There are so many aspects of being a producer that I enjoy, but when someone asks, I always say that it’s the combination of learning about companies, brands, products, and initiatives, while meeting and working with new people on each project. Unfortunately, during a global pandemic, that person-to-person camaraderie on a film, photo, or commercial set that we thrive on during our 15+ hour production days, is exactly what brings us into danger. Our industry has been halted in a matter of days, leaving brands and clients scrambling for new content, and, even worse, thousands of freelancers without work indefinitely. In a time when global couch-sitting has reached its peak and stay-at-home stamina is at an all-time low, what we need, now more than ever, are stories and storytelling that speaks to this moment. So, what do we do to keep that crucial content flowing to your screens? 

We pivot. And, as filmmakers, we are damn good at it. 

We’ve all had to pivot in our daily operations – when talent is late, a light bulb breaks during the best take, there’s not enough rigging equipment, catering is delayed, the EP is sick, the walkies are down, the budget is shrinking, the list goes on and on. There has never been a production day where each role didn’t face their own challenges, and that’s why we are all more prepared for these trying times than we think. Here is what we’re doing at Spot to produce in a pandemic:

    1. Develop “quarantine crews” of a few of your most trusted DPs and audio operators. If a client needs something filmed and doesn’t have the skills or equipment, you can send small 2-person crews who are pre-cleared. Once government mandated movement bans are lifted of course.  
    2. Work with your global network. For 20 years, Spot has filmed all over the world and the US domestically, developing a trusted list of freelancers who we can hire in lieu of traveling a team.
    3. Use footage already owned, or buy stock. Car companies and other big brands are already doing this – use footage already shot for a previous campaign, and re-edit it with a fresh VO (recorded safely from home) to keep customers engaged, and to stay relevant to the current climate. Let your audience know that your company is informed.
    4. Connect to brand influencers. Influencers can be a helpful tool while larger production is halted. They have the skills and equipment to produce content from their homes, and can reach a new audience for your brand.
    5. Use graphics and animation. There are endless ways to produce engaging content without having any live action footage – come on, we’ve all cried over Toy Story. Use this time to try something new for your brand and engage with a new medium.
    6. Create virtual live events or a pre-produced program for your employees. Had to cancel that SKO but still need to get your employees pertinent information and get them excited for the year ahead? Don’t scrap the show entirely – we can reformat it for a virtual experience. 
    7. Stay positive. Most importantly, stay positive, and think creatively on how to share that positivity with your employees, customers, and clients through media. We could all use a little light each day. 

As we all adjust to the new “normal” (what does that word really mean these days?!), remember that we are all in this together – as creatives, as brands, as people. Storytelling is the root of our existence as humans, and we can’t let the fact that we can’t physically be together stifle the creation of new, interesting, dynamic, and versatile content. At Spot, we are problem solvers, we take a challenge and make it into something great. We look forward to returning to hectic set days of blood, sweat, and tears, but for now – let’s create together, while apart

  • Brittany Santagata, Head of Production