Production Resources

(Updated 3.26) Resources for Freelancers Affected by COVID-19

By March 18, 2020 March 26th, 2020 No Comments

Below is the original content from March 18th, 2020


Grey House Productions is nothing without our incredible crew, which is why one group of people in particular has been heavy on my heart these past few weeks: freelancers.

It started to weigh on me last week when a shoot in Atlanta was not canceled after the announcement of a national emergency was given. While crew (and myself) were all thankful for the work, there was a palpable discomfort in being together with 110 crew and cast. 

Now, home (and safe) in Chicago, in the last week I’ve received five job cancellations. And I can’t help but think how that affects each of our freelancers. They may not be full-time with Grey House, but they are a dear and special part of the team. And I know this will be felt most by our crew members who depend on photographers, directors and producers to bring work to Chicago.

While I’m well aware that our freelancers aren’t really “ours” — they work with many companies — they are still part of our team, and family. For this reason, I’ve gathered the following resources, as well as a few things we’re doing at Grey House to stay positive.


The Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) has a thorough roundup of Coronavirus-related resources, including a general letter to its members, and a helpful contract amendment doc that can easily be added to any affected client contracts.

Art of Freelance

In addition to a fresh perspective on freelancing in a COVID-19 world, the Art of Freelance has its own curated list of resources for freelancers to help them get through the pandemic.

COVID-19 & Freelance Artists Blog

This community-operated WordPress site is sharing resources on everything from how to handle a job cancellation that isn’t planning to pay you, to legal support and healthcare resources.

How Business Might Change

If you’re curious about how all of this might affect the photo industry, check out this ASMP webinar by Thomas Maddrey, general counsel of the ASMP, on the “Potential Business Ramifications of COVID-19.” Notes to the presentation can be found here. The ASMP also published a few articles this past week about the changing face of the photo industry, including how it has already been affected, and how freelance photographers are dealing.

Illinois Resources

For freelancers (and any other type of worker) based here in Chicago, here is an incredibly well organized document that spells out financial forgiveness plans for rent, bank loans, mobile phone bills, and beyond.

SBA Disaster Loans

Illinois is now listed on the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan site, in case you want to apply. This is a national program for workers/businesses who have or will be affected by loss of revenue due to COVID-19. Any type of business — including sole proprietorships, such as freelancers and independent contractors paid via 1099 or W2 —is eligible for assistance.

Writing Resources

If you need help writing emails to clients about cancellations/postponements/1:1 meetings etc., copywriter Jaq Fisch has free “crisis copy” you can swipe here. She also has free co-writing groups if you want a creative outlet.

Government Relief Petitions 

The only way to get help is to ask. And when it comes to government assistance, we ask by petitioning Congress. If, like me, you believe displaced entertainment workers should be assisted in government relief packages, sign this petition to tell Congress to take action. On a local note, the Illinois Governor’s office has named the state an economic disaster zone. What that disaster actually looks like, and who gets assistance, depends on the greatest needs. This COVID-19 Impact form allows individuals to tell the state about the greatest areas of need.

Staying in Touch

While we can’t meet up in person, we can still use this time to connect. Chrome has created an extension for Netflix Party, which allows multiple people to watch and pause in unison, and chat while streaming Netflix. Zoom has free subscription options, if you want to have virtual work sessions to work on your own craft or develop personal projects.

Studio Space

Once we are clear to be in public again, I’d love to offer our studio as an option for personal projects. So, I hope you’ll get to dreaming and getting creative during this down time. If you’re interested in renting the studio (free of charge) for a personal and/or test shoot, just shoot me an email.

Future Days: Buying It Forward

In the spirit of buying gift cards from restaurants, I am talking with our payroll providers about how we can buy “future days” from crew that we regularly use. If it’s logistically possible, it would allow us to arrange paying now for work to be completed in the future. Once we get a confirmed solution that abides by labor laws, I will share it here. And, while we are waiting to confirm if this is an option, perhaps use this down time to get to work on a personal creative project and apply for Forward Fund, winners get up to $1,200.00 in grant money.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone, and know that we’re thinking of you.

As Grey House Productions is not a health services organization, we encourage you to direct medical and health questions to specific federal and local agencies charged with public health advisories listed below.