ICYMI: How 2020 Changed the Production Industry

2020 was a busy year, to say the least. In the midst of a global pandemic, rising social injustices, and political unrest, the production industry underwent many changes. From filming shutting down, to new modes of production, and to an ever-urgent imperative for more diversity across all areas of entertainment, and more.

To kick off this new year, we’re sharing some ways 2020 changed our industry, in case you missed them.

The Fall of Cinemas

Physical theaters were hit hard this year during the rise of COVID-19. Theaters were shut down for months in some areas and afterward had operational capacities drastically reduced. Theater jobs have been lost in droves as studios moved to digitally release their marquee films on SVOD platforms rather than at the cinema. Many theaters went into bankruptcy and required economic relief to keep their doors open.

We’ve yet to fully understand what this continued pandemic will mean for theaters, but we’re excited that the most recent COVID-19 relief bill will offer aid by the billions to this industry. Read our “Billions in aid for the production industry, but for what exactly?” blog for more information about what the bill will fund.

The Rise of Drive-In Theaters

The shutdown of modern theaters gave rise to an old favorite. Drive-in movie theaters were assumed to be a thing of the past, however, since the pandemic, they have been resurrected. Many people were looking for ways to safely get out of the house without risking the spread of COVID-19 and drive-ins were the perfect solution for folks who loved the experience of watching movies in public.

Discover how drive-ins created economic alternatives for theater businesses this year in our “Drive-In Theaters and Where to Find Them” blog.

Leading with Streaming

The pandemic proved to major media companies that competing with Netflix is the best way to survive in a world where most people were confined to their homes. Disney has been heavily pushing its Disney Plus content. Hulu is offering other subscription options and recently reorganized its executive operations to focus on streaming. Meanwhile, according to Variety:

“WarnerMedia and Comcast are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into adding programming for HBO Max and Peacock, respectively, and Viacom is readying Paramount Plus, the re-branded CBS All Access streaming service…The streaming wars promise to grow more pitched in the weeks and months ahead.”

Pushing Hybrid Releases

Let us not forget the big news (and scandal) when Warner Bros. announced its entire 2021 slate would debut simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters. While the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t seem to be letting up (especially with new virus variants popping up all over the world), production companies are already strategizing ways to ensure the success of their films in 2021.

With many still afraid to be in close, confined quarters with others, studios are already launching hybrid movie releases: where movies are available for streaming and in some select theaters on the release day. According to Variety:

Wonder Woman 1984, the superhero sequel starring Gal Gadot, broke from industry tradition as the first Warner Bros. movie to debut on the company’s streaming service HBO Max — and in select movie theaters — on [Christmas] day. The movie was available to subscribers at no extra charge. Pixar’s Soul, featuring the vocal talents of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey and Daveed Diggs, debuted exclusively on Disney Plus in the U.S. and other countries where the streaming service is available. In China, where Disney Plus isn’t accessible, Soul is playing on the big screen.”

Remote Short Films

Being confined at home forced many industry creatives to think innovatively about how to produce and release content. During the summer there was an interesting trend of films being made entirely remotely. Notable actors Zendaya and John David Washington secretly made a film during quarantine called Malcolm & Marie, but they are not the only ones. Other smaller productions have followed suit all over the world.

Check out some examples of these remote shorts in our “Staying Motivated” blog post.

The Importance of Representation and Anti-Racism

We’ve known the entertainment industry has a troubling history with diversity, equity, inclusion and representation of women and people of color. So in the wake of the killing of American citizen George Floyd by the police, people of all races and backgrounds took action against historic and current injustices against Black communities.

The outrage pressured many in the entertainment industry to rethink representation. According to Forbes:

“Spotlights were shone on certain films and TV shows with questionable messages, inappropriate behaviour was highlighted, many spoke out across social media, and there was a viral blackout Tuesday trend many took part in.”

Overall, the media industry was certainly at the forefront of the campaign that has and continues to create societal altering shifts through empathy and most importantly widespread education.

We still think there’s a lot more to be done. As Michael B. Jordan asked during a Black Lives Matter rally in June:

“Where is the challenge to commit to Black hiring? Black content lead by Black executives, Black consultants. Are you policing our storytelling as well?”

Film Connx is also committed to diversity in the industry, which is why we launched Include, Film Connx’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion division that makes it easier for stakeholders to hire women and professionals of color, who are underrepresented in the film industry. Find out more here: www.filmconnx.com/Include.

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How 2020 Changed Film Connx

Film Connx is fortunate to have contributed to COVID-19 mitigation, worked hand-in-hand with the Biden-Harris campaign and experienced tremendous growth this year. Here are a few of our most exciting highlights.

Film Connx 2.0

Our most noticeable change came in the form of the custom-built v2 of Film Connx’s platform, which boasts increased functionality, improved features and a brand new look and feel. Check us out: www.filmconnx.com.

Film Connx Partners

We announced an exciting new partnership with Sony Entertainment’s Legacy Recordings Division to provide music production talent.

We were thrilled to recently place a Film Connx candidate with Marvel Studios. She now reports to the Director of She-Hulk, which begins shooting in Atlanta in January.

We partnered with Shared Harvest Foundation to provide COVID testing support to a Los Angeles-based production, to enable the cast and crew to quickly and safely restart their project.

Additional 2020 partners include Georgia Production Partnership, Black Women Film Network, and Vets2Set. We’ll be sharing more details about these partnerships in the coming months.

Happy New Year!

While our industry will never be the same, we’re proud of how our company has contributed to its growth in 2020 and look forward to even more in this new year.

Ready to grow your production career with us? Find your next production job

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