HEARD: Time to assess and change work conditions
A filmmaker and an actress weigh in on the recent losses suffered by the entertainment industry and how these relate to the long-ignored issue of improving work conditions in show business.
Quark Henares, filmmaker: This might not be a good time to say this, but I’ll say it anyway. I think the reason a lot of TV directors like Wenn Deramas and Gilbert Perez, and now Francis Xavier Pasion are [succumbing to] cardiac arrest is because of the horrible working hours and conditions on television. And it’s not just directors: Stunt men, assistant directors, crew people and cameramen go through similar unhealthy work conditions. This should change. And I don’t know how it will, considering that this entails losses for the networks. But it really is time.
Ces Quesada, actress: Two young, talented and very productive film and TV directors are gone. Both succumbed to heart attack—a disease often associated with the elderly. One of them was in the middle of directing a soap opera. The other one just finished a very successful TV series. It can be argued that their weak hearts could have been caused by other factors. But we all know that work in our industry is so stressful. We have to work long hours, sometimes in extreme weather conditions, sometimes in very remote locations. But these are the least of our production people’s problems. The stress of producing scripts, shot sequences, edited episodes day in and day out—and the daily pressure of staying on top of the ratings game can just be too much for anyone. Maybe it’s time to assess and change our way of working in the industry. Otherwise, we will keep…losing people and will always be saying “sayang” (what a pity) in their wakes. Hopefully, we can start giving our senior industry workers a cutoff, too. As I always say, “Not only the popular ones need sleep.” Bayani San Diego Jr.
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