Coronavirus: 7 Things Filmmakers Can Do While All Jobs Are Down

March 16th, 2020
Coronavirus: 7 Things Filmmakers Can Do While All Jobs Are Down

The Coronavirus pandemic continues spreading all over the world, and like a lot of other industries, the filmmaking branch received a significant punch in the stomach. Indeed, most of us are getting jobs canceled/postponed, and we don’t have a lot of things to do for – at least – the next couple of weeks. Instead of seeing the glass half empty, I’m trying to see it half full, and here are 7 things you can do as a filmmaker while all jobs are down to prepare the future better.

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Like most filmmakers, I’m in the same boat as you: all my upcoming shoots are getting canceled one after another. As a freelancer for close to ten years now, it’s the first time I’m left with close to nothing to do. That’s life, there is nothing we can do about it, except waiting for better days to come as soon as possible.

Instead of lying on my couch and watching Netflix all day long, I decided to give you some ideas of things you can do to stay productive. Indeed, when we are working day-in-day-out on projects, there are a lot of things we don’t take time to do. So while we have some empty days in front of us, let’s make good use of these!

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Image credit: Jakob Owens

1. Clean and Organize Your Gear

That’s probably the number one thing we neglect as filmmakers. You are using your camera, lenses, lights, and so on every day, but we don’t take as much care of it as we should. Take some time for “Spring cleaning” all your camera equipment, so when shoots come back, you’ll be ready. Also, it’s a beautiful occasion to start thinking about how to organize, store, transport, and pack your gear more efficiently.

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Image credit: Jakob Owens

2. Clean Install Your Computer and Archive Projects

Something I’m thrilled to have time to do finally is cleaning my computer and doing a fresh install of my system. I have postponed this task on my main editing machine for two years. Indeed, there are good reasons for that: you’re always working on a project, your computer has to get the job done, and you don’t have three days to fully re-install all your software/plugins. It’s a fantastic opportunity to format your main editing machine.

Also, you can seize this opportunity to clean your hard drives, archive projects, and make some space, so when gigs come later on, your system will be fresh with plenty of gigabytes available.

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Image credit: Kevin Ku

3. Work on a New Reel

It’s early 2020, and most of us probably didn’t update our showreel yet. Or, if you’re like me, you’ve not put a new reel online for more than a year. The good news is, you now have a couple of hours to cut a fantastic reel for the year to come, seize that opportunity!

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Image credit: Blaz Photo

4. Keep Learning Things

Filmmaking is a very demanding job. At the end of twelve hours working days, reading a book, or trying new techniques is usually not the number one thing you want to do. While as a Freelance, you should always keep learning new things and perfecting your craft, we often don’t know how to stand back and lift one’s head up from the track. If you always wanted to read a specific book, watch some video tutorials about new software, or even start to learn woodworking, this pandemic offers you plenty of time to do so.

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Image credit: Jakob Owens

5. Personal Projects and Branding

And what about this own project you’ve been sitting on for months? It could be a beautiful thing to stop thinking and start working on something you have in mind for some time. Also, if you’ve been lazy posting content on your social networks, you can enjoy that free time to prepare some content that you’ll post during the next few months. Don’t stop being creative, and start doing things that have been waiting on the sideline for too long.

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Image credit: Lucas Favre

6. Workout and Family Time

During “normal times,” we all have excellent excuses for not doing any workout. I guess the number one loophole is “I don’t have time to exercise.” Well, now you have, so let’s run, do some pushups at home, or any sport you like. Getting in shape before work comes back is a good idea.

Also, a great thing to do is to spend time with your friends and family. By spending time, I don’t necessarily mean physically – Coronavirus pandemic, remember – but you can call/write/Skype your loved ones or some friends you’ve not been talking to for a long time.

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Image credit: Drew Coffman

7. Chill

Finally, take some time to chill and relax. I’ve seen too many Freelance filmmakers doing burnouts because of the crazy day-to-day job we do. For how long didn’t you take any days off? The “grind all days until I make it” culture that you constantly see on social media is burning us from the inside. You don’t have to feel guilty for taking breaks. And in the end, we don’t have any other choice in this Coronavirus pandemic situation, so breathe, enjoy, and stay safe.

And you, what are you doing to keep yourself productive during this Coronavirus pandemic? Are your shoots down? Do you have any other tips you want to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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Johnnie BehiriGisela WalterJames SDavid PattersonMartin Recent comment authors
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 Gergö Nyirö
Gergö Nyirö
MemberMarch 16th, 2020

I thought this article would be about alternative ways to earn money…that should be the next!

Guillaume Juin
MemberMarch 16th, 2020

Some other thing i have in my list:
– completely renew my website
– finally edit some travel movies i left aside for more than a year
– take care, in advance, of some paid work i have to do later in the year in september, instead of being, as always, stressed by last minute resorts.
– tinker things in my home, but also my office, make it more confortable.

Jacob Lewis
Jacob Lewis
GuestMarch 16th, 2020

8) Upload your footage to stock libraries!

Lenny
Lenny
MemberMarch 16th, 2020

It’s a good time to go out and shoot some government buildings and landmarks that are usually packed with people. Footage you can use later or sell. Make sure to bring a press pass in case they question you. Griffith Park Observatory here I come.

