The loss of jobs in the showbiz industry has led to financial struggles and declining mental health for many individuals. Bunny Studio describes how more stage performers and crew members are turning to alternative gigs to supplement their deficit in income.
Two weeks ago, CBSN Originals released “Ghost Light: The Year Broadway Went Dark.” The telling documentary shed light on how COVID-19 adversely impacted the star-lit showbiz industry in what used to be thriving midtown Manhattan. The silent theatre era has been etched as a dark time for many. While the cast and crew of big playbill names like “The Lion King,” “Wicked” and “Hamilton” reboot, an air of uncertainty continues to linger.
Surprisingly, despite the declining number of gigs in the entertainment sector, Forbes reported a 33% growth in 2020’s gig economy. Bunny Studio, a global platform providing voice overs and other creative services, also saw a 16.8% growth that same year. These statistics revealed the grit of the freelancing sector and how some stage actors are turning to new avenues of income.
In an interview with Bunny Studio’s voice talent, UK voice artist and Equity-affiliated actress Samantha Hutton gave a personal account of how she weathered the financial dry spell. She described a distressing time amongst her friends, many of whom were part of London’s Broadway productions.
“When the pandemic struck, I received no freelance technical work. Auditions for theatre productions dried up, and many production companies were forced to close,” Samantha recounts. “Many of my friends suffered financially and sunk into a deep depression because stage acting was the only line of work they had experience in.”
The accomplished stage actress starred in many roles such as Mrs. Farley in Playhouse Creatures and Mabel Chiltern in Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband. Despite her successes, Samantha recalled a tumultuous stairway to fame in a highly competitive showbiz industry even before the pandemic. She recalled how taking on voice over gigs through Bunny Studio had helped her tide through the financial instability that came with her career.
“Waiting for weeks on end to see if you’re a right fit alongside accepting rejections are just part of being a gig worker. Income is always somewhat of a question mark. I reckon that without taking up voice acting projects on Bunny Studio, roughly 60% of my income would have been affected during this pandemic. Thankfully, voice auditions on the creative platform are a quick process, and I get to know if I’m accepted almost immediately,” said Samantha.
The shortage of stage production jobs has also been compensated by skyrocketing demand for audio producers. Jairo Pineda, an audio engineer, foley artist, and music producer at Bunny Studio saw an increase in clients asking for his expertise.
“My number of gigs has substantially increased. Being able to work from my home studio remotely has attracted a lot of clients during the pandemic. I saw a 30% boost in revenue over the last year through Bunny Studio,” said the audio ad producer and voice over artist. “These steady earnings have allowed me to pursue increasingly better creative opportunities,” Jairo added.
Having recently announced its expansion of creative services, Bunny Studio is a source of income to over 13,000 pre-vetted freelancer professionals. The fully remote company was featured on Investopedia for its 4-day work week. It continues to be an advocate for the gig economy while making ad creation accessible for businesses during this unprecedented and difficult time.