Variety Debuts Artisans, Targeting Hollywood’s Below-the-Line Community

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Variety is launching Artisans, a newly-branded feature devoted to comprehensive coverage of individuals who work behind the scenes in the entertainment business and the issues they grapple with on a daily basis.

Artisans will debut on July 29, running regularly in the weekly magazine and on Variety.com.

The new report will focus on the art and business of the entire spectrum of craftspeople working in the production and post-production communities on movies and television shows – including cinematographers, production and costume designers, visual effects artists, editors, production and location managers, second unit directors, propmasters, set painters, grips, stunt workers and music supervisors, as well as agents who represent below-the-line talent.

Each edition of Artisans will include a major feature story, profiles of artists, news from Hollywood’s unions and guilds, a spotlight on ever-changing shifts in tax incentives and the impact of runaway production on the professional and personal lives of workers and the Southern California economy. Artisans will feature the return of Variety’s unique production charts, powered by Variety Insight, that will list major new projects starting around the world.

The section will also bring back the publication’s Bookings & Signings column — providing readers a regular update on who’s landing which major below-the-line jobs on the latest film and TV productions.

“This is an area of the industry that has been widely unreported and Variety intends to own this coverage,” says Claudia Eller, Variety editor-in-chief, film. “No movie or TV project could be made without the hard work of these unsung heroes. We are committed to telling their stories and shining a spotlight on what they confront day in and day out in these crucial jobs.”

Peter Caranicas, managing editor, features, will serve as editor of Artisans, working closely with Eller and VP/executive editor Steven Gaydos. Key staff contributors will include Tim Gray (awards coverage), David S. Cohen (technology), Steve Chagollan (cinematography), Dave McNary (guilds and production incentives) and Ted Johnson (government and legal). Variety’s network of overseas writers will contribute production and location stories from around the world, focusing particularly on the international tax incentives that drive global filmmaking.

Artisans coverage will also include online video, including original in-studio interviews and field reports with key industry players. Cohen, Variety’s award-winning technology and post-production reporter, will be the producer for Artisans videos and will share on-camera hosting duties with others in the newsroom.

The inaugural edition of Artisans will coincide with a cover story on women working below the line by senior film and media reporter Brent Lang and the annual Below-the-Line Impact Report, profiling nearly 100 individuals whose craft over the past year has had a major influence on their peers and on the industry as a whole.

The Artisans content online and in print continues the significant rebranding of Variety as the industry’s leading source of news and analysis since being acquired by Penske Media Corporation in October 2012.

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  1. Ruth DiPasquale says:

    How about all the activity on the East Coast? Why not report from there also? We’re a large part of this community.

  2. Pen says:

    I’m pleased to see that we “Below the Line Worker Bees” will finally have our efforts recognized. I was dismayed however not to see Set Decorators even mentioned.
    We Decorators are hugely important in the overall scheme of things. We, along with our always amazing crews translate what the Production Designer wants into reality. We make miracles happen each and every day, often with little money and less time.
    Our billing in the credit roll is at the bottom. We finally can come up on stage when a project we’ve worked on wins an Academy Award and on occasion might be able to say a word or two. We don’t even rate agents to help with the endless job of seeking projects, at least in L.A..
    We are the best bargain on a crew as we work on a flat rate. Every Decorator I know devotes much more time, energy and dedication than we are ever compensated for willingly because we genuinely care about what we do.
    I look forward to Set Decorators getting the recognition we deserve at long last. Thank you, P

  3. Fantastic ! This is a wonderful way for those of us involved in Hollywood to share our craft !! We certainly hope to be included in the article about props. Jewelry Prop Shop

  4. RM says:

    This a great and long overdue idea. I am so happy to see my fellow fraternal brothers and sisters recognized for their talents, hard work and countless hours away from their families. Although, one very hard working craft in particular, seems to be left off of Variety’s list and that is the Production Coordinator (POC per IATSE Local 871) – I can tell you from first had experience, we are often the first ones in and the last ones out. And while this is a thankless job at times, it is gratifying in the end to know that we have worked side by side with our keys and played a major role in coordinating EVERYTHING that each department needs in order to bring those scripted words to life on the small and big screen. Our hands are in every aspect of prep, production and many initial phases of post. This is a position that is too often chalked up to just being the guys and gals in the office, but I’m here to tell you that those guys and gals are an integral part of the producing team, which is recognized by The Producers Guild, and while our permanent address may be in the production office, we spend much of our time bouncing between the office and set, in the trenches with our crew, as fellow craftspeople. It is my hope that Variety will, at some point, choose to include our craft in the upcoming Artisan column.

  5. Dennis Stuart Murphy says:

    Wow, what a fantastic idea to cover us below the line troops; thousands of us read Variety every week already.
    As a New York ex pat and a California resident for almost 30 years I cant wait for real analysis of why really there is no work in Los Angeles, and stories of how those of us over 50 who are still working do it, and how those of us who are not working are coping.

  6. Stephen says:

    What about a sidebar that highlights the tattoos grips have and the stories behind them? Or maybe a sidebar where art department guys share their favorite Simpsons quotes? Or sound guys can talk about their favorite craft snackzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  7. Susan Baronoff says:

    This is a terrific idea. I HOPE it will provide new opportunities for Variety to tell the stories of those talented and hardworking writers, producers, and editors who have turned unscripted television into television’s most popular and most lucrative profit sector, and who are still without any union representation or protection, which means: no health insurance or pension, no residuals, no reliable start/stop dates, and no limits to the number of hours they can be required to be on the job. Good luck with Artisans!

  8. JC Cummings says:

    Great and obvious idea, it will be good to read about the real industry, not just talent and heads if the big 6 studios. Looking forward to it, never know it may be an element that pushes me to advertise.

  9. This is great news. I’ll be in-touch Peter and look forward to reading…

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