What Being a Director Looks Like in a Global Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic has turned nearly all aspects of our lives upside down, and the film industry is no exception.
Without a doubt, the film industry was in flux before the Global pandemic hit. However, after nearly a year of hundreds of movies getting postponed and theatres being shut down, the film industry’s future is even less certain.
Continue reading to have a hint of what being a film director looks like in a global pandemic.
1 – Virtual production
Film studios and location sets are by nature a high-risk environment since they often pack hundreds of individuals into a small space together for extended periods of time. Think of hair, costume departments, and make-up and all the equipment routinely handled and passed between the crew members.
The directors have, therefore, had to accept creative distancing or virtual production. For instance, nearly everything was computer-generated in the Oscar-Winning Filming Gravity. In fact, the only real live-action were the faces of the principal actors.
Virtual production means that the production team doesn’t need to be in the same physical space. It also means that creative teams can continue to collaborate in spite of being in different locations.
2- Cope with new challenges
The Global pandemic has made film financing riskier because of increased health insurance and security costs. The rising of covid – 19 cases also mean that in spite of the impressive strides film sets have made cobbing together thorough safety protocols, the global pandemic is a force that cannot be contained.
The directors in the green zone need facial coverings and need to get tested for covid-19 at least three times a week. In other words, they have to risk in an environment where an airborne virus is circulating, making working less fun and scary.
3 – Long-term delays
Social distancing is the hardest part since the nature of filmmaking is so collaborative. It is quite hard to speak to a person at two metres. Virtual production is not that easy either.
That has contributed to the release of hundreds of films delayed. Delaying some films creates a domino effect, impacting the film pipeline for years. The pushback in the current slate of films also puts future films up in the air. Most studios are more focused on managing the logistics of their films, which are currently in pre-production or production rather than actively hunting for new movies. That could result in a sparse pipeline in the coming years.
All this shows that most directors, especially those who work with independent filmmakers and studios, have fewer working hours, making them earn less money.
5 – Expenses
The increased cost of all the on-set precautions has been hard for independent studios. Larger studios may have the resources to market and fund their movies and take bigger financial risks. However, most independent filmmakers and studios now struggle to find more funding.
More film studios may expand their animated offerings in the future since they tend to be easier to produce virtually with animators working from different locations, decreasing the need for safety measures. So most directors may be forced to shift to directing animated films for both adults and children.
The bottom line
Coronavirus has taken us through emotions of grief, sadness, anger, and denial. Hit by the second wave of the global pandemic, the airborne virus has demonstrated its force and led to the final stage, which is acceptance.
Just like everyone else, film directors are slowly learning how to adapt to and live with the new reality.