Transcript: Coronavirus and the Arts Community | Mar 26, 2020

Steve sits in a room with white walls, a low slanted ceiling and several framed pictures on the walls including one of George Drew and one of Walter Kronkite. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue shirt and a striped blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Coronavirus and the arts community."

Steve says THE FULL ECONOMIC IMPACT OF COVID-19 HAS YET TO BE KNOWN, OF COURSE, BUT FOR SOME PEOPLE, THE HIT WAS ALMOST IMMEDIATE. PERFORMERS WHO NEED AUDIENCES IN THEIR SEATS EACH AND EVERY NIGHT WERE JUST SOME OF THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVELIHOODS AS SOON AS THE PROVINCE BEGAN SHUTTING THINGS DOWN. WHAT IS IT LIKE WHEN A SHOW JUST CAN'T GO ON? LET'S FIND OUT. IN NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE VIA FACETIME, WE WELCOME: TORQUIL CAMPBELL, SINGER-SONGWRITER WITH THE BAND STARS...

Torquil is in his forties, clean-shaven, with short brown hair. He's wearing glasses and a white T-shirt.

Steve continues AND IN TORONTO, VIA SKYPE FROM THEIR RESPECTIVE LOCATIONS: QUINN C. MARTIN, A STAND-UP COMEDIAN...

Quinn is in his thirties, with short-cropped black hair and a stubble. He's wearing a blue plaid shirt and a white undershirt.

Steve continues AND ACTRESS SAMORA SMALLWOOD, WHO IS ALSO CO-CHAIR OF ACTRA's DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION COMMITTEE...

Samora is in her thirties, with long curly black hair. She's wearing a red dress and a thin pendant necklace.

Steve continues WE'RE DELIGHTED TO WELCOME YOU ALL TO OUR LITTLE MAKESHIFT SITUATION HERE ON TVO TONIGHT TO TALK ABOUT TROUBLE FOR THE NIGHTTIME ECONOMY. TORQUIL, LET ME START WITH YOU. WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THAT THIS PANDEMIC WAS GOING TO BE ESSENTIALLY A CATASTROPHE FOR YOUR MUSICAL CAREER?

The caption changes to "Torquil Campbell. Singer/Songwriter, Stars."

Torquil says I HAD A SENSE PRETTY EARLY ON, ABOUT MARCH 7TH OR 8TH, I WAS READING THE NEWS A LOT AND I STARTED TO THINK ABOUT WHAT WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN AND THEN COACHELLA GOT CANCELLED AND SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST GOT CANCELLED, AND IT WAS CLEAR THAT IF THOSE THINGS GOT CANCELLED, EVERYTHING WOULD GET CANCELLED. I FLEW TO NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE AND I GOT HERE ON THE 11TH AND BY THE EVENING OF THE 12TH, MY SISTER, WHO IS A STAGE MANAGER, HAD LOST HER JOB. MY BROTHER, WHO IS AN ACTOR, HAD LOST HIS JOB. MY WIFE HAD BEEN TOLD THAT BY APRIL 6TH SHE WOULD PROBABLY LOSE HER JOB. AND THEN AFTER THE NEXT 48 HOURS, LITERALLY EVERYBODY I KNOW, EVERY SINGLE PERSON I KNOW, LOST THEIR JOB. THERE'S NOT A SINGLE PERFORMING ARTIST WORKING IN THIS COUNTRY RIGHT NOW.

Steve says MY GOODNESS. QUINN, AS A STANDUP COMEDIAN, HOW MUCH OF YOUR LIVELIHOOD DEPENDS ON PERFORMING IN FRONT OF LIVE AUDIENCES?

The caption changes to "Quinn C. Martin. Comedian."

Quinn says ACTUALLY, A GOOD 50 PERCENT. I DO OWN SOME SMALL BUSINESSES, BUT OUTSIDE OF THAT, THE BREAD AND BUTTER IS STANDUP COMEDY. MUCH LIKE TORQUIL, IT IS THE SAME THING. I WAS SUPPOSED TO DO A FESTIVAL IN WASHINGTON, D.C. AND MORE AND MORE SHOWS GOT CANCELLED AS WELL AS VENUES CLOSING UP. SO, YEAH, IT'S IMPACTED THE WALLET A LITTLE BIT, BUT THERE ARE OTHER COMEDIANS THAT ARE STRUGGLING FAR WORST THAN I AM.

Steve says SOUNDS LIKE IT'S IMPACTED MORE THAN JUST A LITTLE BIT. IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU'VE LOST AT LEAST HALF OF YOUR INCOME RIGHT NOW; FAIR TO SAY?

Quinn says YEAH, A FAIR AMOUNT OF MY INCOME, YEAH. I'M NOT REALLY WORRIED ABOUT IT. BUT, DEFINITELY, SOME OF MY INCOME HAS BEEN CUT OFF.

Steve says SAMORA, WHAT WERE YOU WORKING ON BEFORE COVID-19 HIT?

The caption changes to "Samora Smallwood. Actor."

