By Michael Dorausch, D.C.
The Writers Guild of America strike has affected many businesses that you wouldn’t necessarily suspect had anything to do with the film industry. A chiropractor’s office located nearby a major studio would be one of those businesses.
Two days into the writers’ strike visits from people in the motion picture and film industry increased significantly during morning hour shifts in our Los Angeles chiropractic office. The reason was a number shows had gone dark and people suddenly found themselves free to engage in other activities, rather than putting in typically super long days, that often prevented them from making it to the office.
We didn’t see many writers during that week. However, there were caterers, property masters, hair stylists, makeup artists, camera operators, and people involved at all levels of production, and moods were mixed as to what was going on in the industry. It was a reminder for me as to how entwined our small business was with the film industry, and then I realized outside of metro areas like Los Angeles and New York City, there probably were not too many chiropractic offices that served large groups of people in the motion picture business.
Personally, I am thankful for the industry and the way we’ve been treated. Our office has been filled with many creative, talented, and hard-working folks, and I still enjoy the perks (like free craft service lunches) when I get called to stages at local studios. Those calls have decreased in the past three weeks, and even though people are making in office visits, I am looking forward to seeing everyone go back to their regular schedules.
I’ve written about LA before, but I don’t recall ever getting into any details regarding the motion picture industry, and how it relates to the health-care industry of chiropractic.
Unions and Insurance
There are currently three types of insurance typically used for coverage of chiropractic care in the film industry. These don’t include health-care plans commonly used by studio executives, office workers, and related companies that work independently of the industry’s unions. The 3 plans are…
Writers’ Guild – Industry Health Fund (based in Burbank, California)
Screen Actors Guild (based in Los Angeles, CA 90036)
Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans (based in Studio City, CA 91604)
Insurance policies are different for each plan, and as a result chiropractic care is reimbursed differently for each of these three major funds. For example, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) typically involves deductibles of $500-$750 per calendar year for active members, with as many as 12 chiropractic visits per quarter applied to coverage. The Motion Picture plan rarely has deductibles and services such as x-rays and examinations are likely to be covered through a members benefits. Generally, all three of the plans provide for chiropractic services to all active members of the above-mentioned groups.
Writers are those that create content for the television shows and movies we enjoy, screen actors are those working on camera (including your Hollywood celebrities), and people in the Motion Picture Industry (MPI) are most frequently those behind the scenes. One example is the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) such as the Local 44 (these folks work hard).
I’m not too familiar with filming locations outside of the Los Angeles area but here are some of the more common locations that have involved calls for stage services.
Sony Picture Television Studios (Culver City, CA 90232)
Twentieth Century Fox (Los Angeles, CA 90035)
CBS Studios (Los Angeles, CA. 90036)
NBC Studios (Burbank, CA 91505)
Paramount Studios (Hollywood, CA 90038)
There is also a sprinkling of smaller filming locations in places such as Manhattan beach and adjacent to Playa Vista. I am most familiar with those since these are all within a 25 mile radius of my office. I see quite a few people that work in the Santa Clarita area and other outlying areas of Los Angeles County, but I’m grateful that they choose other chiropractors when services are required in those areas. If you don’t know, traffic in Los Angeles can be hell.
Don’t think that all of us in Los Angeles and New York City are chiropractors to the stars, there are far less celebrities working in the industry than there are writers and the others that I mentioned above. That being said I do always ask celebrities I care for to consider thanking their chiropractor (after they thank their mom) when making acceptance speeches at the Academy Awards. Doesn’t hurt to ask. 🙂
Chiropractic services for the film industry breakdown into three categories that I could think of. There are those services that are provided inside one’s chiropractic office (these are the easiest), services provided at a studio (such as a stage on a lot) or location (I’ve been to downtown LA more times than I can count), and house calls (mostly for celebrities but it’s not exclusive). If you are thinking house calls to homes of celebrities is exciting, remember the traffic factor and the situation factor (like someone wanting to be adjusted with less than an hour’s notice because they’ve got a plane to catch), and the excitement fades.
If you are a chiropractor and it comes to stage settings and location calls, it’s a good idea to check with the production office as work may be billed to the show, the studio, or even a third-party agency, rather than an insurance company. It’s also a good idea to know you have a Lot Pass so you don’t appear like a nut job at the security gate, when you get called out to the set. Also, if you’re adjusting someone while the red light is on, you’d better be very very quiet.
Spoils of War
With all the above being said I can’t express enough how much fun the whole experience can be. I’m still like a little kid with bottled up excitement when I get invited to particular sets and locations. The generosity shown from the people we serve is immense. There’s always lots of promotional schwag and other things to be shared, and I still get a kick out of those kinds of things.
For the record, not all chiropractors are fond of the term crack (or any variation of the term) when associated with one’s spine. In many cases a more appropriate term would be adjustment, relating to a specific adjustment to a spinal segment of one’s vertebral column.
Call your local chiropractor today, they’d be happy to see you’re back!
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