It’s the artisans’ time to shine. Emmy For Your Consideration campaigning continues to be limited by the simultaneous WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, as actors currently aren’t allowed to speak about projects they’ve been involved with (past or present) and showrunners/writers can talk to the press (via personal publicists) but can’t participate in anything underwritten by studios and networks.
For those of us who write about the industry, it’s been a bit of a challenge finding ways to still cover the Emmy Awards, especially as Phase 2 voting got underway on Aug. 17. My colleague Emily Longeretta, who oversees our special Emmy extra editions, has gotten creative in turning some of our podcast interviews into stories, for example, and relying on other approaches to covering nominated shows and talent. And Variety‘s wonderful art team, who would normally shot portraits of nominees for Phase 2, have instead come up with fun, lively collages of the players instead. Lemonade out of lemons.
It’s a tricky time even for the reps. That’s because what writers can or can’t do when it comes to press is still a bit hazy. As best we understand it, writers can talk as long as the media appearance has not been arranged by the PR apparatus at a struck company. It all depends on how comfortable the individual writer is — and there’s been a lot of back and forth. Perhaps not a video, but a story is fine. Or a podcast is OK… as long as a studio isn’t sponsoring that episode. And no matter what, make sure there’s a disclaimer that this was conducted either prior to the strike or independent of any studio/network involvement.
Those limitations has forced everyone in the FYC biz to pivot while finding ways to still celebrate the best work of the year. Directors who also serve as executive producers have now been called to the frontlines to be the voice of their shows, for example. And luckily, because directors have much more involvement on shows in TV’s platinum age, they’re able to talk a lot more about the showrunners’ visions or how a certain tone was found.
The current WGA and SAG-AFTRA work stoppage has hit the crafts community especially hard, which makes it all the more important to celebrate their work. And in the absence of panels featuring actors or writers, most recent events have been thrown to spotlight picture editors, effects pros, costume designers, make-up supervisors, production designers, casting directors, hairstylists, composers, cinematographers, sound editors and many more.
For example, Variety recently held a “Creative Collaborations: The Nominees” brunch featuring nominated craftspeople from shows such as “Jury Duty,” “Abbott Elementary,” “Poker Face” and more, as well as directors from “The Last of Us,” “Ted Lasso,” the Oscars and others. Variety’s senior artisans editor Jazz Tangcay moderated both panels — and yes, she’s in high demand at the moment given the spotlight on her wheelhouse.
Amazon, Apple TV+ and HBO/Max have all held, or are about to throw, similar crafts-centric events. If the fully packed Variety brunch was any indication, people are eager to attend the few events like this that are still moving forward. One person I talked to said it was a good opportunity to see some faces and reconnect with people during the production shutdown.
Beyond events, awards campaigns are also still relying on the tried-and-true mix of billboards and trade magazine ads, as well as marketing tie-ins like Disney’s delicious deal with L.A.’s Prime Pizza — which currently has FYC mentions for ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” and Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building” on its delivery boxes.
Now that we know the new date for the Emmys (Jan. 15 on Fox) it’s going to be a long time before industryites gather for an awards show. But at that point, hopefully, we’ll all be more than ready to come together to toast the best in TV — including the writers, actors and artisans behind the great programming that makes Hollywood tick.
- Emmy FYC Circuit Turns to Crafts Amid WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes
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