Samora says I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HOSTING THIS SHOW AND HAVING ME. RIGHT BEFORE WE HAD COVID-19, I WAS WORKING. BACK-TO-BACK I DID A COUPLE OF MOVIES IN NOVEMBER AND ONE IN FEBRUARY. SO THAT WAS NICE. BUT A PRODUCTION THAT I WOULD BE WORKING THIS WEEK ON AND THAT'S A FILM BUT IT HAS BEEN POSTPONED. SO THE TV SHOWS ARE ALL ON HIATUS AND FILMS HAVE BEEN POSTPONED. SO FOR ME, AS AN ACTRA MEMBER AND AN ACTOR, OUR INDUSTRY IS RESILIENT AND IT'S GROWN A LOT HERE IN TORONTO AND THERE'S BEEN SO MUCH WORK ON EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THE INDUSTRY TO GROW IT, SO NOTHING HAS BEEN CANCELLED. WE AREN'T HEARING THAT WORD. IT'S BEEN POSTPONED OR ON HIATUS, BUT IT CERTAINLY IS REALLY CRAPPY BECAUSE EVERYONE THAT YOU KNOW WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO WORK ON A SHOW IS WORKING ON A SHOW, SUPPOSED TO GO TO SET... NO ONE IS WORKING. AND WHEN YOU'RE NOT WORKING, YOU'RE NOT MAKING MONEY, AND THAT'S NOT JUST THE ACTORS, IT'S ALSO THE CREW WHO RELY ON THE GIGS BACK TO BACK TO BE ABLE TO SUSTAIN THEIR LIFE. SO IT'S TOUGH.

Steve says BUT YOUR HOPE AND EXPECTATION IS THAT AS SOON AS ALL OF THIS ENDS, YOU GUYS WILL PICK UP SOME MORE RIGHT FROM WHERE YOU LEFT OFF AND START SHOOTING AGAIN?

Samora says YES. SO WHEN THE NEWS HAD STARTED TO TRICKLE OUT, WE WERE ALREADY DOING OUR HAIR AND MAKEUP AND COSTUME TESTS. WE WERE IN THE THICK OF THINGS. AND, AGAIN, WE JUST CELEBRATED THE BIGGEST YEAR WE'VE EVER HAD FOR FILM AND TV IN TORONTO, 2.6 BILLION DOLLARS OF PRODUCTION WAS HERE LAST YEAR. SO IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO DESTROY THAT INDUSTRY. I CAN'T SAY THAT WITHOUT TELLING YOU HOW CONCERNED I AM ABOUT HOW PEOPLE WILL SURVIVE IN THE INTERIM AND THE LOSS OF MOMENTUM AND THE LOSS OF MORALE THAT WE'RE SEEING, EXCEPT IN PRODUCTION, BUT THE UPSIDE TO THAT NUMBER, THE 2.6 BILLION DOLLARS, WE'RE VERY UNIQUE BECAUSE HALF OF THAT IS CANADIAN PRODUCTION. SO WHEN ALL OF THIS CLEARS AND WE GET THE GO-AHEAD THAT IT'S SAFE TO GO BACK TO WORK, YES, I HAVE A LOT OF FAITH THAT PEOPLE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK AND EVERYTHING IS IN PLACE FOR US TO GET BACK TO WORK RIGHT AWAY.

Steve says QUINN, WE KNOW THAT THERE HAVE BEEN SEVERAL BUSINESSES THAT REALLY HAVE NOT WANTED TO SHUT DOWN DESPITE BEING URGED TO DO SO, AND I WONDER WHETHER ANY OF THE VENUES THAT YOU WERE SCHEDULED TO APPEAR AT OR THAT YOU TRADITIONALLY APPEAR AT, WHETHER ANY OF THEM REALLY DIDN'T WANT TO CLOSE THE DOORS AND WANTED TO KEEP GOING?

Quinn says NO, FOR THE MOST PART, EVERYONE DID WANT TO CLOSE THE DOORS. ONCE THE NEWS STARTED TO SHOW THAT IT WAS SPREADING SO EASILY AND, YOU KNOW, UNLESS YOU WERE SOCIAL DISTANCING, YOU WERE GOING TO INCREASE THE CHANCE OF CONTRACTING COVID-19. FOR THE MOST PART, EVERYONE WANTED TO CLOSE DOWN, YEAH. I THINK FIRST THEY WANTED TO SEE SORT OF... PLAY IT BY EAR, SEE WHAT WAS HAPPENING, BUT THE NUMBERS STARTED GROWING SO FAST SO MOST WERE JUMPING IN AT CLOSING DOWN AND POSTPONING SHOWS AS WELL AS CANCELLING SOME, YEAH.

Steve says TORQUIL, I SHOULD ASK YOU AS WELL. WHEN TIMES ARE TOUGH WE TRADITIONALLY RELY ON... YOU KNOW, WE RELY ON ARTISTS AND COMEDIANS AND MUSICIANS TO KEEP OUR SPIRITS UP AT TOUGH TIMES. SO WAS THERE A TEMPTATION TO KEEP GOING?

