Introduction / Press Release
There has been a growing level of uneasiness smouldering away in the background of UK TV production for over a decade, as issues surrounding pay inequality, working conditions, departmental welfare, skills shortages and increasing workloads have failed to be given due attention by broadcasters, production companies and industry bodies alike.
The flames of this discontent were in full force during the Covid-19 pandemic, when our industry came to a grinding halt and exposed the issues that we were all facing in the workplace. Since then, many of the issues have been discussed more openly than ever before, but little to no progress has been made in implementing notable change for Production Management.
Last year that fire was stoked further after a misguided and exclusionary advertising campaign launched by the British Academy for Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) titled “Behind Every BAFTA“, which generated a renewed swell of anger as one of the very institutions whose remit involves promoting our industry to future talent, deemed Production Management unworthy of inclusion in the ad.
Alongside the reaction to the BAFTA ad, there was also a common consensus that commissioned research to date, and the focus of existing industry bodies, was heavily directed towards serving editorial needs. Taking these factors in to consideration, a group of freelancers from the Unscripted genre setup the Instagram account Production is Broken as a response to the lack of progress and ongoing frustrations felt across the department in the industry.
Having picked up on the strong level of feeling at that time and with users expressing their will to quit the industry unless something changes, Production is Broken launched a survey in September 2022, as an attempt to take the temperature of Production Management colleagues who were becoming desperate for action to be taken.
With 938 Production Management staff and freelancers responses submitted, from Managing Directors through to Production Secretaries, recalling their experiences over the course of their careers which include frustrating recollections of broadcasters cutting Production Management resources to heartbreaking tales of burnout and damaging consequences to mental health.
The group has since worked with other colleagues and stakeholders in the industry to form “Production is Broken: The Report“, providing an insight in to what has been identified as the key issues experienced by Production Management and proposed ‘fixes’ for future consideration.
The report goes on to look at what can be done to address pay parity with editorial colleagues, what initiatives the industry can offer to help Production Management welfare, how industry bodies such as BAFTA, The Royal Television Society and Edinburgh Television Festival can improve exposure of the department to new talent. It also raises questions about whether budgets are considering accurately the increases to workload caused by additional protocols and procedures introduced in recent years.
Following the publication of the report, Production is Broken will be reaching out to all major broadcasters; production companies; industry bodies and trade press for their response to the findings and to provide Production Management colleagues with an awareness of how the industry perceives any change will arise.
Responses will be shared on the Production is Broken Instagram account and website.