Last year I submitted an earlier version of “I’m Sorry I Love You” to a film festival for feedback.
Today I got something back from them.
Just as we began to approach our inaugural production season for WHITE RAVEN PICTURES, the film industry came to a grinding halt. Our production calendar is shifting in blocks of several weeks at a time, as we hit the pause button.
With our first short film “I’m Sorry I Love You” in pre-production, we are awaiting the day when the social distancing measures required to control the spread of COVID-19 are lifted so that we may proceed.
To quote Dave Perkal, a Santa Monica-based director of photography, in an article for the LA TIMES by Stacey Perman:
“this is an invisible virus, what do you do? I’m not sure what that is. But I will not put my workers in jeopardy.”
As an indie producer and a coordinator in mainstream film/tv I’m anticipating significant, important changes to how we do things on set and in the office.
– I already have a strict 10-hour shoot day on my indie sets because I insist on adequate work/life balance and rest to support my cast and crew’s mental and physical wellbeing.
– I’m looking at better solutions for craft services and catering meals on set now and building that into my budgets.
– I utilize many digital solutions to traditional paperwork: scriptwriting, shot listing apps, scenechronize, digital start packs….
Brainstorming with others in the film community, I know we will address many other ways this pandemic will give us an opportunity to improve the working conditions and health and safety standards in our industry.
I’m looking forward to problem solving and building solutions into the budget that put our my teams’ health and well-being first.
It’s a new year and after jumping into the deep end working in Vancouver, I’m coming up for air. Briefly.
I have all new ideas about the process of film making, building on the ones I was inspired by last year on independent productions and ‘mainstream’ union productions.
This year, I am implementing my management and team building strategies. Starting small, building to larger productions, I’m excited to see what my teams will create together.
White Raven Pictures. Gonna be a thing!
I have watched other production managers who approached this role as strictly a ‘bean counter’ and hard line disciplinarian of cast and crew. I have studied management styles in various industries for years and been in that leadership role periodically.
Currently, I am at work as a production manager for a feature film (All-In Madonna). I went into this job with some preconceived notions about the role. And, as always, the reality has taught me a few lessons!
Throughout my experiences on both sides of the management department, I have developed my own sense of team management.
As a production manager, I would say my focus is on building up my team in a way that facilitates an attitude of holding space for creativity. While there is always the consideration of cost and budgeting – both time and money – my management decisions are based on answering one key question: does this help to create and hold space for the team to focus on their craft and do their best work?
During a film production, we become much like a family, and I find this approach gives us each the space to be our most authentic selves as creative people; developing and learning skills together.
The YAH WAVE production family photo.
My first love is storytelling.
I was that weird kid who spent summer vacation researching topics that interested me, then writing creative stories for my friends and me to perform for our families.
I’ve become that weird adult who pretty much does the same thing, except that now I help other writers and directors tell their stories the way they envision.
I grew up in a small northern BC town and although I didn’t think of it much at the time, I grew up in relative poverty, not white and not native.
My grandfather left the reservation when he fought in the Second World War, but he handed down the few stories and teachings he could remember. And taught me to love the stories of many cultures.
This love of people and their stories brings me to my work today.
2019 will see me focusing more on screenwriting and producing films, and I’m excited to be participating in the screenwriting program Tricksters & Writers!
Development & Production
Development & Production
Springboard Producers’ Panel
The BC film industry is booming and not in small part due to its cluster of video effects and animation studios, like industry leader Image Engine.
Recognized in the industry for its CGI creations—the organization was behind Game of Thrones dragon Drogon’s iconic attack on the loot train in the show’s latest season—Image Engine has set an ambitious target to grow its staff. Currently employing 200 artists, the business aims to hire 100 more by the close of 2019, and hopes to have a headcount of 350 by the end of 2020.
In order to house those fresh faces, Image Engine is expanding into a new space in Mount Pleasant. Located at 2043 Quebec Street, the office will be next to the company’s existing space on 5th Avenue, growing its total footprint to 29,000 square feet.
“Our enhanced studio space will enable us to answer the call from Hollywood clients and support a growing list of unique creative challenges,” Walsh says. “The ability to say yes to our clients…[which] has been challenging to date with the current facilities, is hugely appealing. The new facilities will enable our artists and technical staff to engage with more opportunities to work with talented filmmakers all over the world.”
