Resources for Creators of Digital Entertainment Content and Technology during the Coronavirus Crisis
Our thanks to everyone in our community for rallying and supporting in whatever way you have been able!
We are living through a remarkable moment of history, one that, rarely, affects most of the global populous at the same time. It is worrying, but, this too shall pass and at some point we will get back to something approaching the normality we knew a few short months ago!
If there is anything that team UDEN can do to help you through this crisis, please don't hesitate to reach out.
Below are a handful of links* that we hope members of our community will find helpful during this time of crisis. If you have others that you have found to be useful, please add them as a comment, below, or post them on the UDEN blogs here.
Utah has rapidly moved from red through orange and now much of the state is in "yellow" phase, meaning the risk is low. That said, new cases are still happening, so as more businesses reopen and we get back to traveling more, each of us needs to play our part. You know the rule book by now - social distancing, hand-washing, face masks. The more we can do that, the more 'normal' our lives can be.
Latest news and resources for the state - including latest on directives about re-opening of business - can be found here: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/.
This isn't a political point nor is it advocating a tyrannical position: evidence has shown that places where mask use is common, transmission of the virus is significantly reduced. You can choose not to wear one because you feel safe, but that's missing the point. The more of us mask, wash hands and socially distance, the smaller the spread will be, especially important as we resume 'normal' activities.
Go on. You can do it.
You can get a free Utah mask here: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/mask/
Getting Back To Work
Not all of the state will move to 'yellow' at the same time, so check your local news or local government for latest in your region. Full details about the phases and what they mean can be found here: https://gomb.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/UtahLeads-April2020-v20.pdf
Small Business Loans
If you were in business before February 15th and had made payments to employees (including yourself if self-employed), then the $2 trillion stimulus that Congress passed could provide some much needed cashflow for you; indeed it appears that if you can keep your headcount the same then in effect the loan could be forgiven, you only need to payback the interest on the amount your borrow. It is part of the Paycheck Protection Program. Useful article here: https://www.fastcompany.com/90482750/applying-for-a-small-business-disaster-loan-what-to-know-about-the-covid-19-stimulus-package. It is being managed by banks and it seems they are prioritizing existing customers, so a good first step would be to check with your bank, see if they have a PPP plan on offer and apply via them.
Of course, the original fund was quickly depleted and further funds were allocated. If you didn't already apply, below are some resources UDEN members who have applied have found useful:
Q&A with John Briggs, Incite Tax: SBA Loans Frequently Asked Questions Video
Summary of loans on offer: https://www.sba.gov/page/disaster-loan-applications
Stimulus payment checks
The Government has begun mailing checks.
Tax filers: did you file a tax return for 2018 or last year? If so, this should be automatic, plus there is a link on the following site where you can add your bank details, for direct deposit: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments - you can also use this link to change your mailing address.
Non tax-filers: If you didn't file a tax return, you can find out more details here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments
Questions? Are you eligible? How much will you get? More here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center
The deadlines to FILE and PAY federal income taxes are extended to July 15, 2020. More information here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.
The same is true for individual Utah income taxes, also extended to July 15th. More information here: https://incometax.utah.gov/
You may be eligible to file for unemployment in a number of circumstances arising from the Coronavirus pandemic, such as:
- your are furloughed from work but expect to return to your job at some point in the future;
- you are self-quarantined without pay but expect to return to work;
- you are still working but hours have been reduced;
- your employer let you go as they reduce the workforce;
More details from Utah Workforce Services here: https://jobs.utah.gov/covid19/uifaqemployees.pdf
Utah Film Commission - local film and TV resources - https://film.utah.gov/blog/covid19-resources/
IGDA - videogame developer resources - https://igda.org/resources/covid-19-resources/
How to transition from working from home to being a remote studio - http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-03-30-how-to-become-a-remote-games-studio
If you want to connect with local people that are in your industry - THINK LOCAL. Check out the Upcoming Events page on the UDEN website and support your fellow industry workers. If you are hosting an event - yes! Even a virtual one - that might be of interest to UDEN members, post it on the upcoming events page - it’s free!
