We’re Back! But for How Long?
As we head into the end of 2020, we are reflecting on how the past year has completely uprooted and changed the film industry. We have seen major corporations adjust their business strategies and C-suites, cinemas close, thousands of people furloughed, and beloved TV shows canceled. However, we have also seen new and innovative ways of keeping the film industry alive. An impressive number of productions are well underway or completed, award shows and film festivals have been produced without a hitch, and highly anticipated films are leveraging streaming for their releases.
As we have seen throughout 2020, one must be ready for anything to happen. As November approaches and as we settle into the start of winter – the year’s last major hurdle – we are gauging what may happen in the near future by what 2020 has taught us. In this week’s blog, we take a look at the current state of productions, what is to come, and the likelihood that filming will last with the impending arrival of the winter coronavirus storm. “Winter is coming!” Enjoy!
What We Have Seen
Since Spring and the beginning of summer, we have seen plenty of productions re-start to meet deadlines for the screen. The journey has been tough, as unions like SAG-AFTRA implemented new coronavirus compliance rules for its members, COVID-19 cases made their way to sets, producers revised budgets to incorporate new safety and compliance procedures and costs, and much more.
Several shows managed to make it through the thicket. Many of the successful production wraps came from larger corporations like CBS, ABC, and NBC, as they have sufficient resources to ensure the safety of their cast and crew and to get shows ready for television. While most shows are filmed and ready for debut later this year and CBS just announced premiere dates for its scripted shows, there is one highly anticipated show that has already made it to our screens.
The Bachelorette has been highly anticipated by its fan base and filmmakers alike. Production started just as California enforced its shutdowns. Once the production had the green light to resume, the show implemented the bubble method. Crew and cast members were quarantined and tested for two weeks before official filming. While the content of the show has been rumored to be a rollercoaster, the show successfully made it to our tv screens and so far it has delivered just as expected. While the grandeur of whimsical travel episodes is missing from this season, The Bachelorette is doing a seamless job of blending the realities of filming during coronavirus while creating the fantasy it does every season.
What Is to Come
Following suit of trailblazers like Tyler Perry, CBS, ABC, and more, many production companies have adapted similar models to resume production. Several Netflix shows, including Stranger Things, The Crown, Sex Education, and Lucifer have all gone back into production in their respective spaces. Other big-name productions starting up this fall include Olivia Wilde’s feature Don’t Worry Darling, DC’s The Batman, which briefly shut down after star Robert Pattinson tested positive for Coronavirus, and The Little Mermaid.
While most major productions have the budget to create a bubble, it seems the most popular method for COVID compliance is weekly testing. This method involves cast and crew being tested at least once a week depending on the individual’s “class” or “zone,” i.e. cast, Director, Director of Photography. Frequent testing appears to be the most cost-effective choice, and it also controls the potential for new outbreaks among those involved in the production.
With so many successful shoots happening, it is no surprise new projects big and small are rumored to be moving from pre-production into production every day, but will it last?
Winter Is Coming
No matter how hard the entertainment industry tries to move forward past the pandemic, it cannot escape the realities of our world…especially as we still do not have a vaccine for the virus. Coronavirus cases in the United States are spiking in most states, and the situation is estimated to get much worse as flu season starts. We at Film Connx have an optimistic outlook for the future — but like the rest of the world, we proceed with caution. We will definitely make it through winter, however, we might not see as many productions successfully wrapping by their preferred deadlines.
With positive Coronavirus cases increasing, we hypothesize that shutdowns may occur again in select cities and/or states, and if this occurs it will undoubtedly affect on the film industry. Even more daunting: there is no known end date. Winter can last well past February and given the current political climate of the United States and other prominent countries, we may see COVID spikes for quite some time. Will mass unemployment persist or worsen? Will more productions be canceled or postponed? Only time will tell. Until then, the industry needs to remain focused on COVID compliance implementation and testing, wrapping as soon as possible, and supporting one another during these unprecedented times.