The show must go on

As we head into the latest lockdown, we’re hoping it’s the final addition to this particular trilogy.

But in the meantime, there’s a familiar question coming from our teams and clients industry-wide.

Can we still shoot?

After a thorough check of the small print, we can say – with as much certainty as is possible these days – it’s a yes!

Like so much in these strange days in which we now live, the government’s latest statement and the rules that followed are open to interpretation.

One thing is clear though: productions “can continue” (with new safety protocols).

And that’s music to our ears.

However, after the latest Boris bombshell and the flurry of emails, WhatsApps and memes (so many memes!) that followed, I’ve been reflecting on how our industry has evolved and whether we are better prepared professionally almost one year on from the first lockdown.

Necessity really is the mother of invention and I believe that the world of production has adapted positively to the challenges we’ve had to confront in the past year.

After the initial halt to life-as-we-know-it last March, the industry has rallied, evolved and united in informing and communicating clearly how to continue creating films during these unprecedented times.

Regular updates from the APA, as well as guidance on new COVID measures from organisations such as First Option, coupled with new technology and platforms have allowed us to achieve and exceed our expectations in 2020.

At The 10 Group we have had to innovate and pivot quickly in order to create content of the same calibre that our clients expect.

However, safety is our watchword, now more than ever.

All the things we took for granted when preparing for shoots are now subject to scrutiny.

Can everyone get there safely? What about hair and make-up? Are we still allowed to shoot with kids?

And that’s before you take into account wearing masks at all times and social distancing on set, now known as avoiding a Tom Cruise moment!

It’s a challenge, especially when we would normally all be leaned over monitors or debating the next shot in tight-knit groups.

It can feel pretty endless and while we are all eternally grateful for the true heroes of the NHS and all the key workers, in our little bubble the Production Managers certainly deserve our gratitude!

The restrictions have forced the team at 10 to think outside the box and innovate to deliver for clients in a safe way.

We have navigated our way around travel bans by shooting remotely in several countries with premium and practical remote record set ups, and directed multiple studio shoots live from home and our HQ in London.

We have created multiple live and pre-recorded virtual reveal programmes to global audiences

And we’ve met a fair few Covid Officers along the way!

We have come so far since last March and we reckon we can shoot in pretty much every COVID scenario.

‘Have PPE, will travel’, if you will!

So, while I may be tempting fate (sorry everyone!), currently we’re living the mantra “The Show Must Go On’ – with safety measures!

On a final note, one positive element of this situation is that it has focused our minds on the welfare of our staff and contributors like never before.

And while we expect to come out the other side at some point this year and get back to normality, that kind of attitude is one that will serve us well in the future.

I’ll leave you with my top tips for production survival in the current world in which we live:

  1. Plan, plan, plan and be prepared to change those plans last minute (include a cancellation policy up front)
  2. Consider Covid officers onsite for your shoots, PPE, deep cleans on location, testing in place for key personnel etc
  3. Remote recording is improving all the time, the technology is getting better so now is a good time to experiment