IATSE Member Daniel McManus Talks Returning to Work and Behind-the-Scenes of the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards

IATSE Member, Daniel McManus

Local One and 4 Member, Daniel McManus works as a Crew Chief and says he’s thrilled to be returning back to work.
“In March, I remember sitting on the set of a Broadway show when I began receiving emails for gig cancellations,” he says. “Within one week, all my work began to disappear. My gigs from the Garden to Barclays Center, all began to cancel day after day.”

McManus has been an IA member for the past fifteen years and says the industry has never experienced anything like this before.

He says it felt great to be among his fellow Sisters and Brothers on the set for the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards.

“I’m smiling now, while thinking about it,” he expressed. “It was an amazing feeling to be working on the set of the VMA’s. It was tough not being able to hug or shake hands with any of my IA family but it was great to see everybody.”

IATSE Communications Department had the opportunity to catch up with Daniel to discuss the future and current safety guidelines in the workplace.

Read below to see what McManus had to say about how COVID-19 has reshaped the entertainment industry, returning to work and words of encouragement for his fellow IA Sisters and Brothers.

Q: Is this your first work assignment since the COVID-19 outbreak?
A: No, I took some work at Showman Fabricators and installed a drive-in movie screen in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens.

Q: If so, how does it feel to return to work?
A: This being my first actual project back on my usual side of the industry, it felt amazing to be a part of something of this magnitude especially during these times.

Q: What new measures are you happy to see being taken to ensure safety for everyone?
A: I really appreciated the safety measures MTV/Viacom took to make sure everyone on the site was tested regularly and always wearing masks but it also made everyone on the job site feel safer to work during these conditions.

Q: How do you feel COVID-19 has reshaped the way our industry will work in production moving forward?
A: I’m not sure what the future holds as far as a vaccine and if this is our new norm but I can say it has definitely put a hold on everything we do and even has made many feel cautious to come back to an industry, I love so much. I do feel this is a huge step in the right direction though and showing everyone that we took on this show and had great success going by all protocols and COVID-19 related guidelines. We really showed the wheels can get back in motion!

Q: For those fellow Sisters and Brothers of the IA that have not returned to work yet, what are some encouraging words you would share?
A: Stay Strong. This is all new to us and many are in tough times but we are not alone. We are all Brothers and Sisters and willing to help one another in anyway shape or form. That’s what I learned about being in a Union before this all happened and especially while this is going on. We are a brother and sisterhood. And that makes us stronger than any set back that comes our way.

“COVID-19 has taught us to focus on our future. I encourage my IA family to always do your best on every gig, because you never know when the next gig might be your last gig.”
~ Daniel McManus

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