Torquil says WELL, NO, I DON'T THINK THERE WAS A TEMPTATION TO KEEP GOING BECAUSE I THINK IT HAD BECOME VERY CLEAR VERY QUICKLY THAT IT IS AN EQUALIZING EVENT THAT EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN SOCIETY HAS A STAKE IN DEALING WITH THIS AND EVERY SINGLE PERSON HAS A RESPONSIBILITY IN DOING WHAT THEY CAN, AND I THINK THAT ARTISTS TEND TO BE VERY EMPATHETIC PEOPLE AND PEOPLE WITH GREAT IMAGINATIONS AND A GREAT SENSE OF HOW THEIR ACTIONS INFLUENCE OTHERS. SO I THINK ARTISTS, WE'RE VERY EASY TO CONVINCE TO GET ON BOARD IN THIS EFFORT. TO WHAT SAMORA SAID, I THINK IT'S INCREDIBLY ENCOURAGING THAT TV AND FILM ARE IN THAT POSITION TO RESUME AS SOON AS THIS THING IS OVER. I THINK THAT'S TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT, YOU KNOW, THEY ARE A FOR-PROFIT ASPECT OF OUR BUSINESS. THE REAL DESTINATION AND I THINK THE POTENTIAL FOR REAL LONG-TERM SERIOUS DETRIMENTAL DAMAGE COMES WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THEATRE. MOST THEATRES IN THE COUNTRY OPERATE OFF BOX OFFICE. THOSE BOX OFFICE PROFITS ARE NOW GONE FOR THIS SEASON, WHICH MEANS YOU CAN'T PLAN FOR NEXT SEASON. THE AUDIENCE IN THEATRE SKEWS MUCH OLDER THAN THE AUDIENCE IN, SAY, ROCK 'N' ROLL OR STANDUP COMEDY, AND THAT MEANS THAT THOSE PEOPLE, THOSE CUSTOMERS WHO ARE USED TO SPENDING THEIR MONEY SAY AT THE STRATFORD FESTIVAL OR AT SHAW FESTIVAL OR AT SOULPEPPER, THEY'RE GOING TO BE HESITANT TO COME BACK IN TO SPACES WHERE THEY HAVE TO BE AMONG HUNDREDS OF OTHER PEOPLE. AND MOST THEATRES OPERATE WITH BARELY ABOVE-WATER AT THE BEST OF TIMES. AND ALSO, TO COMPOUND THAT, THERE IS THE FACT THAT THE CANADIAN ACTORS EQUITY ASSOCIATION IS NOT ACTUALLY A UNION, AND THERE IS NO PENSION FOR THEATRE ACTORS. THERE IS NO E.I. FOR THEATRE ACTORS. THERE IS NO SLUSH FUND. THERE'S NO EMERGENCY FUND...

Steve says WELL, THERE WILL BE NOW. I SHOULD JUMP IN THERE, TORQUIL, BECAUSE PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU MADE AN ANNOUNCEMENT THE OTHER DAY AND CLEARLY PEOPLE WHO WERE ACTORS AND WHO WERE GETTING PAID AND WHO ARE NOT NOW WOULD CERTAINLY BE ELIGIBLE TO REPLACE SOME OF THAT LOST INCOME WITH THE EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT PROGRAM HE ANNOUNCED THE OTHER DAY, RIGHT?

Torquil says AND THAT'S TREMENDOUS NEWS. IT'S DEFINITELY GOING TO HELP PEOPLE. BUT IF YOU LOOK AT, SAY, THE AVERAGE ACTOR AT, SAY, THE SHAW OR STRATFORD FESTIVAL, AND THOSE ARE THE TWO BIGGEST EMPLOYERS OF ACTORS IN CANADA, AND SAY MIRVISH, TAKE THOSE THREE TOGETHER, THAT'S THOUSANDS OF ACTORS WORKING FOR THOSE COMPANIES. THOSE ACTORS ARE USED TO MAKING IN THE REGION OF 1200 TO 2,000 A WEEK, IT'S A MIDDLE CLASS JOB. SO REPLACING THAT INCOME WITH ONE-QUARTER OF IT, WHILE IT'S GOING TO BE APPRECIATED AND IT'S CERTAINLY A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, IT DOESN'T MITIGATE THE ENORMOUS LOSS OF INCOME THAT THEATRE ACTORS ARE GOING TO BE EXPERIENCING, NOT JUST NOW AND NOT JUST TILL THE FALL, POTENTIALLY FOR YEARS AND YEARS TO COME. YOU KNOW, WHEN THIS ALL BEGAN, I HAD A FEW FREELANCE JOBS... I WAS GOING TO SING SOME MUSIC WITH SARAH SLEAN, THERE WERE THREE OR FOUR THINGS AND THEY DISAPPEARED WITHIN 24 HOURS BECAUSE THE CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS THAT WERE TRYING TO MAKE THEM HAPPEN, AT THE SLIGHTEST BREATH OF DISASTER, JUST DISAPPEARED.

Steve says WHEN THERE ARE...

Torquil says THE REASON I WANTED TO BE HERE TODAY WAS TO MAKE A PLEA TO PEOPLE... EXCUSE ME... WAS TO MAKE A PLEA TO PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS A TITANIC DISASTER FOR PERFORMING ARTISTS, AND WHILE THE REST OF THE ECONOMY MIGHT GET BACK UP FAIRLY QUICKLY, THEATRES ARE GOING TO BE SUFFERING FOR YEARS TO COME.

Steve says SAMORA, IT'S ONE OF THE REASONS WHY I WANT TO ASK YOU: WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THERE IS NO ACTING TO BE DONE?

