Monotony and misery: Hollywood is more essential than you think

Jennifer+Lawrence+safely+shooting+for+the+new+Netflix+Film+%22Don%27t+Look+Up%22+

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Jennifer Lawrence safely shooting for the new Netflix Film “Don’t Look Up”

Upaasna Yadav, Opinions Writer

Over the last year, Hollywood fans all over the world have been forced to cope with immense boredom due to COVID-19 filming delays. As the pandemic reaches its first birthday, all industries, including entertainment, have been forced to develop creative methods to continue operations. However, with restarting the entertainment industry, high costs, increased virus exposure and other major problems have caused many to question the necessity of studio filming at this time.

At the start of quarantine in March, many found the period semi-enjoyable. A break from hectic schedules and a time for self-reflection, there was little need for new content. Though, as the multi-week break extended itself by months, staving off the monotony became an impossible task. Though many attempted to revisit old classics and rewatch their favorite shows, after a period this failed to satisfy viewers. People are so starved for fresh content that they flock to poorly-made films such as Wonder Woman 1984 and Mulan, proving that the entertainment industry is essential.

Beyond the satisfaction of consumers, Hollywood plays a vital role in the livelihoods of thousands of production workers. Similar to many other middle-class Americans, they have found themselves out of jobs for months since the start of COVID-19. According to the Guardian, over the past year workers have been scrambling to pay mortgages and barely been able to provide for their families. And as a typical theme of quarantine, they have experienced a blow to their mental health with their loss of purpose in life.

With even high-up directors questioning the possibility of finding work again, the outlook for the laborers of the industry has been bleak. Junior Chloe Gonzalez said, “this is such a big industry to shut down completely.” As more entertainment projects begin to resume, some of these financially insecure individuals can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Large production companies are also beginning to witness unprecedented massive increases in their revenue after financial stagnation. This return must not be stopped or slowed so that these companies can continue their operations and provide income and assurance to the thousands that rely on them. 

Despite the positive financial and mental effects reopening has, there are still threats to physical well-being that must be considered. The production of movies and television shows must be conducted in a manner that is safe for all set workers. Junior Chloe Dondon said, “one way to control the spread of the virus would be to film in a state or country with a lesser number of COVID cases.” Sets also have COVID-19 restrictions on the concentration of people in an area at a time and created grouped worker zones to reduce the chances of a hotspot. It is essential to create a “bio-bubble” to limit exposure to the outside world and protect the crew and cast.

With the new Biden-Harris administration, COVID-19 vaccine production and distribution has skyrocketed. As most high-risk and high-exposure individuals are being inoculated, vaccines can now be directed towards those in the entertainment industry. This effort would allow production workers to safely receive their much-needed income and supply a stir-crazy population the content they crave.

Many may consider a blow to the entertainment industry simply a few less million dollars for the ultra-rich of Hollywood. Though COVID-19 has left thousands of workers in deep water both financially and mentally, the effects of content stagnation are less evident: boredom has left viewers empty and miserable. Kickstarting the entertainment industry has given people a new purpose after many bleak months and provides them with the financial stability they desperately need. Restarting production safely is vital in allowing the entertainment industry to bounce back and provide those at home a vital supply of happiness.