possible on an independent production with a small budget. Here are some things that may help:
It’s important to note, that sustainable productions that ensure equitable hiring, safety, and eco-friendly practices are often eligible for kickbacks and state, city, or county-level incentives, which ultimately save money.
Take our care equity quiz and discover your strengths and pain points, as an individual or a team.
You’ll also receive a customized roadmap with recommended next steps.
Already have an idea of what’s needed, but aren’t sure how to introduce it to your team? Check out our “care package” guidebook for industry-vetted best practices related to care equity and sustainable production.
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