Samora says WHEN THERE'S NO ACTING TO BE DONE, FIRST OF ALL, ACTORS OF ALL KINDS ARE PART OF THE GIG ECONOMY, RIGHT, WHICH I THINK IS THE LARGER CONVERSATION TO HAVE AND PART OF MY PASSION AND WORK. IN MY PERSONAL LIFE AND IN MY ENTIRE LIFE, BUT CERTAINLY IN MY WORK WITH ACTRA AS COMMITTEE CO--CHAIR FOR DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION, IS I DO REALLY FEEL FOR OUR COMMUNITIES, TRADITIONALLY MARGINALIZED FOLK, RIGHT, SO PERFORMERS OF COLOUR, LGBTQ+, WOMAN, HAVE THE SMALLEST BUDGETS AND THERE ARE FEWER ROLES FOR, SO THERE'S A LARGER CONVERSATION FOR US TO HAVE IN TERMS OF THAT. IT FOLDS INTO THE THEATRE CONVERSATION AS WELL. BECAUSE I STARTED IN THEATRE. IT WAS MY FIRST LOVE. AND ACCESSIBILITY IS GOING TO BE A HUGE CONVERSATION FOR THAT IN TERMS OF... IT'S BEEN A LONG-TERM CONVERSATION IN GETTING MORE ACCESSIBILITY IN THEATRE FOR ALL TYPES OF PEOPLE. BUT WHEN THERE'S NO ACTING TO BE HAD IN TERMS OF... MY MOVIE IS POSTPONED AND THAT'S DEFINITELY A HUGE BLOW. I ALSO RUN, SIMILAR TO QUINN, I HAVE MY OWN BUSINESS, IT'S THE ACTORS WORK STUDIO GUILD, WE HAVE FREE ACTING CLASSES AT THE MOMENT TO KEEP THE COMMUNITY ENGAGED AND SHARP AND FOCUSED, SPECIFICALLY WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT, SAY, PERFORMERS OVER 40 OR PERFORMERS OF COLOUR, THERE'S MORE TIME IN BETWEEN ENGAGEMENTS SO THERE'S ALREADY AN ADDITIONAL PRESSURE TO BE SHARP. I ASK YOU TO STEEP IN YOUR ART AT THIS TIME DESPITE THE ECONOMIC HIT, YOU'VE BEEN GIVEN THIS GIFT OF TIME, SO I'VE BEEN FOCUSED ON THAT A LOT. IF ANYONE WANTS TO JOIN ON MONDAY WE ARE HAVING JASON KNIGHT, CASTING DIRECTOR OF TITANS, DOING A LIVE CHAT WITH THE ACTORS WORK STUDIO TO GIVE TIPS TO PERFORMERS ON HOW TO KEEP YOUR SPIRITS HIGH AND WHAT YOU CAN DO TO KEEP YOUR TALENT SHARP IN THIS TIME. I THINK ARTISTS HAVE ALWAYS HAD TO BOLSTER THEIR COMMUNITIES IN TIMES OF HARDSHIP. YOU THINK OF DURING WORLD WAR II AND THE GHETTOS, CREATING THEATRE IN THE ROUND TO ENTERTAIN AND KEEP THE STORIES ALIVE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION. SO I THINK WE'RE A RESILIENT BUNCH, ARTISTS, AND I'M TRYING TO STAY HOPEFUL ON HOW WE CAN RECOVER AND STICK TOGETHER AND NOT LOSE SIGHT OF OUR ART IN THE FRET AND THE WORRY.

Steve says IF PEOPLE DID WANT TO JOIN IN ON THAT EVENT TAKING PLACE ON MONDAY, HOW WOULD THEY DO THAT?

Samora says WE'LL BE GOING LIVE THROUGH THE INSTAGRAM PACE, THE ACTORS WORK STUDIO. EMAIL WITH ANY QUESTIONS YOU HAVE. PEOPLE HAVE DONE THAT ALREADY. TRYING TO KEEP THINKING OF WAYS TO KEEP ARTISTS ENGAGE. THE GIGS ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN. IT'S A REALLY HARD TIME FOR ALL OF US, BUT I DON'T THINK FEAR IS THE ANSWER. ONE UPSIDE IS THAT ACTRA IS LOBBYING WITH ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT TO MAKE SURE THAT WHEN THESE AID PACKAGES GO OUT, INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS ARE NOT LEFT OUT OR FORGOTTEN, BECAUSE I KNOW THAT'S A BIG CONCERN FOR PERFORMERS OF ALL KINDS, TRADITIONALLY E.I., HOW DO YOU TRACK THE HOURS YOU'VE WORKED AND HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE YOU'RE NOT FORGOTTEN. WHILE IT'S NOT A LOT OF MONEY, IT WILL BE SURVIVAL MONEY AND WE'RE REALLY LUCKY TO BE CANADIANS.

Steve says THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO HAVE GOTTEN VERY CREATIVE DURING THE COURSE OF ALL THIS, AND I GUESS ONE OF THE QUESTIONS THAT THE TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA MUSICIANS ASKED THEMSELVES, IS HOW DO YOU PLAY CONCERTS WHEN YOU ACTUALLY CAN'T GATHER TO PLAY A CONCERT, AND THEY CAME UP WITH A CLEVER SOLUTION. YOU THREE GUESTS WATCH YOUR SCREENS. EVERYBODY ELSE, LET ME ASK OUR FRIEND CHAD CASTLE BACK IN THE CONTROL ROOM AT TVO, TO ROLL THE FOLLOWING VIDEO, IF YOU WOULD.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "March 22, 2020."

A carefully edited collage of 28 videos shows artists playing violins, violas, flutes, a fagot, a trombone and other instruments that make an orchestra.

(Inspiring orchestral music)

Steve says THAT IS OUTSTANDING. QUINN, I DON'T KNOW IF THAT'S AN OPTION... I SEE APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE, INDEED. THAT'S PRETTY CREATIVE AND THAT'S PRETTY FANTASTIC. QUINN, I DON'T KNOW IF COMEDIANS CAN DO THAT KIND OF THING, BUT OBVIOUSLY PEOPLE ARE REALLY PUSHING AT THE EDGES TO TRY TO FIGURE OUT NEW AND CREATIVE WAYS TO KEEP WORKING. ANY THOUGHTS IN THAT REGARD?

