COVID-19 SURVEY TO MEMBERS: RESULTS

15th April 2020 by admin

To see the information in chart form, click here.

Q1: What county are you based in?

The highest concentration of respondents were based in Dublin with the next highest being Galway. A number of respondents were non-specific (‘Ireland’) and a few respondents listed other countries.

Q2: In which language do you write?

English 89%;      Irish 2%; Both 9%;        Neither 0%; Other 0%

Q3: How long have you been writing professionally? (ie. whereby most of your income is earned through writing..?)

1 year or less:  14%; 3 years or less:  9%; 5 years or less: 10%;      Ten years or less: 15%;

More than ten years: 36%;        I have been writing professionally during the last ten years but I am not writing professionally at the moment: 16%

Q4: What percentage of your annual income last year was from activities OTHER THAN writing for film/TV, Theatre or radio?

a) 0% – 15%:  30%; b) 16% – 30%:  6%; c) 31% – 45%: 5%;       d) 46% – 60%: 15%;             e) 61% – 75%: 7%; f) 76% – 85%: 8%;   g) 86% – 100%: 29%

Q5) Please give details of your current work situation:

I had a writing contract in place which remains unchanged: 25%;   I had a writing contract in place which has been affected by the Covid 19 crisis:  22%; I didn’t have a writing contract in place: 53%

Q6) The contract you had in place was for:

(The total exceeds 100% as respondents were able to select more than one category).

Film:  23%;     Theatre: 25%;      Radio: 9%; Television: 52%;     Other: 7%

Q7) Please specify the date your contract was changed.

Before 12th March: 2%;   Before 20th March: 43%; Before 27th March: 32%;   Before 3rd April: 23%

Q8) What was conveyed to me on that date was:

Termination of contract: 5%;      Temporary suspension of contract: 70%;     Reduction in volume of work: 9%; Reduction in fee: 0%;      Other: 16%

Q9) If your contract or other work has been cancelled, have you received any communication suggesting they will be resumed at some point in the future?

Yes: 59%;   No: 41%

Q10) In your contract has been cancelled, has a remedy been offered?

Yes: 16%;  No: 84%

Q11) If your contract has been terminated, suspended, cancelled or otherwise amended, how were you informed of this situation?

By phone: 17%;       By email: 83%; By post or courier: 0%

Q12) Have you received any notification that your work will resume?

Yes: 37%;       No: 63%

Q13) How were you informed that your work will resume?

By phone:  20%; By email: 80%;      By post or courier: 0%

Q14) Do you have any works already billed but due to be paid:

Yes, within the ordinary payment schedule: 17%;        Yes, payment is already late (in terms of) the payment schedule: 11%;         Yes, I had just billed those before the emergency was declared: 6%;

No: 66%

Q15) Have you received any information about the delay in any or all of those bills?

Yes: 12%;      No: 88%

Q16) How were you informed of the delay?

By phone: 22%;      By email: 68%; By post or courier: 10%

Q17) When the crisis happened, was your work already in production or pre-production?

Yes: 39%;   No: 61%

Q18) Please specify what kind of work was already in production and the situation you are in currently (e.g. “The script has been delivered for a play which is stalled” or “I was writing an episode but the production has stopped, so we don’t know the new delivery date”)

This question resulted in a wide variety of answers, with the majority indicating interruption to, and uncertainty around, work. The following three sample responses demonstrate this;

(1) A script was in development, but the production date in the summer is in doubt due to the virus.

(2) We were in pre-production on a feature film and the filming will not now go ahead.

(3) Script is due to be workshopped in May with a staging of some scenes at a festival in June. I doubt either will happen.

Q19) According to your payment schedule, when do you foresee your next payment should be made?

within the next few weeks: 30%;     within the next few months: 10%; I don’t know: 60%

Q20) Do you think you may avail of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment from Social Welfare?

Yes I have already applied: 20%;     Yes I will apply: 7%; No I won’t apply: 22%;   I’m not sure: 24%; I’m not eligible: 27%

Q21) How much do you expect your annual income to be impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic in the next 6 months?

a) 10%:  10% b)  Under 50%: 35%     c) Over 50%: 35%   d) Not at all: 20%

Q22) Can you continue to work on development with directors, producers and executives at this time (whether that be work already contracted or speculative work)?

Of the respondents who answered this question, the majority said ‘yes’, while a minority gave responses ranging from ‘no’ to ‘n/a’ to ‘maybe’ or a version of ‘some of my development work may continue’. The three sample answers below are indicative of the responses to this question;

(1) Currently yes. But concerned about it getting into production and hence work continuing as normal.

(2) No, my regular TV work needs to be commissioned. I can of course work on creative writing projects myself with the hope of something being commissioned but there’s no income/pay with that.

(3) I have done some work on story & bible, but there is no money to pay me until new dates are set & contracts are agreed.

Q23) Finally, please let us know of any other concerns you have.

The responses to this question illustrate how much concern members have right now about their work, their income and their future, along with the added concern for their health and that of their families. A few respondents indicated that they weren’t too concerned, however the vast majority expressed a reasonably high degree of concern. These three responses illustrate the kind of responses to this question;

(1) I worry that the economic impact on writers will make it even harder to get by in an industry that is already under-resourced and highly competitive. The funding bodies that I regularly apply to – i.e. Screen Ireland, Arts Council – are likely to take a major hit and there will generally be much less money around. There will also be increased anxiety about travel and about attending plays, etc, so it feels like the volume of productions will drop. I think it will be harder and slower to get projects off the ground, which will also impact on income. But I’m also hopeful. And once we have our health, we’ll figure things out.

(2) I have no concerns professionally, things will start up again when Covid crisis abates. Am used to living on a shoestring so in that sense: Business as usual! Main concern is for the welfare of people and animals throughout this crisis and beyond it. Work and the search for it, can take a back seat until “this too shall pass”.

(3) The comment box is not big enough to do that.

To see the information in chart form, click here.

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