Written by: Joseph Strickland
As many of us are at home looking out at the world and wondering what’s going to happen next in our lives; ponder this thought for a moment.
What were we doing before Valentine’s Day in February 2020?
Like many of us, you were probably scheduling time to go to work, juggling responsibilities between work and family or school and countless other activities with friends, vacations, travelling to destinations, events, etc.
But that all came to an abrupt halt this last March 2020.
For a most unwelcome guest had come to visit us by the novelty name of coronavirus.
Also better known as COVID-19.
At first, this seemingly odd intrusion did not appear to be too menacing of a threat when it was mentioned
via media outlets and online news reports.
But soon, day by day as growing concerns began to preoccupy our minds as the enormity of this pandemic began to reach from the other side of the world and cast a dark, foreboding shadow across our country and across the spectrum of our overly distracted minds.
And the world as we knew
it suddenly came to an immediate halt.
And we arrived at a
As a working professional in the film industry, I hadn’t thought much of the impact of this pandemic would have on my livelihood.
I was busy writing a new screenplay and interacting with several film distributors as well as songwriters, music producers and the like when I started to receive emails and phone calls from near and far away ( much to my surprise ), that no one else was able to meet up with other people. Much less schedule a business meeting and exchange ideas.
But with each passing day, many appointments, recording sessions and business meetings were put on indefinite hold as many creative professionals became glued to watching the latest news updates and live televised briefings as everyone else was trying to make sense as to why the world as we knew it had come to a sudden standstill.
And as many businesses (Film and TV Production Companies, Film Festivals, Movie Theatres, Concerts as well as major Sports Stadiums), began to post press releases announcing that all live events would be closed indefinitely, then the brutal reality of what this bizarre circumstance from an unknown virus introducing itself in the 21st century, began to dawn on most of us that this was a major historic moment in our lifetime.
I have since spoken to dozens of actors and actresses, film executives, filmmakers, film festival organizers, songwriters, photographers, promoters and musicians from different countries that collectively our careers were forced to be on hiatus. Indefinitely. With no time frame of returning to work with other artists and craftsmen, life as we knew it became unknowable. And our future an enigma.
Personally, I felt torn from suddenly not having to run at breakneck speed to finish one project and then start another, to now being quarantined to the confines of home for a good portion of time. I began to reach out to friends and colleagues both near and abroad and I found out that they too, men and women felt emotional that their lives were put on hold. And they had no idea of what tomorrow would bring, much less where their next paycheck would come from. It was unthinkable.
Would there even be an industry to return to after all this? With each passing day, many professionals in the entertainment industry felt that as news of escalating deaths around the world as a result of this bizarre pandemic, growing uncertainty began to rear its ugly head as many began filing for unemployment benefits as bank accounts began to dry up. Even those who are members in WGA, DGA PGA and amongst the major talent agencies.