(REUTERS) – The red carpet is more than just an accessory in show biz events, but instead an iconic symbol in Hollywood. Red carpets were such a big deal that rolling out the red carpet became an event in itself.
During regular award seasons, Toni Kilicoglu’s Red Carpet Systems was supplying carpets to 25 to 50 events a week. This including parties that are thrown for Vanity Fair magazine, Elton John, and Clive Davis. He always provided more than just red-carpet rentals, he provided lights, steps, repeat boards, railings, and studios.
“The record is 15 parties in one day,” Kilicoglu told Reuters. “During awards season, I don’t sleep much. It’s just nonstop,” he said of his pre-pandemic life.
The pandemic has had a drastic impact on his business. Kilicoglu estimates an 80% loss in revenue in his events business due to the coronavirus.
“It’s sad, it’s depressing, but there’s nothing we can do. We just have to wait and be patient,” he said.
Kilicoglu is not the only business in showbiz events losing revenue due to the pandemic. It also threw out of work the security guards, florists, caterers, waiters, limousine drivers, and photographers who make a living from the parties, movie premieres, and lunches that take place around the Golden Globes, Grammys, Oscars, and multiple other show business events between January and March.
Due to award shows mostly online this year, without live audiences, red carpets, parties, and screaming fans, those behind the scenes are struggling to make ends meet.
Photographer Alberto Rodriguez is usually finding the right position on a celebrity red carpet during Hollywood’s hectic awards season. He was a pretty big deal during red carpet season but unfortunately, his job ceased to exist after his last gig the premiere of ‘Mulan’, where he was Disney’s personal and intimate house photographer.
A 2013 report by the Los Angeles Economic Development Council said that Oscar season injects about $130 million into the city’s economy every year.
So how much is being lost in income to people who work during awards season?
“Into the billions of dollars when you collectively put together what it would cost and what you spend for security, for catering, for lighting, for publicists,” said Mike Zimet, owner of Mike Zimet Protective Services.
“You got to wear a tux, and you got to be uncomfortable all day, but it’s really like the pinnacle of the entertainment industry, so I miss it,” Rodriguez says.