WORTHILY FILMS_ TEAM TALKS
Updated: Aug 1, 2020
I was interested to see how the production team would work together during COVID and what challenges this would create, in terms of social distancing the different departments. Everyone seemed to work really well together and it was quite amazing to see.
It was very exciting being on set and working in the art department.
It was an intense three days, overwhelming and exciting and quite inspiring to see what’s possible to create even through lockdown.
Grateful to have been apart of it!
I was anxious to see how the filming process would operate in Covid-19, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how smoothly it all operated.
It soothed my nerves to know that everyone was taking it all very seriously, whilst also being very well prepared for it.
This was my second experience on set since the pandemic began, I probably wasn’t as nervous as everyone else might have been arriving back to work on set.
But I couldn’t help but notice the professionalism on set with both the creative side and the safety side. Everywhere you looked there was sanitiser and PPE available. No doubt about it Worthily Films had everyone’s health as their top priority.
It was interesting during filming in particular but with a fabulous AD letting us know when was the right time to come in and adjust for continuity so we were still able to practice social distancing with the cast and rest of the crew.
Even after wrapping making sure to check in and let us know how we can get checked in case any of us started experiencing symptoms.
Overall I feel that Worthily Films and The Bashford Twins did a great job and kept safety in mind throughout our days on set in this confusing time.
As a writer it feels like I’ve been self-isolating for about 20 years! So arriving on the set of WFT was a little nerve-wracking to be honest. But everything was so well organised (PPE, hand-wash, friendly social distancing) that very soon I forgot we were filming in the middle of a pandemic. I feel very lucky that our film industry, with only a handful of careful changes, can be open and producing safely, when sadly, so many other parts of the creative industries cannot.
In terms of working in an acting environment during the COVID Pandemic i.e the Monday of the shoot I was expecting the environment to be a lot more challenging and to a certain degree unknown. I had been wondering how the scenes would be shot even with an understanding that between the filming everyone would be wearing masks. The scene work however could never have included masks - obviously. I felt that the purpose of the masks and gloves being worn by cast and crew between scenes would then be rendered pointless (especially for the actors) when face to face scenes were then filmed.
When the day did start you guys did take all precautions in terms of providing sanitising facilities and providing PPE in all areas. I also felt that the everyone was cautious and aware thus gently reminding each other of keeping masks on and continuously using the sanitation measures available. The teamwork was evident.
The biggest issue I had and to be honest it wasn't a real issue just more of a frustration was when I was speaking to people through a mask its hard to understand when I couldn't see the facial features. It made me realise how much we actually communicate with our eyes as much as our words.
So to begin with I was pretty apprehensive about getting back on set after what felt like a lifetime, but in reality was less than 3 months. I honestly didn't think i'd be working at this level again until 2021, especially with a 20+ person crew. The experience of working on Waiting for Time was not only hugely beneficial in terms of the actual film we made, but in easing any anxieties I had in our industry rolling up to work again. I heard Jurassic World, Mission Impossible etc had began rolling again but they have the benefit of having millions being pumped into making their productions Covid free, so the fact we went back to work on a decidely lower budget production gave me massive hope for the future.
In actual practice working on our set was not actually that dissimilar from pre-pandemic times. There is just a bigger emphasis on cleanliness, self-care and ultimately empathy with your fellow crew members. Going forwards this can only be a good thing. Imagine in a Covid free world where we turn up to set, wash our hands between handling gear and be resepctful of peoples personal space. Hopefully we can implement these learnings going forward for years to come.
The main take from working on my first set with these new parameters is that things slip. You can never keep 1 metre away from everyone at all times, even when working in specific bubbles of departments. My role as 1st AD kind of requires me to visit every single bubble at least every 30 minutes. This is the risk we take when deciding to work on a busy film set, much in the same you take the risk when you visit the supermarket. You know the safety precautions are there but it's up to you to adhere to them and make sure your fellow human is too. Just a risk you take stepping out of your front door.
This is the stance I took in my 1st AD role on Waiting for Time. Although all cast + crew had taken the conscious decision to take that risk and work on a busy set it was my role primarily to enforce our due dilligence. To make sure I was approachable if anyone had any concerns with our Covid precautions and if they felt uncomfortable with anything that they could say.
Working during COVID was very different and I wasn’t sure how it was going to work, as I remember some sets being very cramped while filming. Even though it was a change, it didn’t hinder being able to get things done or the enjoyment on set, you just had to be more careful! Doing the set dressing was a little bit more difficult as you had to walk around people more, but it still didn’t mean we couldn’t get things done.
Overall I had a great time and can’t wait to work with everyone again.
Overall, it was an exciting and joyful experience to be back on set after more than 3 months! It was almost like being on set for the first time! I felt like I was rediscovering a new joy from the camaraderie and the filmmaking process, it was like, starting again after a fresh start in a way. Everybody seemed so relaxed and happy not only to be back at work but to be back with people that are not their flatmates or loved ones.
A film is made by people before it's made by departments and equipment and there was a need for people to create something together that I had never witnessed before, we usually forget about how lucky we are to be able to still find joy in having a common goal and, I think, this pandemic has definitely reminded us.
Matteo di Cugno