As the UK film and TV industry has boomed in recent years, bullying and harassment in the workplace have become endemic to the sector, with 84% of workers experiencing such abuse themselves or witnessing it, according to the Film & TV Charity.
The co-founder of Call It!, a soon-to-be-launched app, film producer Kate Wilson, was motivated to co-found the app, along with the Victoria director Delyth Thomas and the My Mad Fat Diary producer Jules Hussey, after an investigation into the actor and producer Noel Clarke earlier this year. “I was appalled,” she said, of the revelations. All three co-founders have first-hand experiences of bullying or misconduct, Wilson says.
Designed to engender collectve and individual accountability, Call It! will empower everyone working in the film and TV industry to record incidents quickly and anonymously, providing easy access to companies ‘Dignity at Work’ Policies and procedures for formal reporting, and signposting confidential mental health support. The app enables companies and productions to monitor the safety and wellbeing of their staff by asking, “How were you treated at work today?” and gathering anonymised data regarding experiences of bullying and harassment.
The app is in the pilot and testing phase with select productions and organisations, aiming to roll-out industry-wide in late 2021.
Call It! co-founder Kate Wilson said:
“Our deceptively simple app is a powerful tool that can catalyse cultural change and improve working experiences in our amazing industry. We’ve adopted the (bold!) assumption that everyone working in film and TV wants to be treated well and to treat others well and Call It! makes it easier to do just that by gauging experiences, facilitating access to discreet reporting procedures and mental health support, and empowering everyone to do better and better, year-on-year. Our industry can and should be the very best place to work and thrive and Call It! can help us get there.”
The data will be stored in a dashboard, allowing executives to track the mood and wellbeing of their workers in real time. “This will force them to take their head out of the sand and empower them to take action where necessary,” Wilson said.
The app has been built by the Hull-based developers Sauce and funded by donations from the Film and TV Charity, Sara Putt Associates, and Directors UK, in addition to private donors. It is being piloted and tested by a range of UK-based production and post-production companies, TV productions and feature films, ahead of a UK-wide launch by the end of the year.
Call It! co-founder Jules Hussey said: “Our industry will only see sustainable change if we enable everyone, at every level and at any time to feel safe feeding back on how they are being treated. We also need to acknowledge best practice as well as calling out poor treatment and discrimination. Call It! is a tool which can be in the hand of everyone involved from development to distribution and empower them to say “thank you – I am being treated well” or “something is wrong, and I need help” As a freelance producer Call It! will enable me to see when I need to support my team better.”