With the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic shutdown probably extending now into April, requests for assistance from the Actors Fund have skyrocketed. The WGA West has set out to help those who bring their screenplays and teleplays to life.
According to Deadline, who first reported the story, the Actors Fund typically processes an average of 60 grants per week. In the last two weeks it has increased to 150 grants per day. To help fill the need, the guild contributed $590,000 to the Fund last week from levies it collects from foreign countries to compensate rights holders for the copying, rental and retransmission of their films and television programs.
Guild president David A. Goodman, vice president Marjorie David and secretary-treasurer Michele Mulroney said in their joint statement:
“The COVID-19 crisis has created unprecedented demand for all forms of assistance from the Actors Fund. As productions have stopped and offices emptied, many in our industry find themselves suddenly without income, unable to pay utility bills or other essential expenses.
“For 130 years,” they said, “the Actors Fund has been a stalwart of the arts and entertainment community, providing financial assistance and social services to creative professionals in need. Writers have been among the many who have benefitted from their programs…The need is urgent. Your donation will support the important emergency assistance fund and other important services. So if you are able, please donate to the Actors Fund today. If you are currently in need of help paying for basic living expenses, you may be eligible for assistance through The Actors Fund Emergency Assistance Fund.”
The guild has contributed more than $5.9 million in foreign levies monies to the Actors Fund during the past 12 years. Since the foreign levies program’s inception in 1992, the guild has distributed nearly $250 million to writers.