Storytelling will change, at least for a little while. The length of the work day will change and there’ll be new job specialities on the set. Sorting out the puzzle of how New York will eventually restart TV and film production has fallen to a tight-knit group of producers who have spent most of their time during the coronavirus lockdown sketching out plans for how to get back to work.
M. Blair Breard, a veteran of New York’s arthouse and auteur television scene, tells Variety‘s “Strictly Business” podcast that the goal of what became the New York Producers COVID Response Alliance was to ensure that New York was shovel-ready to resume lensing once the industry gets the greenlight from state and local officials.
“We’re problem solvers,” she says of her fellow producers. “That’s what we do.”
The New York coalition’s work was also consulted by their West Coast counterparts as the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, DGA and IATSE developed the broader Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee protocols. The harder questions to answer are how the types of projects that get written and shot may change given the needs of this uncertain moment.
“Sometimes adversity leads to a real blossoming of creativity,” Breard said. She’s known for her skill at stretching production budgets on such economically produced series as FX’s “Louie,” “Baskets” and “Better Things,” and Amazon’s “One Mississippi.” Indie film veterans and those who are accustomed to doing more with less and innovating on the fly will be well-positioned in the coming months.
“The conversation is going to be about what do you need to tell the story? What can we take away that’s extraneous without hurting the storytelling? Those kind of conversations will become very common,” Breard said.
“Strictly Business” is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment. A new episode debuts each Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and SoundCloud.