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Home / Technology / “We Were Blindsided”: Quibi Show Crewmembers Reckon With Shutdown suddenly

“We Were Blindsided”: Quibi Show Crewmembers Reckon With Shutdown suddenly

When the service is down on December 1, there’s no guarantee that dozens of its programs will find a second life on another platform.

In an interview with CNBC on October 22, a day after it was revealed that 6-month-old mobile entertainment startup Quibi would be shut down, CEO Meg Whitman described the reimbursement of Corporate investors are “an honor to do”. Not mentioned in the appearance was that crew members would lose their jobs during an epidemic due to Quibi stopping production of its original shows.

While many of these have questioned the viability of this business model, Quibi’s October 21 announcement that they will close the store comes as a blow. into the tight job market. Some sources said The Hollywood Reporter that they, like most Quibi employees, are not aware of public news in advance.

“We were blindfolded. We just signed a contract and refused other jobs to continue working for this program, ”said an employee on ATTN: Your daily horoscope, which Quibi renewed for the second season in September. Antonio Monge, an animator on the show, added: “Our executives have been constantly hunting Quibi for more information.”


Quibi’s program staff, all produced by outside production companies or studios, also expressed concern about re-entering the mid-pandemic job market: ” I am currently looking for my next show, but there may be a lot of people looking for their next show, ”said one crew member who was planning to work on season two of The Chrissy Court “and the holidays are, traditionally,” hard times to find work, “he added. (Crew members, like so many people have talked to THR, the fate of the show after Quibi).

“The way I see it is that I’m really lucky to be working on a Quibi show during a pandemic. I’m one of the only people I know working on, ”said an affiliate producer above Sexology With Shan Boodram to speak.

Quibi, which debuted on April 6, is scheduled to release 175 shows in its first year. Although it’s a massive amount of originals for a new service, it’s a key part of Whitman’s and president Jeffrey Katzenberg’s plan to attract subscribers. The service is based on the concept that people will pay for short, less than 10 minutes of detailed, produced content that they can watch on the go.

But since Hollywood hasn’t created short form content for millions of dollars, Quibi must assemble his library from scratch. Many of those shows are in mid-production when the crew knows the platform will be closed. That leaves workers – especially those recruited on current event-driven programs called “Daily Essentials”, who are expected to get a job in the next few months – eagerly.

Like many, Eric Eddings and Brittany Luse, co-organizers Nod, discovered that Quibi was deactivated over the news. By the end of the day, they also learned that production was on Nod finished. It was a sudden ending for a group that had grown to develop intimate filming together through the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests. “Not being able to lift a glass in real life or hug any of them and just socialize with each other to show them that I really appreciate the opportunity to work with them, that’s really tough,” Luse said, adding that the majority of Blacks are currently looking for new jobs. “We don’t know when these incredibly talented Blacks will go to another job; we don’t have to know that about ourselves. “

In most cases, Quibi products are expected to end on October 30th. It will also be the last day for many Quibi employees who will take about four months of retirement, according to a report. source working with the company. Quibi is expected to pay commitments to its manufacturing partners, another source who has worked with the company said. It’s up to the production companies or studios to use teams to offer severance to workers who are currently out of work, if any.

A Quibi spokesperson said in a Quibi statement the screenings and talks were closed. “As a third party licensee, Quibi is giving production companies and studios the flexibility to arrange to pay their crew as they see fit.”

In a statement, WGA East said it had “some Guild members who have worked on the platform’s non-fiction programs and have up to six months of contractual future work, but are receiving rates minimum resignation; We are working to resolve the issue with the manufacturing company. ”

Companies that are assisting their employees through decommissioning include ATTN:, are paying contracts for contractors that are employed in Your daily horoscope and do not fire full-time employees working on the program, said a source close to the company. If the show finds a new home, the original team will be asked to return. “We want to commend our team for their heroic efforts to produce 12 unprecedented animated works every day, amid the global pandemic ” ATTN: vp producer Taye Shuayb said in a statement.

Meanwhile, NBC News – which produces some Daily Essentials for Quibi – is providing benefits to those working on those shows and is working to help them define a new role at the company, according to a sources knowledgeable about the situation.

Bell Media, which used to be Quibi’s exclusive Canadian sports and news program provider, removed some of its contract positions after production of three Daily Essentials shows ended October 30. One statement, the company said, would not be affected by any online talent. Jake Moore, president of Unifor Local 79M, which represents solidarity workers in Quibi programs, said THR that six employees saw their contracts ended due to outages. Employees working in another department at a Canadian media company who have been transferred to Quibi projects “will return to their previous jobs, which may result in a loss of time in freelance work. , ”Added Moore. Freelancers other than unions who used to work for Bell programs were left without jobs.

According to Steven Johnson, the screenwriter for horror film Tye Sheridan, the benefit of running a Quibi show for many local crew members is a good number shot in Los Angeles. Wireless.

Quibi projects also often offer crew members from commercial platforms, music videos, and branded content a TV and feature experience: “Because it’s short and because of the budget. Low enough, it is not a strict rule that you only find Johnson to say. An employee in an unassigned program produced by B17 Entertainment said the project offers flexibility with mid-pandemic remote work in an industry that “if you are not willing to work in the field, you will be limited in what you can do and where you can work. “

The good news for the shutdown could be that Quibi’s shows may find their way to other platforms where they can attract a larger audience than on mobile, which should be. struggled to attract subscribers. But while Whitman and Katzenberg are trying to sell the service library, there is no guarantee that projects will have a second generation. As an employee on a Quibi show talks about the end of the platform and the next job scramble: “We all know this is coming. We just didn’t know it came that fast. ”

Etane Vlessing contributed to the report.

A version of this story appeared in the November 2nd issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Click here to subscribe.

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