Who would have thought in our lifetime we would live through a pandemic?
2020 started off well for me. Plenty of work and then came the week of the 16th March and everything changed. My parents had to self-isolate. Schools were to close. My teaching was cancelled that week so students could travel home. My children’s education at school/university went online and there were to be no exams. My daughter needed to leave her Uni accommodation immediately as we were going into lockdown. My gym membership was frozen. My friends and family stayed in touch by weekly Zoom/Houseparty meetings. I would facetime/call instead of WhatsApp to have human contact.
There was no work and initially this wasn’t a bad thing. Time to catch up with life and our busy working schedules. You didn’t have any work and couldn’t find any, so we all had to stop. I realised I needed to help and do something. I decided to support my fellow make-up industry colleagues become aware that PAM was still open online to support the shop. I decided an Instagram 3 day workshop on how to apply a bald cap would be a good idea. I also continued to teach online at Delamar. To stay in touch with the industry was important and BACTU became a source of communication for me. I also became included in BECTU workshops for BAME mentoring.
I knew people who were going back to work in very odd ways. None of them were the same, some were from 2 metres away supervising or some were teaching the actors by Zoom. A few were making up actors for less than 15 mins. I wanted to be a part of this in any way. I felt left out. Would I ever work again? Would I die of COVID? Then my friend called me and said she had a Theatre Commercial and would I do it with her. I was so excited and frightened at the same time. Just one day would be enough to see what this strange new world would bring. Five months with no work and I was ready. We put wigs, beards on and applied wounds on our actors and it was the same as before COVID. I could see the lace through all the PPE/Visors although you had to dodge the reflections. The communication was limited and muffled and a lot less which is still the case. I obviously didn’t catch COVID or die.
After this my own job took over, I began prepping Worzel Gummidge with full prosthetics and full PPE including protective suits (at KM Effects) keeping everyone barriered from each other and safe. It was good to be among friends and I class Kristyan as one. We stood strong together to move forward to get back to work and beat the pandemic that had devastated our industry. I decided I would start posting my first 10 days of filming as an Instagram blog for all those who felt as I did. Anyone who felt left out could stand with me and be included in my first days going back to work during Covid. I’ve been busy since and now I’m a year on.
Life in our industry isn’t back to normal as the world is still living with the pandemic. Most of my fellow work colleagues and actors are working and double jabbed and the Government is looking at easing back to a more normal life. I’m hoping and praying we see the future is bright for all of us including Theatres.
I feel lucky to have had a great career in the Film & TV Industry as I’m nearing the end or at least slowing down. I look back to myself when I was 24 years old, just starting my career, and my advice would be this:
Don’t stay in one job too long as you should always strive to move forward, I still learn something new most days, so my journey continues. Enjoy your job and your surrounding colleagues, you spend more time with them than your partner. I have some great friends within the industry and a fantastic support network. Unfortunately, I’ve been bullied and picked on and, on every occasion, I’ve removed myself from the job or situation and survived the gossip and felt stronger for taking control. I would not change a single thing in my career apart from this pandemic, but we will survive.
Believe in yourself.
@vixvoller @PAM @katebenton.mua @kmfxltd @jonmoorefx @daniduffymakeup @sophieflynnfx