Quinn says YOU KNOW, COMEDIANS MAKE FUNNY VIDEOS. ANYBODY WHO WAS ON... OR IS ON TIKTOK AND MAKE SHORT, YOU KNOW, FUNNY VIDEOS THAT PEOPLE CAN LAUGH AT, THAT SORT OF KEEPS YOUR NAME GOING. IT HOPEFULLY CAN GO VIRAL FOR YOU AND YOU CAN KEEP ATTENTION ON YOURSELF. THE MAIN CONCERN IS THAT THERE'S NO MONEY TO BE MADE. IT'S A GOOD TIME TO TRY TO GAIN SOME FOLLOWERS AND TRY TO BE FUNNY AND REMIND PEOPLE AND STAY RELEVANT BUT, YEAH, THAT'S KIND OF THE HARD PART. YOU CAN'T DO STANDUP. I MEAN, YOU CAN TRY, BUT... YOU'RE NOT GOING TO HEAR THE LAUGHS AND THAT'S THE HARDEST PART, RIGHT? I GUESS FOR A LOT OF COMICS, IT'S A GOOD TIME TO ALSO, YOU KNOW, WRITE, SHARPEN YOUR PENCIL AND OF COURSE KEEP IT SHARPENED. THE MORE YOU WRITE... SOMETIMES YOU WRITE SOMETHING AND YOU HAVE NEW HEAT AND THE NATURAL PROGRESSION IS TO GET ON STAGE AND TRY IT. IT'S GOOD TO SORT OF GAIN THAT CATALOGUE AND WRITE SOME NEW THINGS, STAY SHARP, BUT MAKING NEW VIDEOS, TRYING TO APPEAL TO YOUR FAN BASE. I MEAN, THE FANS ARE STILL PROBABLY LOOKING AT YOU TO DO SOMETHING IN ORDER TO KEEP THEM ENTERTAINED. BUT THAT'S THE BEST YOU CAN DO IN THIS TIME.

Steve says DO YOU HAVE ANY SENSE ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENED TO ALL OF THE PEOPLE THAT YOU USED TO WORK WITH? FOR EXAMPLE, I DON'T KNOW, LIKE THE WAITERS OR THE BARTENDERS OR EVEN THE BOUNCERS WHO WOULD HAVE BEEN A PART OF YOUR PREVIOUS LIFE, AS YOU KNEW IT?

Quinn says FOR THE MOST PART, PEOPLE IN COMEDY HAVE FULL-TIME DAY JOBS. SO I THINK FROM THERE, THEY'LL PROBABLY BE LOOKING TOWARDS... IF THEY'RE LOOKING FOR A NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESS OR COMPANY. BUT IF THEY'RE DOING FULL-TIME STANDUP COMEDY, THEY'RE REALLY STRUGGLING AT THIS VERY MOMENT. MUCH LIKE WHAT SHE SAID, IT'S KIND OF DIFFICULT, PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR SOME SORT OF PAYOUTS AND E.I. AND STUFF LIKE THAT. BUT COMEDIANS DON'T TYPICALLY MAKE, AS INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS, THEY DON'T TYPICALLY MAKE E.I. CONTRIBUTIONS WHEN DOING THEIR TAXES BUT WE'RE HOPING THAT SOMETHING CAN SORT OF INFUSE THE MARKET AND SORT OF KEEP PEOPLE AFLOAT. THERE'S ONLY A HANDFUL OF COMEDIANS IN THE COUNTRY THAT ARE PRETTY MUCH DOING IT FULL TIME. FOR THE REST OF THEM WHO DO HAVE DAY JOBS OR WHAT HAVE YOU, THEY PROBABLY WON'T END UP QUALIFYING BUT AT LEAST THEY CAN HOPEFULLY GET... LAID OFF FROM WORK, GET A RECORD OF UNEMPLOYMENT. 2,000 A MONTH THAT TRUDEAU WAS TALKING ABOUT CAN HELP THEM, AND OF COURSE IT WOULD NEED TO BE OVER TIME, IN WHICH CASE PEOPLE WILL SLOWLY START FILLING VENUES BACK UP. AS THE GENTLEMAN WAS SAYING EARLIER, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE RELUCTANT. IT'S NOT GOING TO BE A SNAP OF THE FINGER AND THE NEXT DAY PEOPLE ARE GOING TO FILL THE VENUES. PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE RELUCTANT TO BEGIN WITH.

Steve says FOR SURE, YOU THREE WOULD BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT THAT THE PRIMES ANNOUNCED THE OTHER DAY BECAUSE YOUR INCOME HAS BASICALLY BEEN SHUT DOWN AS A RESULT OF THIS. SAMORA, I DID WANT TO FOLLOW UP WITH YOU, THOUGH. YOU REPRESENT ACTRA. THERE'S THE ACTORS FUND OF CANADA THAT'S OUT THERE. DO YOU KNOW WHETHER ANY OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS, WHETHER THEY'RE ABLE TO PROVIDE ANY SUPPORT TO THE ARTISTIC COMMUNITY DURING THE COURSE OF ALL THIS?

