Can Hollywood Freelancers Survive the Coronavirus Shutdowns?

“I’m OK for the next three to four months, but if it gets to the point after that, then I will start really getting worried if nothing comes up,” cinematographer Ed Wu says

Cinematographer Ed Wu was working on an independent film when he canceled plans for a shoot in Japan because of the growing threat of coronavirus. Now, Wu is contemplating weeks or months with no work, just one of Hollywood’s many below-the-line professionals working in a gig economy that is quickly disappearing.

Wu, who has shot indie films like “Sleight” and this year’s Sundance drama “Blast Beat,” already has had $10,000 worth of work canceled, and he’s still waiting to hear word on a pair of projects meant to kick off in May and June. Even the short-term commercial or branded content work he takes on in between features is uncertain, as many businesses have ground to a halt in response to the pandemic. 

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Brian Welk

Brian Welk

Film Reporter • brian.welk@thewrap.com • Twitter: @brianwelk

Tim Baysinger

Tim Baysinger

TV Reporter • tim.baysinger@thewrap.com • Twitter: @tim_bays