23 days since I last went to work and 18 days since we isolated ourselves in a small community on the Sunshine Coast on the West Coast of Canada. I work as a film technician in Vancouver (and occasionally other cities in the world) and my wife teaches animation at a local University. Luckily she’s able to continue to teach in a virtual set-up that many teachers and academics have been forced to embrace in this current crisis. Many of them worry teaching on-line may become standard practice as it’s a cheaper option for the universities. Hopefully not - my wife says many of her student’s social anxiety and difficulty in interacting with their peers would be greatly exacerbated by this policy.
Film production is arguably the last art form to be born in the time of capitalism and industrialization - meaning you need equipment and a large workforce to make it happen. Not so good during a pandemic that has closed borders and eviscerated the stock market. The reality is that apart from dwindling personal funds what I’m really missing is working with a group of people anywhere from 40 to 120 in size for a (relatively) short and intense period of problem-solving and creativity. Film production is a very social occupation.
I feel very lucky to be in Canada right now. I’m easily irritated by notions of national pride and expressing your accidental place of birth as some kind of badge of honour - especially as I was born in the U.K. and came to Canada in my late-20’s - but the Canadian government appears to have been very competent during the initial stages of the pandemic. Mind you my arthritic dog looks competent when compared the government in power below the 49th parallel.
PM Justin Trudeau has been calm and measured in his responses expressed in the daily briefings (with correct social distancing from the attendant press); his next challenge is if his team of ministers can pull off the smooth delivery of the promised relief fund.
But my industry is so fundamentally and inextricably tied to the U.S. economy (and to be honest that’s true for much of Canadian business) that until the crisis has passed in the states I’ll be out of work.
So much to be grateful for though: it’s a beautiful part of the world here. And my March film watching total was 35.