If you are looking for a skilled contractor, whether that be a programmer, artist, producer, VFX editor, sound composer, or anything - HIRE LOCAL. Look at the UDEN Resources Directory of digital entertainment creators in Utah and see if you can find what you need there. It's organized by category to make it easier to find what you are looking for. If you are looking for new clients, make sure to add yourself to this UDEN resources directory. It’s free!
You can make a difference. Together we make the difference.
Working from home
Our sector possibly has a higher proportion of people working from home than others given that so many are contractors or work for small businesses. Nevertheless, here are a couple of articles about successfully working from home and why it might become the new 'norm' for more people:
How do I use videoconferencing for keeping in touch with family on my tablet or phone? https://www.cnet.com/news/10-free-video-chat-apps-to-use-if-youre-social-distancing/
Using Skype - https://www.wikihow.com/Do-a-Video-Conference-in-Skype
Tips on managing a meeting via videoconferencing - https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/25/technology/personaltech/online-video-meetings-etiquette-virus.html and https://www.forbes.com/sites/adriandearnell/2020/03/23/coronavirus-how-to-succeed-at-video-conferencing/#62e4efdc60b5
Testing in Utah - As of April 17, a less-restrictive testing criteria has been put into place. Now, people can qualify for testing if they exhibit just one possible symptom of COVID-19, whether cough, fever or shortness of breath, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
If you are an employer looking for temporary workers with skills that our highly creative and technical UDEN community posses, please post them on the UDEN jobs board, here. Please mark them "Short Term".
It follows that if you have lost a job, or are furloughed and would like temporary work, please check the UDEN jobs board to see who may be posting, here.
Here are a couple of links that I found useful for physical and mental health:
Children and Coronavirus
Activities - Spy Hop is running a series of fascinating FREE online classes for kids aged 10 - 19, in film, design and music. Topics vary and have included 'Making You Own Light Kit', 'Lyric Writing', 'Table Top Game Design', 'Lighting Technique and Specialties', 'Chord Progressions', 'Photo Editing' and 'Making Sprites for Video Games'. Check-out the latest here: https://spyhop.org/program/spy-hop-rewired/
Cornonavirus news and resources
COVID-19 Case Count in Utah - https://coronavirus.utah.gov/case-counts/
University of Utah Healthcare - https://healthcare.utah.edu/coronavirus/
Intermountain Healthcare - https://intermountainhealthcare.org/covid19-coronavirus/
Silicon Slopes are holding virtual Town Halls with the community every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4 PM MDT to discuss needs, questions, and updates regarding the COVID-19 situation in Utah - more at https://siliconslopes.com/. Additionally, they have created a Slack workspace to make information and discussions as central and accessible to all as possible - here: https://siliconslopescomm.slack.com/join/shared_invite/zt-cu6eephy-QQKrDbv9Yu8RsQepa92NNA
Domo - Status State by State - https://www.domo.com/covid19/geographics#compare-states
How you can help
Silicon Slopes - donate money, volunteer, give supplies, stay informed - https://www.slopesserves.com/
Donate personal protective equipment -
United Ways Response Fund - https://uw.org/covid19-community-fund/
Ty Burrell Downtown Food Service Workers Fund - https://downtownslc.org/TipYourServer
Until we meet again -- please be safe, stay 6-feet apart, wash your hands, wear a mask, think about others, help others; together we'll get through this and all enjoy the bright tomorrow.
If you want to find out more about UDEN and our mission, see here.
-- THE VOLUNTEERS AT TEAM UDEN
* All links worked at time of publishing (April 10th 2020). In this fast changing situation these links may have changed. We apologize if you find any broken links or incorrect information. Please let us know. Thank you! **