Samora says I'M SO GLAD YOU BROUGHT THAT UP. YES, ACTORS, THERE'S LONGSTANDING SUPPORT FOR ACTORS IN CANADA. CHECK OUT THEIR WEBSITE. ACTRA HAS GENEROUSLY BOOSTED OUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE ACTORS FUND OF CANADA IN THIS TIME, AND THERE ARE SOME RESOURCES ONLINE THAT ACTORS CAN FIND, SCRIPT-WRITING LAB, THE COMMUNITY HAS COME TOGETHER IN THAT WAY OF MAKING SURE YOU KEEP YOUR TOOLS SHARP. SO THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE'RE VERY PROUD TO DO AND HAPPY TO DO BECAUSE IT IS REALLY TOUGH IN THE BEST OF TIMES TO MAKE A LIVING AS A PERFORMER IN CANADA. AND ANYWHERE. BUT ESPECIALLY IN CANADA. OUR INDUSTRY IS GROWING, SO THERE ARE MORE OPTIONS, BUT NOW WITH THIS REALLY HARD BREAK THAT WE'RE TAKING, WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THE WAY WE DO THINGS, IN MY OPINION. NOW, I LOVE GOING TO THE MOVIES, I'M A MOVIE GOER. THE CINEMAS ARE NOT AS FULL AS THEY WERE UNLESS IT'S A FILM WITH TWO CYBORGS PUNCHING EACH OTHER'S LIGHTS OUT, RIGHT? THE INDUSTRY HAS COME TO THAT PLACE WHERE THE BAR IS SET SO HIGH IN TERMS OF WHAT COMMERCIAL VIABILITY IS, THAT STUDIOS ARE LESS RELUCTANT TO MAKE THE TYPES OF MOVIE THAT I GREW UP ON AND THAT I FELL IN LOVE WITH CINEMA WATCHING. SO THAT'S SOMETHING WE NEED TO LOOK AT, THE WAY WE CONSUME OUR ENTERTAINMENT, THE WAY WE PAY FOR IT, THE WAY WE PAY PERFORMERS HERE. AND, YES, LIKE ME, I POSTED A BUNCH OF COMEDY VIDEOS ON MY PRIVATE INSTAGRAM JUST BECAUSE I WAS HERE COOPED UP AND I JUST WANTED TO LET THE CHARACTERS OUT. BUT THE QUESTION OF GETTING PAID FOR THAT IS IMPORTANT. NOT JUST IN THIS TIME OF BEING COOPED UP IN SELF-ISOLATION, SELF QUARANTINE, WHETHER YOU WANT TO CALL IT, DUE TO COVID, BUT THAT QUESTION OF WHAT WE EXPECT PERFORMERS TO DO FOR FREE HAS BEEN A GHOST IN THIS INDUSTRY FOR SO LONG. SO I'M A LITTLE BIT... NOT WORRIED. "WORRIED" IS NOT THE RIGHT WORD. BUT I AM THINKING ABOUT THAT. BECAUSE GETTING PAST THE STAGE OF YOUR CAREER AS A PERFORMER WHERE YOU'RE EXPECTED TO WORK FOR EXPOSURE IS HUGE AND IT FEELS REALLY GREAT TO GET TO THE PART WHERE SOMEONE IS PAYING YOU TO PERFORM. WETTING YOUR BEAK IN THIS TIME AND GETTING THE AUDIENCE... IF YOU'RE PITCHING TO A NETWORK AND YOU WANT TO GET A SHOW OFF THE GROUND OR YOU'RE WRITING A GRANT FOR, SAY, CANADA COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS GRANT, YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE MARKET. THE MARKET ALREADY HAS AN APPETITE FOR CONSUMING AND ENTERTAINMENT ONLINE, SO I'M VERY INTERESTED IN KNOWING HOW WE CAN BE A PART OF THAT BUT ALSO PERFORMERS GETTING PAID TO DO SO...

Torquil says THAT'S IMPORTANT.

Steve says LET ME JUMP IN, TORQUIL. YOU WROTE SOMETHING IN THE ATLANTIC LAST WEEK THAT I WANT TO READ A LITTLE EXCERPT OF. IT ACTUALLY FOLLOWS UP ON THE POINT THAT SAMORA WAS JUST MAKING. HERE'S THE EXCERPT...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Another disaster for the music industry." The quote reads "For musicians, the arrival of COVID-19 came as a second cataclysm, the first being music-streaming services' final triumph about five years ago over other ways of delivering music. Within a year or two, the 40 percent of our income that once came from radio royalties and music sales had vanished, as sites such as Spotify exploded in popularity. These sites pay us an abysmally low royalty rate for our music. My band, Starts, had more than 9 million streams on Spotify last year. Our royalties from that service amounted to less than 35000 dollars. And we split them six ways. Minus management fees. Minus taxes. For 9 million streams of our music. So we had grown accustomed to the sky falling."
Quoted from Torquil Campbell, The Atlantic. March 16, 2020.

Steve says OKAY. TORQUIL, WHY DON'T YOU EMBELLISH ON THAT A LITTLE BIT HERE. SPOTIFY, APPLE, HAVE THEY EVER INDICATED TO YOU THAT GIVEN THE CRISIS WE'RE IN RIGHT NOW, THEY MIGHT BE PREPARED TO GIVE YOU A GREATER ROYALTY SHARE?

