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Stay Indoors Information: Reviewing Relief Options for Media Professionals

Let’s discuss eligibility and benefits (and we’ve also compiled a number of other resources)

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Still by cinematographer James Laxton (click image to visit the Keep Going site)

Read more: SMPTE Enhances Online Support for Industry Professionals

SMPTE (the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) has announced a range of new measures that will provide additional remote support for its members while they continue to work from home during the various regional lockdowns in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The professional development and technical support being announced includes a 50 per cent discount on virtual SMPTE courses, free access to technology webcasts and standards content, while the society assures that it is continuing to work with local SMPTE Sections to deliver streamed meetings. To read more, click here.

Read more: American Society of Cinematographers Forms COVID-19 Committee

Read more: Freelance Filmmakers, Media Groups Lobby for Federal Aid Reserved for Small Businesses

The CARES Act, the $2 trillion stimulus package that the government approved last month, offers a number of ways for both companies and freelancers/independent contractors to receive aid during this period.

HPA Net recently conducted a webcast that provided a number of helpful insights to media professionals on how to take advantage of the new economic relief packages that the government is offering as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

HPA NET organized a panel with Ernst & Young’s Global Media Sector Leader John Harrison, EY’s Global Compliance & Reporting—Taxes partner Debbie Kim and EY Global Treasury Services principal Casey Kernan, as well as Sohonet CEP and HPA Vice President Chuck Parker and Panavision CFO and HPA Treasurer Bill Roberts, to discuss the application process and benefits of these relief efforts.

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) has introduced a series of virtual programs to provide the production and postproduction industry with critical technical knowledge and offer opportunities to build community both during and beyond the COVID crisis. The slate of content is free with registration for the foreseeable future.

The content, created and moderated by industry leading volunteers along with HPA staff and leadership, begins with a focus on the key skills and technology necessary for remote workflow and will continue to center on topics of critical interest to the industry. For more information, click here.

Specifically, the webcast goes into detail about the Paycheck Protection Program—which is designed to keep workers paid during this time, according to Kernan—specifically who is eligible, what funds are and are not forgivable. A key point that Kernan makes is that the funds are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Kim, meanwhile, detailed how taxes are handled with these relief funds. Some tax credits are conditioned on a company or work having their work suspended or halted during this time. However, according to Kim, this can include working from home (i.e. productions that have been broadcasting from home).

In addition to the government relief options, HPA’s webinar also shared information about industry relief funds that have been made available, including from companies like Netflix and Sony.

The big message from the group during the webinar was to be persistent with the process. “It can be frustrating,” said Parker. “I would encourage you to keep trying. As long as you use the money, it’s a gift.”

You can watch the complete presentation online and download the presentation slides here.

Read more: The HPA’s Guide to COVID-19 Resources

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