Image Engine’s recent projects include Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Warner Bros.), Kin (Lionsgate), Skyscraper (Universal Pictures), The Meg (Warner Bros.), and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Universal Pictures).
original story: Image Engine Hiring 150 Employees!
Shading TV, film drama with green content can drive sustainability: producers, activists.
Ian Loslo at Keep It Green Recycling, in Port Coquitlam, B.C., Sept. 20, 2018.
DARRYL DYCK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Kyle West is one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. He’s destined for a complicated relationship with a woman whose mission is to marry him and bring him into a cultish self-improvement movement. But he’s also environmentally conscious: His assistant hires goats and a herder to cut his lawn.
The environmentalism woven into West’s character on the made-in-B.C. series The Arrangement isn’t simply there to add intrigue. Clara George, who worked as a producer on the second season of the show, says the details were there to provide a subtle nudge to viewers about the importance of sustainability. Another character on the show drove a Tesla.
It’s a point the TV and film industries are trying to make with viewers, in the same way they turned against smoking and other uses of tobacco in previous decades.
“People are very worried they are going to have to change their lives dramatically to take any sustainable steps,” George says. “What we can show them is, ‘No, you don’t. They can just be in anything.’”
The Arrangement has come and gone as a series, but George, who has worked as a producer for about 26 years in Toronto and British Columbia, is among a group of leaders in the sector still fighting the green fight.
Sustainable production, including the meta issue of promoting green behaviour on screen, will be discussed at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival.
There are about 60,000 direct and spin-off jobs in British Columbia’s production industry, which was worth $3.4-billion in the 2017-18 fiscal year, most of which came from Hollywood projects. British Columbia is now North America’s third-largest production centre, given that high-profile series such as The Good Doctor and Riverdale and feature films such as Deadpool 2 and War for the Planet of the Apes have been shot in the province.
As the industry grows, many are questioning its impact on the environment, advocating for the use of electric power instead of diesel generators to fuel on-location shoots, finding alternatives to bottled water to keep crews hydrated, donating leftover craft services food to the poor and even recycling the materials used to build sets.
George notes that change begins with little things: depicting a character drinking out of a ceramic instead of paper cup, for example. For George, showing sustainable behaviour is the same as using fiction to change the way women and diverse characters are depicted, among other issues.
Zena Harris, creative director for the festival’s Sustainable Production Forum, which runs Oct. 5 and 6, says it’s a valid pursuit.
“We don’t want to necessarily impact the creative element in terms of story line or anything like that,” says Harris. “But if [a character] is going to be driving a car somewhere, could that car be an electric vehicle? This is where we start to normalize behaviours onscreen, and substitute in products and behaviours that are more environmentally conscious.”
Behind the camera, changes toward sustainability are also being fought. Peter Mitchell, president of Vancouver Film Studios, which has hosted such productions as the film Star Trek Beyond and series including The Flash, says it’s a daunting task, despite good intentions.
Mitchell says reducing fuel use is a critical issue, especially among producers who use diesel generators to bolster their power supply in buildings renovated for use as studios.
George says some crews prefer the comfort of traditional approaches to getting production done.
“People have been in the industry a long time. They know what works. They know if they bring a diesel generator to set, they will have enough power to run whatever needs to happen. If they bring an electric generator to set, it only lasts four hours.”
Meanwhile, Port Coquitlam, B.C.’s Keep It Green Recycling Ltd. has been facilitating the recycling of fake walls used to build sets since April 2017.
They are shipped to the company warehouse, accepted for a drop-off fee and donated to schools, the community and other productions. So far, they have diverted about 98 tonnes of material from landfill.
Ian Loslo moves a scenery flat from a film and television production at Keep It Green Recycling, in Port Coquitlam, B.C., Sept. 20, 2018.
DARRYL DYCK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL
The operation also manages the donation of unused food served on set to a pair of shelters.
“People want to do the right thing,” says Kelsey Evans, who runs the organization.
Another initiative offers a resource centre for best practices on sustainable production. The Reel Green project is operated by Creative BC, an agency that works with the arts in the province.
Jeremy Mathieu, a sustainability adviser for the BBC, will be speaking about green storytelling at VIFF on a panel called The Hollywood Effect.
He says producers can move to be in sync with audience concerns about the environment.