 Per Frits
Per Frits
MemberMarch 16th, 2020

I still have some editing work and script writing coming in, but no productions. So I spend my free time learning more about Davinci Resolve Fusion. I switched from Premiere Pro two years ago but never used fusion. And in only two days I’v learned how to make my own macros and template text-animations. That’s going to save me a lot of time in the future. Well spend time, and fun as well :-)

 Wayne S
Wayne S
MemberMarch 16th, 2020

What about doing talking heads on YouTube? :)

Organise paper work, red tape, submissions, proposals, registrations and permits. Do as much as you can but still have great family time. Free up as much time to work extra hours to catch up after this is finished This might go on for months or all this year, rather than weeks. Talent doesn’t wear masks or hazmat suites, so reduced work is going to come from the other side.

Do all your post etc media projects.

Research into how to protect yourself and others from you. Healthy young people without complications, such as other viruses or health conditions may not get a severe form, but are contagious and potentially deadly to other people, particularly elderly. Even giving the flu to somebody who gets the virus as well, can kill them. So, you avoid getting and transmitting it to protect other people too. So, which masks, gloves and eye wear do you use to avoid getting it through your eyes. The proper procedures of use, and conduct in handeling and maintaining your equipment disinfection (dangerous for your equipment) temperatures and humidity levels to use in storage. Conduct in touching your masks etc, yourself, things around you, in shops, and other people. There is little reason not to film if everybody is protected from one another, and the talent can be actively isolated off camera, and precautions taken in cameras. That’s how people get back to work a lot quicker once the initial isolation is finished, without blundering into more sickness.

They are useful topics for camera sites to research and do articles on, while passing potential procedure ideas pass authorities for their approval, and consulting experts. This is also a way to get authorities interested in industry procedures to get the industry back to work quicker.

Unfortunately authorities don’t seem to plan this deeply, but what do they expect society to do after a few weeks. I see on TV, somebody has got the idea in Britian, to isolate the most vulnerable instead. That is the cheaper faster solution I had thought about too. It’s cruel in the short term, but in the long term less of them suffer or die, and society support structures and food keeps flowing, where as a major crack down can go on for months and society support structures fur these people suffer. But this also means that government should facilitate looking after these people out of home and in home without relatives or people going without. Computer kits to associate with others over the internet in video calls and group video calls, genes interactions and entertainment. But let’s t us unlikely governments are that advanced, to make the isolation less of a burden. Working from home, and food/coffee delivery procedures, and procedures to have visitors outside the home (porch) while you are inside the window or door. Airconditioning and heating units with free electricity, and even free meals. You can’t expect elderly and vulnerable people like the s to just cope, off their own backs too.

The idea of isolating the vulnerable is so people in the community get it and b gone immune, and don’t pass it on so much to these people after they come out. However, I heard that anti bodies to these types of viruses only last 4 months, then you can get it again. So, what is the plan here?

If you look out in public, the way people get in the way jostle and act, is very anti-hygenic. So, dealing with their conduct allows you to stay clear and work longer. If all this stuff had been worked out and implemented in the first place, then th virus would be a lot less of a problem.

 Wayne S
Wayne S
MemberMarch 16th, 2020

I can’t edit above, but warning. According to a segment I watched on TV, they are finding 30-40 year olds without any complicating factors are at risk. Seems it is not just vulnerable people anymore, it’s also people like in the industry. That’s worrying. I haven’t found out what it means, but viruses can turn, but it might be something obscure to do with how people live, or genetics.

Martin
Martin
GuestMarch 17th, 2020

Yea I agree with all of the above!

 David Patterson
David Patterson
MemberMarch 19th, 2020

Lots of great suggestions in the article.

This may be a good time to invest in video streaming gear, as there will be a surge in calls for that service.

Springtime in the PNW is just around the corner, so I intend to use some downtime to work on nature and landscape photography and video.

There is only so much we can do to effect external situations, but there is a LOT we can do for ourselves. Take advantage of this down time, don’t stress over the unknown, and stay healthy.

 Larry Segwell
Larry Segwell
MemberMarch 23rd, 2020

Am preparing for the next phase of humanity.

Gisela Walter
Gisela Walter
GuestApril 30th, 2020

OMG. The most silly advices that could be given by my over 90 years old mother. I expectecd something more intelligent. I am slowly fed up by all this people who have a great announcement and little behind it.

Johnnie Behiri
Johnnie Behiri
AdminApril 30th, 2020

Gisela Walter.
First, always good to hear and listened to mother. Now, how about contributing with your own set of advices instead of criticise?

Thank you
Johnnie

Wais tof time
Wais tof time
GuestMarch 16th, 2020

Didn’t see any suggestions in there how we’re supposed to pay our bills while we are doing all those fun things you mentioned.
How about take the time to write ALL your state and US legislators to take some action to help everybody out that are in this same boat of no income now besides just our industry?
Worthless article everybody knows those things already

 Per Frits
Per Frits
MemberMarch 16th, 2020

What have YOU done? Inspire us please!

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