Well, as already has been said, the most obvious change can be seen at your local Odeon, Everyman or cinema of any other name. They are closed. And, to counter this we are all watching masses of films and programmes from streaming services.
Guilty secret: I am getting hooked on ‘Schitt’s Creek’! I wasn’t sure at first but it is catching hold of me.
Confessions aside, here are some of the key changes that Covid has made to film and TV productions:
Production time is money, so all productions want to minimise their shooting schedules. These days, according to most producers I’ve spoken, shoots are taking on average 25-30% longer. There are lengthy procedures to ensure film sets are compliant with Covid regulations. Every time you move on a set, or move a lot, rigorous procedures need to be activated, and everything has to be sanitised.
Film Festivals and Markets
This is really bad, sad news, they are now all virtual. Well, to be honest, it’s not all bad news. No more awful waits at airports or eye watering costs travelling to, and staying at film festivals. Of course in a virtual world you can attend more, and far flung, festivals, those beyond your reach or budget pre Covid. But I did so much miss Cannes this year. La Croisette, the networking events, the premieres, the food (especially the morning croissants), the wine (of course), but alright, not the rain!
A lot of older (only by age) talent has to be careful, and many of these actors are avoiding working where possible. Also, I understand many of ‘A-listers’ who can afford to put their feet up and stay based in one place for a change, are taking this opportunity to take time out. It’s worth noting that while the crew can undertake their work fully protected, that’s not possible for actors in front of the camera.
The push back from the major studios and big productions has no doubt opened up opportunities for the independent sector. There is clear evidence of pent up demand for product. Some independent productions now have a greater opportunity to sell their films for wider release and get them shown in mediums that previously they would have struggled to break into.
On the whole the industry has proven its resilience. With welcome news of a vaccine what will the impact be, will everything revert, or will some changes stay in place? Watch this space…