Video production is a big part of a successful social marketing campaign. As such, often the nimble and creative services of small local production houses are used. This is why I was a bit concerned as I listened to my usual morning show on the radio during breakfast today.
A story surfaced on CBC this morning about how the large international motion pictures production union, IATSE, is targeting through the courts a small local creative video production house, Egg Films into being a union shop. This means more people (and according to Egg) at a lower pay scale than they pay, but with more people on a shoot, then the costs go up. Clients such as agencies and corporate clients may find themselves with increased costs. This could extend to other shops in Halifax such as Arcadia Entertainment and RPM. Could it extend to any shop – even a one person videographer with an incorporation that would now have to hire a sound person as well? This is an important story that could affect quite a few jobs and seriously impact small video production shops not only in Halifax, but across Canada, and if precedence rules, across the States as well.
In my opinion, it is the toehold and the aim of IATSE for more money to see how to financially get more revenue due to the explosion of non union – or excuse me – smaller creative production work. Thing is, targeting these shops in the States has not worked, so they need to look elsewhere to gain that precedence. Which is why we are seeing this here rather than in NY or LA. Why else would IATSE care about a nimble creative production house in such a comparatively small market? It is something I am certainly concerned about. It can affect more than the production shops – right down to how and what is shot and for whom, if at all if the costs spiral. Then where are we?
I touched base with owner John Wesley Chisholm from another production house, Arcadia Entertainment for more on this. John Welsey had this to say.
Being a small business owner is hard. The idea is that if you take on risk and responsibility you are rewarded with higher returns than you would get if you just took a government job with pension and all.
But there is something wrong with the market and it’s not working. People who take on risk and responsibility and create jobs are rewarded not with better returns than a bureaucratic job but less; they are taxed at nearly twice the rate of other people and they are left without protection from anyone – in this case big American unions coming to our town and taking fees for what amounts to an old fashioned protection racket.
Personally, I will not be part of it. I can do other businesses. If they come around and start to bully and strong are me I’ll just close down the business, lay off all the staff, go home and work by myself.” – John Wesley Chisholm