“By showing on screen that we understand the changes that are happening, we can show the audience that we get it, we are with them in this, we are relevant in this changing world and there is, indeed, hope that we can address and deal with these major problems,” Mathieu said in an e-mail.
He encouraged producers to depict electric-car charging points in the background of a street scene or recycling bins on the street. They can show sustainable behaviours such as characters putting food in composting bins during a kitchen conversation. Or they can have characters working in the green industry and mentioning climate change or pollution as part of a conversation.
George says there is work to be done, but the production sector embodies creativity. That leaves no excuse for not pushing ahead for change. It can offer an example to other industries grappling with how to be sustainable, she says.
“What drives me crazy is that people still think it’s a discussion. We need action now. We need to figure out what has to happen and make those policy changes. I don’t think climate change is debatable.”
With the filmmaking industry growing the way it is in BC, production companies are meeting the challenge of working in more environmentally sustainable ways.
B.C. is one of the top three international full-service production centres in North America with more than 65 film studios, the industry contributed $3.4 billion to the province’s economy in 2017-18.
With so many things in production year round, there are many opportunities to develop enviornmentally sound filmmaking practices. Some of the strategies we’re consistently seeing include switching to electricity from diesel generators, using hybrid cars, implementing a print-on-demand system and reducing the consumption of beef on set.
As a script supervisor, I am seeing the swtich from paper to digital tools such as laptops and ipads with software like ScriptE and Scriptation to perform our roles on set, and personal use items like reusable water bottles and coffee mugs are becoming the norm rather than disposable water bottles and paper cups.
A number of movies and television shows have started keeping track of sustainable practices. As an example: 21st Century Fox says on its website that its “X-Files” season 10 production managed to divert 81 percent of its total waste from landfills and by recycling all of the aluminum and steel used in construction. “X-Files” Season 10 was filmed in 40 locations across B.C., each requiring elaborate set construction, lengthy transportation demands and intensive fuel use. Greening this production even saved the company $41,000, the website says!
Making movies is about creating new worlds and the sets made for those worlds require wood, much of which is lauan wood and comes from Southeast Asia – from rainforests. If the wood is Forest Stewardship Council certified then it is a better option. Anything with an ecolabel is more responsibly managed.
Much of the sustainable lifestyle choices we make on set are frequently seen on screen too, with heroes driving electric or hybrid cars, characters using reusable water bottles, and recycling household garbage. Film and TV is a great influencer over cultures, so seeing these things play out on screen helps to foster their use in our everyday lives.
Next time you’re on set, take note of the things we are doing to practice environmentally responsible, sustainable filmmaking in BC!
It has been said that “teamwork makes the dream work” and in filmmaking I have experienced this to be more so than in other industries, in part because a production team is there to literally make someone’s creative dream come to life.
Recently, I worked on an independent film set which was beset by a number of challenges that would have, typically, halted production. In this case though, the leadership of our directorial team was such that we adapted and overcame everything from missing equipment, to transportation issues, bad weather, a double-booked filming location, and more!
Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was brought in by the director, Larke Miller, for this production only days before we began shooting to replace the original script supervisor and I’m so glad I agreed to jump in! It was a great learning experience and reinforced for me that I’m working in an industry well suited to my nature, creativity, and skills.
As with many independent film productions, members of the cast and crew stepped in to fulfill more than one role, lending their varied expertise in set decoration, sound and lighting design, special effects makeup, and even craft services. It was inspiring to see so many rise to the challenges with grace and generosity in order to bring our writer/director’s vision to life.
To the directorial team, cast, and crew of Pluto, I send out a round of applause for a job well done in the face of many challenges, and my sincere gratitude for sharing your individual stories and knowledge of filmmaking with me.
Big excitement for a small town in BC, as Ladysmith plays host to film shoot for Paramount Pictures’ Sonic The Hedgehog!
While many locals have been hired to help crew the shoot, others stand by in hopes of seeing their favourite A-list stars, Jim Carrey and James Marsden.
The shoot is rumoured to have a $7 million budget for the portion scheduled to shoot in Ladysmith, and locals are thrilled with the facelift of storefronts and investment in the local economy. The film shoot has brought jobs to locals who work in the BC film industry and the production is utilizing local businesses not just for a pretty location, but as suppliers of goods and services.
The shoot has been off to a rough start due to inclement weather, but rain delays are a part of life for experienced film crews and local islanders. Shooting is expected to resume on Monday.