How 6 Hollywood producers filmed during the pandemic (video)
Six Hollywood producers joined TheWrap for TheGrill 2021 to discuss how they overcame the shock the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted on the entire film industry.
The discussion was moderated by Stacey Sher of Shiny Penny Productions and Van Toffler of Gunpowder & Sky. Joining them were Brenda Gilbert from BRON, Jeff Clanagan from Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud Productions, Mary Viola from Wonderland Sound & Vision and Mike Larocca from Joe & Anthony Russo’s AGBO.
SAG-AFTRA’s National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland also spoke, who has represented the guild of actors in building the COVID-19 security protocols that have governed film and television shoots since their restart in September 2020.
All of the producers had projects that were halted when the pandemic stop was ordered in March 2020, but the process of restarting these projects as part of a new normal where COVID-19 was still a real threat could change enormously from one project to another. Gilbert said BRON faced this challenge when restarting projects of varying budget sizes, each with their own unique challenges when implementing COVID protocols and raising funds for insurance.
“We don’t have corporate backing, so we really had to think creatively and innovatively to adapt to safety and… the impact that had on every crew member,” he said. she declared. “We have one foot in the Indies with our filmmaking approach first and also have our multiple studio partners, so we really had to think about how COVID affected every aspect of production in terms of budgets.”
There were also challenges for productions abroad. Some challenges were just about casting as Toffler had two Gunpowder & Sky productions filming in Canada which took longer to get going as they had a harder time finding actors ready to quarantine for two weeks before filming in. the framework of the protocols. Larocca recounted how Anthony Russo also had to quarantine himself after his driver tested positive while conducting scouts in Prague.
There were also challenges for different types of productions, like stand-up comedy specials. Clanagan was due to produce one with Kevin Hart for the comedian’s stand-up tour, which would be released on Netflix. But when the pandemic canceled it, Laugh Out Loud had to improvise.
“We rented an outdoor rooftop restaurant above a hotel in Hollywood that could seat about 25 people, so we did about 75-80 shows over 30-40 days, day after day after day,” he said. he declared. “So by the time we were ready to do production, we had perfected it. The city had to get out because it was before the vaccinations, even though we only had 20-25 people in the audience. Everyone had to wear masks so that the laughter was muffled. “
But the pandemic has also brought about changes in the status quo that could endure in the long term. Crabtree-Ireland noted that virtual and self-recorded auditions have become commonplace in the industry thanks to the shutdown.
“On the one hand, it allowed the actors to consider more opportunities,” he said. “On the other hand, there are a lot of issues associated with self-recording that we are trying to resolve now in terms of how they can be done in a manner respectful of the performers and expect them to be. their own home producer. “
Watch the full roundtable here.
For more than a decade, TheWrap’s Grill event series has led the conversation about the convergence of entertainment, media and technology, bringing together journalists to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing content in the era. digital. Tailored for C-Suite and high profile attendees, TheGrill presented by WrapPRO, features a unique series of curated discussions, industry panels, and virtual network activations that explore the ever-changing media landscape. See the full panel and all Grill content here.