Business Not Usual

Stepping out for the usual grocery run every two weeks is a surreal experience. It’s like walking in a post-apocalyptic town but nothing is wrecked. Stores are closed, people are hardly on the streets, and building entrances now have decontamination booths before you step in.

This pandemic is changing the way we work, live and play — and that comes without saying. One of the hardest hit sectors during this pandemic is production work. When I say production work, this can cover basic photoshoots, up until full production sets for broadcasting. We are all affected across the board and the impact is dire for most of us dwelling at the bottom of the totem pole.

So much has been speculated on what is lost. We get it. It’s there. It hurts like a bitch and we’re scared for tomorrow. But here’s the bitter pill: all this anxiety over uncertainty isn’t going to make the situation better. Dedicate sleepless nights to finding new ways of working when some resemblance of normal is restored instead of just being sleepless at night. This normal is not the same normal as before.

The term “New Normal” has been floating around social media, but what do we mean exactly by it? And from what context? As far as production work is concerned from our end, alot of how we conduct our shoots might have to be thrown out of the window.

Shoots by nature are social gatherings, so the distancing aspect is going to be quite a challenge for these situations. Here are some brain farted suggestions I had brewing, and it revolves around reducing risk, increasing efficiency, ensuring the same kind of quality work delivered at the end of the day.

Reduce physical meetings. Alot of the goings-on before the actual shoot revolve around briefings, and several alignments then finally a pre-production presentation to client. There have been inroads into shifting most of the meetings virtually and approvals done via email. Though it’s more of the exception than the norm.

Remote Shooting. This is easier said than done, but given the circumstances it’s creeping towards the side of necessity. Only have the essential people in the studio / location. The rest can watch via Skype / Webex / Zoom or any other real-time conferencing app and make comments right away. Some shoots are already being client-cleared via Viber / WhatsApp, but it leaves alot of hang time in between decisions. We need faster turnaround times if we are to implement remote-viewed shoots.

Stick to the shot list. There are instances where you get carried away or perhaps a client would request additional images. Most of us give in to such requests in the name of brownie points, and there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s how we build relationships with these people in the first place.

Mind you, this part is subjective, and concessions can vary from situation to situation. Though my main point is like the previous: stick to what was agreed upon so we don’t spend more time with other than we should.

Production Insurance. This is part of usual practice in most US-based productions. We hardly have these kinds of add-ons for our local shoots all in the name of cost-reduction. But such provisions might prove to be indispensable to ensure the well-being of all those involved during the shoot. There is one insurance company that covers here locally, and I hope they update their policy with things for COVID 19.

Not sure if the links below would have a direct correlation above, but still worth to jump off from to learn more about the post-COVID 19 “normal” businesscape.

In case you’re wondering, my featured image has nothing to do with the article. I just wanted to put my dog.

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