Resources for Creators of Digital Entertainment Content and Technology during the Coronavirus Crisis
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 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
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
Stimulus payment checks
At the time of writing, there was no guidance on this from the IRS. It should appear here when the information is available: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus
Small Business Disaster Loans
If you were in business before February 15th and had made payments to employees or contractors, 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 (eg keep paying your workers), then in effect the loan is 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, and you can apply here: https://www.sba.gov/page/disaster-loan-applications
Q&A with John Briggs, Incite Tax: SBA Loans Frequently Asked Questions Video
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
What to do regarding 'shelter-in-place' or 'lockdown'
President Trump has extended social distancing guidelines until the end of April, and all indications are that this is likely to extend further; indeed more drastic measures will become necessary at a national level as the exponential curves we have all become so familiar with, continue their vertical trend, until such times as they shown signs of flattening. So what do those more stringent measures look like?
Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion about the different terms and restrictions. Essentially, these are measures intended to restrict movement and social contact of a community. Shelter-in-place is usually less restrictive than a lockdown, but these terms vary depending on who issued the order, so in the event that your county, or the Governor issue or update either, check the specific instructions and restrictions they order. It should be on all the local news channels as well as your local government websites.
For example, Summit County is under a shelter-in-place order already as it is one of the hardest hit per capita by the Coronavirus. This means residents are encouraged to stay in their homes; they can still go to work if it is open, shop at grocery stores, do yard work, exercise or drive - but to restrict these activities as much as practically possible to reduce the person-to-person infection rate.
The State of Utah declared a "level 1" state of emergency, following up on the "Stay Safe, Stay Home" directive through April 13th, applicable to everyone in Utah, encouraging everyone to stay and work at home as much as possible, limiting social interactions and travel, while adhering at all times to a strict hygiene standard (esp hand washing). High risk individuals (older, those with existing health issues) need to take extra caution and act with urgency.
A lockdown, by contrast, seeks to restrict residents to their homes - period - under penalty of law, such as the measures in force in California, with leaving the house allowable only for a very limited set of reasons, including specific job categories, food shopping or other essential activities.
Salt Lake City has issued a state of emergency and Salt Lake County issued a 'Stay at home' order, which is similar to that enacted by the State, but one that mandates many businesses close and directs us all to limit trips outside to "essential only"; County Mayor Jenny Wilson clarified, "Residents can still hike, walk their dogs and jog outside", but per the Salt Lake Tribune, "The mayor does not want people to play team sports or gather at parks. It comes, too, after the county already issued a health order restricting groups to no more than 10 individuals." Egregious violations of the order can result in a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or up to six months in jail. Tooele County and Wasatch County have also issued such orders.
While the State is being very trusting and hope that we citizens will be responsible enough to not need tougher measures, it is worth getting prepared because, assuming Utah will follow the trends of everywhere else in the world, a more stringent lockdown is highly likely in the coming weeks. No, this doesn't mean stockpile toilet paper or food - just be sufficiently prepared to be at home for more extended periods than usual.
Cornonavirus news and resources
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
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, 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 (March 31 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! **