You have the power to change the film, TV, and cinema industry

Rewrite the script on mental health by taking part in the latest Looking Glass Survey 
1 July 2024 
Headshot of Marcus Ryder.
Marcus Ryder is Chief Executive Officer at the Film and TV Charity

My first experience of helping to conduct a survey was back in 1991, when I had a part time job as a census enumerator. One of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had, I spent most of my time having doors slammed in my face, hearing a lot of words that I don’t think are appropriate to commit to in a blog post, and even being threatened with dogs. In the end, it turned out I wasn’t the only enumerator that had problems getting people to fill out their census that year. 

With over a million people uncounted for, the 1991 census also coincided with the introduction of the controversial poll tax, which made many wary of answering the doors to strangers! As the census is used to decide how public finances should be allocated, which groups the government should focus its services towards and how to form public policy, the irony was, it would be those in need the most, whose experiences failed to be captured. 

30 years later, I have hung up my census enumerator clip board. But now, as a CEO of the Film and TV Charity, I find myself grappling with the same issues that I did in 1991. Only this time I’m worried about the policies that govern the film, TV, and cinema industry. 

Which is why I want to tell you why you should fill out the most important and impactful mental health survey for people working behind the scenes.

What is the Looking Glass Survey?

Five years ago, the Film and TV Charity launched the Looking Glass Survey, a comprehensive research project looking at the mental health of people working in our industry. It was the first of its kind and sent shockwaves throughout the executives at broadcasters, streamers, film studios, and large independent production companies. For the first time the reality of poor mental health in our industry was laid out for everyone to see. 

It literally held up a mirror to the real issues impacting our workforce, it changed conversation, changed working practices, and has even influenced government policies (last week I gave evidence to a Common’s Select Committee and drew heavily on the results of the last Looking Glass Survey). 

Why you should take part 

To have the biggest impact, we need to hear from people from every sector of our industry, so that everyone’s needs are considered. In our previous research – unsurprisingly – we found women have different experiences and mental health needs than men. We found Black people have different mental health priorities than white people and Asian people. And disabled workers face different mental health challenges than non-disabled people.

If we want to change the conversation and make sure everyone’s issues are dealt with and given equal weight, we need everyone to fill it out! It takes 15 minutes, but by giving us your take, your experiences will be heard by the most important people in film, TV, and cinema.

The raw data will determine how we as a charity focus our energies around the subject of mental health, and which arguments we might be able to win when talking to the powerbrokers in our industry.

My days as a census enumerator may now be a distant memory (and I haven’t been chased by a dog since), but gathering information is still just as important as ever – it can change people’s lives.

Black and white photo of a camera operator setting up a shot. They are in an outdoor carpark area, crouched down with the camera sitting on the ground.

Help us rewrite the script

Take part in the 2024 Looking Glass Survey