Film culture must change – The Courier

John Rangel, producer, director and film teacher at COD talks about issues related to film culture.

“We can’t be great at our jobs if we’re exhausted. If we collapse mentally or emotionally, if we collapse physically, we just can’t, ”said John Rangel, professor of Motion Picture Television at the College of DuPage.

On October 21, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot dead by Alec Baldwin on the set of the upcoming film Rust, just five days after the International Alliance of Theater Employees (IATSE) announced a deal for their new contract. In the new contract, higher wages, safer working conditions and humane hours were agreed upon. Despite this, many in the industry, including Rangel, believe that unsafe working conditions are still a problem and that film culture needs to change.

“Immediately there was a strong reaction from the people of IATSE because the way the voting went, 50.4% of the union members voted ‘No’ and 49.6% voted ‘Yes . “How less than 50% of them say” yes “and still agree”

What is the problem that is not being addressed?

“There were these big threads and Twitter posts where the script supervisors, handles, etc. were basically saying that people think it’s so cool that I work on movies, and I work 14 hours a day, then I have to drive an hour round trip and only do the minimum wage. It’s not sexy work. It’s exhausting, and it turns into stress and psychic depression, “Rangel explained,” The culture is the same. Nothing has changed because the culture of film production is based on exploitation. “

Rangel, who also works as a director and producer, says that despite the rush of fun and exciting cinema, it can still be overwhelming and the film culture has to change and that change has to come from the makers.

How can such fun work become so overwhelming?

“From my perspective, when I’m directing, I can go there all day, but that’s because I’m so emotionally invested in the movie,” Rangel said. “A grip on my set isn’t vested like I am, and they shouldn’t be. So I should never expect the same fervor, ”he said,“ I’ve had shoots where I shoot in a city and drive 40 minutes to get home, then 40 minutes to come back. , and in between there is a 12-hour day. It’s a 14 hour day. For these other 10 hours, there is no life in progress.

How to change film culture?

“One of the things I do is tell the students who want to be screenwriters, directors, or producers, your job is to create the smart set, your job is to create the set that runs 8 hours a day.”

How is culture already changing?

“A few independent films last year, when they budgeted, they had a mental health budget line so that anyone who was on the cast or on the film crew had access to therapists.”

As a producer and director, what changes have you made for better safety on set?

“In film school, you are taught if you finish early, don’t finish early, prepare for the next day. So one thing that I try to do is if we finish early, just finish early and let people go home, another thing is try to make sure that we give people breaks that are not. reserved for meals and the tension drops, because even though it’s so damn cool, it still works no matter what and so from now on, I’ll never do a 12 hour day again.

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