Written by Algy Sloane on Apr 17, 2020. Posted in Contributors

Locations in lockdown and scouting for a way through

March 2020  was hotting up to be a very busy time at Scout Productions but in a matter of days we watched helplessly as production after production pulled the plug on their shoots.  Who would have thought the film Industry would ground to a halt with in a few days?

Some of our team are lucky enough to remain researching for a TV Series for Amazon Prime however they too have just pushed their shooting dates back from July to the end of 2020. All our remaining scouts downed their cameras and computers and waited anxiously for Government assistance, alas to little avail. Scout Productions have been operational since 2003 and we are determined not to let all that hard work slip away.  

We have complied and understood the severity of the Corona Virus restrictions and are determined to see this out.  We quickly realised that this period of downtime should be used as a moment to reflect and focus on all the internal work that needed to be done. Subsequently our location library has been updated with hundreds of new locations from the backlog of recce pictures the team are busy sorting through and uploading.  We have had the time to check in on clients and offer free budgeting and location consultancy, and would hope that this will be the first activity to pick up as soon as restrictions ease. We have spoken to various Advertising Agencies who also think that there will be a backlog of production work to be done when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. Productions that were put on hold in Mid march have paid up for most if not all scouting work and depending on when the restrictions are lifted we will be ready to leap back into action.

However we realise it won’t be as simple as that.  Budgets may well be reduced, there may be less demand and crew sizes in public areas, possibly reduced.  What role can Location Managers now take on? Studios will be an easier place to work and control as Location house owners may be wary of who they let into their properties. We at Scout have started to compile locations that are interested in productions after lockdown.  We have been speaking with companies that can take on deep cleaning before crews enter locations.  We are liaising with Health and Safety companies on how we can introduce corona issues into Risk Assessments to make filming on location achievable and crucially insurable.  

As much as we want the industry to bounce back we also hope that during this period the industry reflects on some of its past issues. Whilst city centre pollution levels have dropped dramatically in the last few weeks we hope that productions re-emerge with new enthusiasm for greener practises.  We think that members of the public are unlikely to want large diesel Generators on their doorsteps. At Scout we have been donating to Carbon Aware Productions planting trees to combat climate change. There are many other initiatives out there and AdGreen has been pushing these for over 5 years.  Let's hope that production will bounce back but with an eye on the future as we have seen that the future can change within just a few days.

Algy Sloane www.scoutproductions.co.uk

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