Doomsayers have been working overtime telling us that Coronavirus will mean the end of cinemas, media production can’t recover, and the future is grim.
They are wrong. Because we have been here before.
Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, Theda Barra, Juan Glize, Charlie Chaplin – they all made movies during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-19. Marcel Carné’s exceptional film Les Enfants du Paradis was shot clandestinely in Nazi-occupied France.
It’s not just making movies during epidemics or wartime. The single constant in all content creation, from the days of silent movies to streaming series today, is problem-solving. Filmmakers, TV-makers, webisode-makers – we are all, first, and foremost, problem-solvers.
Every production is really a series of problems and solutions.
Narrative problems: How can the main characters express their love in secret? How can they escape without getting killed?
Planning problems: How can we make a schedule when an actor is only available for three days?
Script problems: How can we do a rewrite tonight because we are over-schedule and we only have one more day of shooting left?
Production problems: We just lost our location, where can we shoot tomorrow?
Human problems: The two main actors don’t like each other so how will they play this intimate scene?
Editing problems: We didn’t shoot the right angles but how can we make the scene work anyway?
Financial problems: We don’t have enough money for post-production, how can we make do with what we have?
Marketing problems: How can this story find its audience the right way?
Up-leveling your creativity through problem-solving is our focus at MediaU. Our facilitators and mentors will share the challenges they have encountered and how they discovered solutions. While you can never be prepared for every difficulty that crosses your path, you can learn how to approach problems and myriad ways to solve them.
Already our industry is getting back to work, albeit in fits and starts. Some cities are open, others are closed. Some productions have begun only to shut down again then re-start. Small-crew indie productions, which always operate on trust and collaboration, now rely on even higher levels of trust and responsibility to everyone involved.
We have found solutions and continue to find solutions. That’s what we do and, as content creators, who we are.
MediaU is proud to be part of continuing and evolving solutions.
Image from Marcel Carné’s Les Enfants du Paradis, shot from 1943-1945 in Occupied France.