To say 2020 was a tough year would be an understatement. While most industries have been hit by COVID-19, the arts and entertainment are among the hardest hit – in March 120,000 US crew members were registered as unemployed.
The need to maintain social distancing has not only brought many productions to a standstill, but also means fewer audiences are visiting theaters. While the larger studios may be able to absorb financial success and have the resources to change work practices more smoothly, smaller and independent productions find the situation more difficult.
Fortunately, working in a creative industry tends to produce creative solutions. Anyone who has produced an independent film knows that sometimes you have to go non-traditional ways to get your production over the finish line. This pandemic is no different.
Let's take a look at some production areas that you can adapt to the current climate.
Funding is difficult at best. However you shoot it, filmmaking is usually an expensive undertaking. In times of economic turmoil like our current pandemic, investors tend to be reluctant to take a risk on production that may not result in cash returns. This doesn't mean the funding is out of your reach.
If you already have an online following, Crowdfunding can be a great option. Although more people are unemployed, it doesn't seem to have too much of an impact on campaigns. Kickstarter reported that not only the number of visitors matched those before the pandemic, but also that the success rates have increased. However, if you don't have the support crowdfunding makes available, grants are still available, some of which are specifically targeted at productions or filmmakers affected by COVID-19.
Many of us finance our short films ourselves through credit cards and loans. However, there are times when the pandemic disrupted both your production and your ability to make payments on these loans. When your credit was so significant that you were forced to Register for bankruptcyPlease do not consider this to be the end of your film career.
You aren't the first filmmaker to run into funding, and you can get your bankroll back through tactics like keeping regular payments on bills and checking credits for lenders. In the meantime, it's worth packing the work you've already completed on your film into a showreel and reaching out to investors or grant providers for closing funds. This provides a concrete proof of concept that can give the participants more confidence in your project.
Work with the restrictions
Despite the fact that COVID-19 is still very present, not all filmmakers have stopped production. Individual states have issued guidelines for the media and even some exceptions. The Open Texas Order of the GovernorThis enables, for example, the issuing of media permits provided that production companies adhere to security protocols, e.g. B. Maintaining a 6-foot separation between the crew and crew members. Part of your customization process must be to research the restrictions for your location and plan to strictly apply them.
Of course, this may require you to make script or shot changes. Consider whether it is imperative to have two actors in close proximity during the scenes. Can you switch dialogue scenes from 2-shots to over-the-shoulder shots, where the actor being shot from behind is wearing a face mask?
Use the grammar of cinematography to make creative and confident decisions here. Remember that your crew and cast are professionals and can come up with suggestions that will change this situation Lemon in lemonade.
It is also important to ensure that as many crew members as possible wear personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout the shoot and that regular tests are carried out. The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has published a list of resources for filmmakers to keep their jobs safe, including testing facilities and PPE suppliers.
However, one of the biggest adjustments you and your crew will have to make due to COVID restrictions is how you think. We have seen how inconsistent in business and government, lack of stability, and weak leadership only serves to exacerbate the challenges of change during this pandemic. A production cannot be any different.
You must set clear goals for safety and cleanliness and communicate these clearly to all crew members. Producers and creative leaders should present a unified approach to foster confidence and a sense of stability in turbulent times.
One of the effects of this pandemic has been the widespread adoption of work from home. The films that were in post-production at the start of COVID-19 were in a fortunate position as it turned out that many of these tasks – from computer generated special effects to marketing – could be done outside of the studios. However, if you're still in the process of shooting or about to start, it's important to consider which roles can be adjusted for remote operation.
While being in the same place is convenient for everyone, it doesn't require writers to be on the set. There will always be times when script adjustments need to be made, but you can use communication and project management software like Slack or Asana to arrange immediate needs for new pages and ensure that all crew members can see what changes to production are required made. Similarly, editors can start editing remotely, with daily newspapers shared across secure cloud platforms.
If you are still in the early stages of preproduction, it may also be wise to check that live action is the right choice for your movie. Animation is one of the minimally disturbed Industries at this point as all elements of the process can be done remotely. It may not have been part of your original vision for your project, but sometimes limitations can produce interesting creative results.
Film production has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as filmmakers we need to adapt by understanding the limitations that exist and using resources that are not strictly traditional. These limitations may be temporary, but the challenge will open up new possibilities and unlock strategies that we can employ in the future.
About Adrian Johansen
Adrian Johansen is a writer based in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She loves to share information with others and learn in the process! You can find more of her writing on Twitter and be satisfied.