Torquil says I TWEETED SPOTIFY ABOUT THAT THE OTHER DAY, ODDLY ENOUGH DIDN'T RECEIVE ANY REPLY. I HAVE HEARD THAT SPOTIFY HAS STARTED SOME KIND OF A FUND FOR ARTISTS, BUT, YOU KNOW, IT'S A LITTLE BIT LIKE GOING TO THERAPY TO GET OVER GETTING BEATEN UP AND YOUR THERAPIST IS THE PERSON WHO BEAT YOU UP. YEAH. IT IS A DISGRACEFUL SITUATION, PARTICULARLY WITH SPOTIFY. SPOTIFY PAYS SIGNIFICANTLY WORSE THAN EVERY OTHER STREAMING SERVICE, INCLUDING APPLE. I THINK WHAT SAMORA WAS SAYING ABOUT THE VALUE OF ART. THIS WHOLE SITUATION REALLY BRINGS HOME THE FACT THAT ART HAS STARTED TO BE THOUGHT ABOUT AS A LUXURY IN OUR SOCIETY, AS A KIND OF TRIVIAL THING, A THING THAT YOU CAN TURN THE TAP ON, YOU CAN HAVE SOME MUSIC PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND, BUT YOU CAN GO ON YouTube AND WATCH A COMEDIAN DO THEIR SET OR WATCH A SHOW FOR FREE BECAUSE YOU RIPPED IT OFF SOMEWHERE. AND THE INTERNET AND COMPUTERS HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THIS ACCESS TO ART WITHOUT ANY REAL SENSE OF WHO'S MAKING THAT ART FOR YOU, THE KIND OF MONEY THEY MIGHT HAVE SPENT OR THE AMOUNT OF TIME THEY SPENT MAKING IT, AND THERE'S BECOME A REAL DISCONNECT I THINK FOR CONSUMERS, BETWEEN CONSUMING ART AND PAYING FOR IT. AND IT'S PRETTY DETRIMENTAL. AND NOW WE ARRIVE AT THIS PLACE WHERE PEOPLE ARE TRAPPED INSIDE, AND WHERE DO THEY GO? THEY GO TO ART. THEY GO TO MUSIC. THEY GO TO PEOPLE READING... I SAW PATRICK STEWART WAS READING SHAKESPEARE. THEY GO AND THEY LOOK FOR ART TO GET THEM THROUGH THIS. AND WHILE I APPRECIATE ALL THESE CELEBRITIES FROM THEIR VARIOUS 10 MILLION DOLLARS HOMES DOING LITTLE SKITS FOR US AND READING SHAKESPEARE, ET CETERA, ET CETERA, THE VAST, VAST, VAST MAJORITY OF WORKING ARTISTS WHO CALL THIS THEIR PROFESSION ARE LOWER MIDDLE CLASS PEOPLE WHO PAY RENT OR MORTGAGE, JUST LIKE ANYBODY ELSE, AND STRUGGLE MONTH TO MONTH TO MAKE THEIR BILLS, AND THEY ARE WORKING HARDER THAN EVER, WHETHER IT'S IN MUSIC OR ANY OTHER FORM, TO MAKE LESS MONEY. YOU KNOW, I WAS AN ACTOR FOR 30 YEARS. I COME FROM AN ACTING FAMILY. AND I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT THE DAY RATE, FOR EXAMPLE, ON TELEVISION SHOWS IS THE SAME AS IT WAS IN 1985. FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE, IT'S LESS THAN IT WAS IN 1985.

Steve says LET ME JUMP IN HERE AND ASK QUINN A QUESTION BECAUSE I THINK ONE OF THE GREAT CONUNDRUMS RIGHT NOW IS WHEN THIS COVID-19 FINALLY DOES PASS, AND WE DON'T KNOW WHETHER IT'S GOING TO BE WEEKS OR MONTHS OR WHAT, DO YOU THINK THE HABITS THAT WE'VE ESTABLISHED, OR MOST OF US ANYWAY, WITH PHYSICAL DISTANCING AND SO ON, WILL SCARE PEOPLE FROM RETURNING TO THE COMEDY CLUBS AS QUICKLY AS YOU'D LIKE THEM TO?

Quinn says YEAH, I THINK IT'S GOING TO SCARE PEOPLE FROM RETURNING ANYWHERE. I THINK THE MALLS ARE GOING TO BE EMPTY. I THINK PEOPLE WITH GOING TO GET ACCUSTOMED TO SHOPPING ONLINE AND DO ANYTHING THEY CAN TO CONTINUE TO SOCIAL DISTANCE UNTIL IT'S FULLY CLEARED THAT THIS THING IS TOTALLY GONE. WE CAN THINK BACK TO WHEN SARS AFFECTED THE CITY AND THEY HAD TO HAVE A BIG GIANT CONCERT IN ORDER TO START GETTING PEOPLE BACK OUT AGAIN, JUST KIND OF INFUSE THE CITY AND THIS IDEA OF GETTING BACK OUT. WHAT WE CAN HOPE FOR IS THAT WITH ALL THE TIME THAT WE'VE HAD TO BE SPENT... SPENT INSIDE ISOLATED WITH OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY, WE CAN ONLY HOPE THAT PEOPLE WILL BE SICK OF BEING INDOORS AND WILL RUSH OUT AGAIN AND WANT TO FILL UP THE CLUBS AND FILL UP THE BARS AND FILL UP WHEREVER ART IS BEING PRESENTED. BUT WE CAN ONLY HOPE FOR IT. WE CAN ONLY HOPE FOR IT. I THINK IT WILL... IT WILL BE A LONG TIME. I THINK IT WILL BE A FEW MONTHS BEFORE PEOPLE WILL BE ACCUSTOMED TO GOING BACK OUT AGAIN.

Steve says TORQUIL, CAN YOU IMAGINE... QUINN IS QUITE RIGHT. 17 YEARS AGO, A BUNCH OF PEOPLE PUT TOGETHER SARSFEST AT DOWNSVIEW AND HALF A MILLION PEOPLE SHOWED UP AND IT WAS AN IMPORTANT SIGNAL TO SEND TO THE WORLD THAT TORONTO WAS BACK AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE AFRAID TO COME HERE ANYMORE. I HOPE PEOPLE ARE WORKING ON THAT RIGHT NOW. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING UP YOUR SLEEVE ON THAT, TORQ?

