The medical consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have been severe. Our sympathies go out to ILDA Members, laserists, family, friends, and all persons suffering from this.
There have also been serious economic consequences. In our industry, most laser shows have been shut down. Sales of lasershow-related equipment have evaporated. This is very distressing.
We hope that with assistance from governments and others that we can "weather the storm" until it is safe to go back to work and normal social life.
There are a plethora of news stories and resources for individuals and for businesses. Below are some resources that may be especially helpful for ILDA Members and laserists; for example, from organizations in related entertainment industries.
If you have other resources which may be relevant for those in the entertainment industry, please contact us with the links so we can add them.
The artwork above comes from Olga Eser of EFFECT Laser Systems Ltd. in Antalya, Turkey. She is also a member of the ILDA Board of Directors.
On March 26, 2020 she posted on various social media:
"To all our industry friends and partners! Please encourage Postponing and Rescheduling over canceling! Delaying revenue vs losing it completely can help stop more event industry businesses from shuttering and from people losing their jobs. #saveevents #postponedontcancel "
A full-resolution version of the graphic can be downloaded here. The image is an ILDA Award photography entry from Nice Lasers.
ILDA is offering special, one-time discounted rates for our online Laser Safety Officer - Lasershows courses during April and May 2020. Six courses will be taught, live online via Webex or Zoom.
Discounts range from 19% to 62%, depending on ILDA membership status.
More information is on the ILDA laser safety courses page.
ILDA is holding a laser show contest from March 30 through May 11.
Every two weeks, ILDA will send out a list of songs. Entrants will have nine days to create shows set to these songs, using a single X-Y scanner projector. There are three different categories: Beams, Graphics and Abstracts.
Finished shows will be uploaded for viewing online. Anyone can view and vote for their favorites during a 3-day period. The winner in each category will receive an ILDA Award trophy, generously donated by Richard Gonsalves.
There will be three contests, one every two weeks. Then, there will be a final contest among the nine weekly winners, to find the “Best in Show” of each category.
More information is on the ILDA Offline contest page.
COVID-19 Crisis Support from LSI Online. For the lighting, sound and production industry. Includes information on Industry campaigns, Financial and health support, Training and initiatives, Statements from industry bodies & charities, and Latest reaction from businesses. Primarily for the U.K. and Europe. Thanks to James Stewart for this link.
PLASA Coronavirus resource page. For the lighting, sound and production industry. PLASA has started Facebook and LinkedIn groups where PLASA members can share experiences. They also have additional resources listed, primarily for the U.K. and Europe.
COVID-19 Resources and Links from ESTA, the Entertainment Services and Technology Association. Primarily U.S.
Also from ESTA, certified entertainment technicians are offering their rigging and other skills in setting up temporary hospitals and facilities. They point out that entertainment events involve large, complex temporary structures that are also flexible in use. Entertainment technicians can offer their services. More is in an April 3 2020 press release from the Entertainment Technician Certification Program of ESTA.
COVID-19 Update from Lighting and Sound America. Primarily U.S.
Coronavirus Resources from the Association of Independent Commercial Producers. A blog on Business affairs, Employment issues, Facilities issues, Government resources and advisories, Government loan programs, On Set issues, Travel and events, and Post-production issues. Primarily U.S.
Financial Resources Available to Photographers (many also apply to creative persons in the arts). From Fstoppers.com
State-by-state (U.S.) information and resources, from the National Association of Manufacturers. Additional NAM COVID-19 resources are here.
CARES Act information specifically for associations, from the American Society of Association Executives.
Government websites and the press are the best resources for general news about government assistance, and for health and prevention guidance. Below are a few selected items that we have found useful. Note that information may have changed since these resources were posted.
Relief for Small Business under HR748 Cares Act (U.S. legislation), by George Dodworth of Lightwave International. The overview is: "All small businesses (< 500 Employees), sole-proprietors and freelance/independent contractors are eligible. SBA is authorizing mainstream lending to facilitate an emergency loan without the need to prove conventional SBA requirements such as financial need or inability to find loan elsewhere."
Stimulus SBA Loan and Forgiveness Program — "Paycheck Protection Program" (U.S. legislation) This may be the same program described by George above. Click the button below to see the text, which is from ILDA's accounting firm, Moss Krusick and Associates.
April 8 2020 Paycheck Protection Program FAQ from the U.S. Small Business Administration. This has updated information clarifying portions of the PPP.
A webinar discussing the pandemic and future lasershow plans was held via Zoom on May 19, 2020. It was organized by the Professional Events Industry Association, which has primarily Saudi and Middle Eastern members.
The organizer was Abdulwahab Baghdadi, who is a former ILDA Board member. Speaking were Marc Webber of ER Productions, Olga Eser of Effect SES, and Patrick Murphy of ILDA.
The webinar video is online at https://1drv.ms/v/s!AvXJ7_FEbtXr7F38LbmSP6zBN-lM?e=umz73T.
Introductions take up the first five minutes; the webinar itself starts at about 05:38.
Laser light projections on the Pyramids at Giza say, "Stay Home - Stay Safe." This core message was delivered by ILDA Members Laseronics Design Interstellar (Washington state) and Laseronics-Middle East (Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia) using entertainment laser systems.
As most of the world is coping with the Coronavirus pandemic, Laseronics and various Egyptian government officials gathered (using extreme social distancing techniques) at the Pyramids to set up and run the advertising campaign "Stay Home – Stay Safe."
Yousri El Gazar, (Principal, Laseronics-ME Cairo Egypt) did not take very long to say YES to the organizing team. Not a paid gig, the all-volunteer squad maintained the required social distancing guidelines by having technicians working in "Zones." Special thanks go to programmer and operator Mustafa Mahmoud, who worked hard on the projection as he was given multiple live requests onsite, as media was watching over the event.
Photos and video of the event made worldwide news. Below is a screen capture of images during a story on the U.S. program PBS NewsHour (photo courtesy Bill Bennett).
Zone Offset Effects and General Q&A. Pangolin Laser Software is having a Facebook Live event Thursday, April 9 2020 at 2 pm Eastern Time (UTC -4). The main topic is how to delay your effects over multiple laser projectors to make geometric atmospheric patterns, similar to how many lighting designers program conventional lights. Also, a short question and answer session at the end. The event will be uploaded to Pangolin's YouTube channel on Friday, April 10.
Virtual Laser Show by Mike Gould, Illuminatus Lasers. This is a Facebook Live event using scrolling text atop lumia to let viewers add their comments. Users are encouraged to share their recent experiences (briefly), artistic comments, or random thoughts to the show. Begins Friday, April 3 2020 at 7 pm Eastern Time (UTC -4) and "runs until I get tired", according to Mike. To view, go to https://www.facebook.com/Clickamouse. Mike notes that Facebook Live was "designed by FB to facilitate talking heads, not filmy laser art" so the video quality may not be good. More information here.
Other ILDA websites: ILDAmember.com for membership database and event management (including joining ILDA), and LasershowSafety.info for safety information.
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Top photo credit: iStockphoto