Covid-19 and Film Production

Covid-19 has been an unprecedented ordeal for nearly everyone this year. Not only have countless numbers of people fallen ill, and unfortunately died, from this illness, the economy has also taken a sharp downturn. Innumerable numbers of businesses have been displaced and ended as a result of Covid. One prominent industry effected by the pandemic has been the film industry. Movie theaters across the globe have shut down completely, with only some attempting to reopen their doors with new social distancing guidelines. Film distributors have been faced with the choice of whether to release their scheduled films over streaming services, or to simply wait for theaters to open before releasing their films.

In addition to the distribution of films being affected by Covid is the production of films and media content. Many productions had to halt with the onset of Covid, some permanently, others for a brief period of time before ramping up production again. Resolve Media Group is one such company facing these problems.

Resolve is a production company partially founded by Chad Tiennes, who also serves as the executive producer, and has been a part of Resolve for “up on 6 years now.” Resolve has an abundance of high-quality clients, including “Sony, Warner Brothers, and Universal,” with a heavy involvement in the music industry, and also working several TV features. Mr. Tiennes described his company as “multi-faceted,” and representing lots of different directors, “able to run multiple larger scale productions simultaneously.”

When asked about how Covid-19 has affected production, Mr. Tiennes stated that he and the rest of the team “immediately… started to connect with animators, illustrators, 3D designers, building a strong team.” Mr. Tiennes and the rest of Resolve came to the decision to pivot towards more remote production and less in-person projects. That being said, Resolve was forced to undergo “a down period of three weeks.” Finally, when the team made the decision to begin production again, they made sure to take all the necessary precautions.

“There are some costs on our [Resolve’s] side, it’s just an immense amount of liability… You have your medic, you do your [Covid] screenings, following all the safety guidelines, provide all the PPE.”

Testing is very frequent now, where “anyone in one zone gets tested three times a week.” None of these additional procedures have been cheap and have in fact “added a fair amount of cost,” but it allows the Resolve team to continue production in a safe way. Unfortunately, some things simply can no longer be filmed, “with other [projects] we really just have to wait until things mellow out.”

Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, Resolve did a fair amount of work in cities such as Los Angeles or New York. Much of this work has been substantially scaled back.

“In LA they’re only giving out about 14 permits a month. It’s really tough there.” The silver lining to scaled back production in other areas means “a lot of things are pouring into Georgia.”

Overall, the pandemic, while challenging, has yielded some positives for Resolve.

“I think this might’ve allowed us to stretch and grow and get creative with how we approach certain concepts. Constraints are always great for activity. Besides just the administrative side of things but also the logistic side of things.”

Mr. Tiennes does lament some of the new difficulties however, but hasn’t let them get in the way of his company’s vision.

“I miss not having to worry about these things, but we’ve had some really cool projects. We’ve probably done thirty projects throughout Covid.”

While the coronavirus and pandemic have placed strain on many companies, production companies and others, Resolve Media Group stands as a testament to getting creative under trying times, and finding ways to safely conduct business. Hopefully Resolve, and every other production company, will soon not have to worry about avoiding the coronavirus, but until then, it’s up to companies such as Resolve to find new ways get projects from ideas to end products under extreme circumstances.

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