Torquil says I THINK THERE ARE MANY SMART PEOPLE TRYING TO MAKE something meaningful
OUT OF THIS. I THINK ALL OF US WOULD AGREE THAT OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF WEEKS OF THIS HAPPENING, WHILE THERE'S BEEN MOMENTS OF REAL STRESS AND REAL SORROW AND FEELING THE LOSS OF WORK, THE LOSS OF OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL WITH YOUR FRIENDS, THERE IS ALSO INCREDIBLE CHANCES HERE TO MAKE THINGS BETTER. AND I AM 100 PERCENT CONFIDENT THAT PEOPLE'S IMPULSE TO BE TOGETHER AND CELEBRATE THROUGH SONG AND DANCE AND LAUGHTER AND CRYING AND TELLING THE STORY OF OUR LIVES TOGETHER, TELLING EACH OTHER THE STORY OF OUR LIVES, TELLING EACH OTHER JOKES ABOUT THINGS WE RELATE TO, WHEN THIS IS OVER, I THINK PEOPLE ARE GOING TO COME TO US AS NATURALLY AS PEOPLE GO TO THE BEACH WHEN IT GETS HOT OUTSIDE. AND I DO THINK THERE WILL BE A DELAY. I DO THINK IT WILL BE TRICKY TO GET SOME PEOPLE TO GO TO THE MALLS. AND I DO THINK THERE WILL BE HESITANCY. BUT IN THE END, THE HUMAN IMPULSE TO EXPERIENCE BEAUTY IS INCREDIBLY STRONG AND POWERFUL, AND THE IMPULSE TO BE BEAUTIFUL IS INCREDIBLY STRONG AND POWERFUL, AND I BELIEVE IN ARTISTS AND I BELIEVE IN OUR AUDIENCE, AND I THINK WE'LL FIND OUR WAY BACK TO EACH OTHER. AND THERE'S EVERY CHANCE THAT IT COULD PRODUCE A WHOLE BUNCH OF AMAZING, VITAL, BEAUTIFUL ART FROM ALL KINDS OF DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES, AND I THINK THAT THERE IS HOPE, ALWAYS.

Steve says THAT'S A BEAUTIFUL WAY TO PUT IT. I WANT TO SAVE MY LAST 20 SECONDS HERE, IF I CAN, SAMORA, I NEED TO KNOW THIS: AS A... AS A BIG-TIME STAR TREK FAN, YOU WERE IN STAR TREK DISCOVERY, AND YOU PILOTED THE STARSHIP DISCOVERY, AND I NEED TO KNOW WHAT THAT'S LIKE?

They both do a Vulcan salute.

Samora says HA HA! THE STARSHIP ENTERPRISE, THE ENTERPRISE. WE'RE ON ENTERPRISE, DOING OUR THING. IT WAS AMAZING. I WAS JUST TALKING TO SOME OF MY FRIENDS FROM STAR TREK, KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH EVERYBODY. THEY WRAPPED THE NEW SEASON. IT WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE. IT'S THE MOST EXCITING. WE SHOOT AT PINEWOOD STUDIOS DOWN THE STREET FROM MY HOUSE HERE IN TORONTO. IT'S LIKE MAKING A LITTLE MOVIE. IT WAS AMAZING. WHAT CAN I SAY? IT'S WONDERFUL. THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE, FROM CREW TO EVERYONE IN TORONTO WHO WORKED ON A SET LIKE THAT, WHEN A U.S. PRODUCTION LIKE STAR TREK COME TO TOWN, A LOT OF PEOPLE EAT FROM THAT. WE'RE EXCITED FOR THAT TO KEEP GOING. CBS HAS BUILT A NEW STUDIO. THE TORONTO CITY IS READY TO GO AS SOON AS EVERYTHING DIES DOWN. AS A NEWFOUNDLANDER, I MEAN, STORYTELLING IS IN MY BLOOD. ALL OF MY BEST MEMORIES FROM CHILDHOOD ARE MY POP TELLING STORIES, SUCH A GOOD STORYTELLER, TALKING ABOUT HISTORY. ARTISTS AND WHAT WE DO AND PROVIDE IS TOTALLY INVALUABLE TO OUR CULTURE. IT'S JUST UP TO EVERYONE TO REMEMBER THAT AND NOT LET FEAR TAKE OVER. AND WE, THE DAY RATE FOR ACTORS, HAS GONE UP. EVERY TIME WE NEGOTIATE, IT GOES UP, LITTLE BY LITTLE. I SEND SO MUCH LOVE TO EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO IS AFFECTED BY THIS. JUST HANG TIGHT. STAY POSITIVE. AND JUST TRY TO FIND A SILVER LINING. AND I REALLY HOPE WE CAN ALL COME TOGETHER AND DO SOMETHING LIKE TORONTO DID FOR SARS AS AN ARTIST COMMUNITY. IF ANYONE WANTS TO REACH OUT TO ME, BOTH THE GENTLEMEN ON THE SHOW, LET'S DO IT. LET'S DO IT.

Torquil says I'M IN.

Steve says YOU'RE NOT JUST A NEWFOUNDLANDER, YOU ARE NEWFOUNDLAND ROYALTY. BECAUSE SAMORA SMALLWOOD, YOUR UNCLE WAS JOEY SMALLWOOD, THE LAST FATHER OF CONFEDERATION. WE WANTED TO PUT THAT ON THE RECORD BEFORE WE SIGNED OFF. TORQUIL CAMPBELL, QUINN C. MARTIN, AND SAMORA SMALLWOOD, GREAT HAVING ALL OF YOU ON TVO TONIGHT. BEST OF LUCK TO ALL OF YOU GOING FORWARD.

Torquil says STAY WELL, EVERYBODY.

Steve says WE LOOK FORWARD TO WATCHING YOU ALL PERFORM AGAIN.

Samora says THANKS FOR HAVING US.
BYE, STEVE.

Torquil says TAKE CARE, EVERYBODY.

Quinn says HAVE A GOOD DAY.

Watch: Coronavirus and the Arts Community