Published on: 01 May 2024 in Industry

“The early days of a better industry” — Introducing Paul Evans’ Industry Blog

Reading time: 3 minutes and 43 seconds

We’re pleased to introduce a new regular dispatch from our Head of Industry Relations, Paul Evans.

This blog will return regularly to the Directors UK website and newsletter, with the latest of Paul’s insights as he meets and collaborates with directors across the UK.

Read the first instalment below. 

I’ve been in post as the new Head of Industry Relations for a few months now, and the scale of the job is getting clearer to me every day.

My recent background is in trade unionism (though I’ve also spent time in the commercial / tech world, as well as some time working in a political role). Directors UK appointed me to look at why – in some cases – directors’ wages and status often fail to keep pace with those working in other film and TV roles.

I’ve spoken to a lot of our members. One thing that has struck me – in a positive way – is the passion that they have for their work.

In many cases, I’ve spoken to people who will do almost anything that they can to make it all work – including an acceptance of some squalid working conditions (particularly for some factual directors), appalling rates of pay and some crazy long-hours workloads. And, because this is 2024, the conversation has happened in a context of a period of high unemployment – a problem that often eclipses everything else.

It would not be right to say that every director is straining for a fight with their industry. I’ve spoken to some Directors UK members who are looking at the entry-level hazing that the industry offers them in the rear-view mirror, and who are doing great high-status work on high budget global productions.

But in every case, successful or struggling, directors really care about the job. I’ve spoken to people working in many film/TV crafts and the conversation will usually start with a chat about the joys of their craft, but in most cases, we would also make time to discuss the pressing need that many of them had to survive in a competitive and unpredictable industry.

I often find that – when talking to directors - our time together has run out before we can get onto that second part – and I think my job is to help change that. In the wider industry, we’ve seen some craft departments solve this problem better than others.

I want to help solve it for directors. In my view, their lack of success with this actually harms an industry that every Directors UK member tells me that they love.

It harms the industry when the continuing goodwill of directors is taken for granted. I’m going to be saying more about why this is the case over the coming months.

My role is to get talking to directors and get beyond the joyful discussions about their craft and onto the pressing need that they have to protect their own interests – as creators, as wage-earners and as citizens of a country that cares about the quality and quantity of its production output.

To adapt the line that is engraved onto the walls of the Scottish Parliament building: we need to work as though we are living in the early days of a better film and TV industry – and we won’t build it by a passion for creativity alone.

Directors need to develop more of a sense of collective efficacy around their own rates of pay, terms and conditions and the levels of respect in which they are held. If they can do this, it will even have a knock-on benefit of helping Directors UK to improve the residuals deals that the organisation has always worked on.

In my role, I find it helpful to reach out to directors for purposes of research and feedback. If you’d like to be in touch, then please fill out my contact form

You may also like

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn more