While You Wait for the Pandemic to End and Go Shoot, Do these 10 Things

What are you as a filmmaker to do with all this free time during a pandemic like COVID-19 when you can’t actually shoot? 

For you, life during coronavirus means sheltering in place at home, unless you are also an essential worker. This is agony for sure, since filmmaking is a passion that can only be fulfilled by actually working on a film. But this pandemic is temporary and, sooner or later (most likely, later), things will get “normal” again... to a degree.

So, what are some things you can do besides editing your movie or tweaking your script? Here’s a list of 10 things:    

  1. Hone your pitching skills.
  2. Prepare for your shoot in a post-coronavirus world by updating your contracts and developing on-set policies in keeping with health guidelines. And be sure to implement them when you shoot!
  3. Draft a psychological profile of your film’s audience.
  4. Read The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Indiewire, Mubi Notebook, and any other sources of news and analysis about the culture, art and business of filmmaking.
  5. Use social media to find potential collaborators. Your next producer, writer, editor, line producer, costume designer, etc. could be a few keyboard clicks away.
  6. Research all the different ways you can self-distribute your film and build your business plan around that approach.
  7. Create concept art, storyboards, or any other piece of visualization that can help your film get funding or attention.
  8. Host a table read of your script on Zoom, Whatsapp, Google chat or whatever other webcam source you trust.
  9. Send screeners of your film, even if it’s rough, to your peers for feedback.
  10. Watch as many webinars, how-to’s, interviews and behind-the-scenes videos on YouTube, Vimeo, Sundance Collab, Criterion, etc. as possible. And take notes!

FINAL NOTE: These are stressful times and many of you have second jobs to go to, a family to take care of, or overwhelming problems to deal with, so it is also ok to just take a break from working on your film. It really is ok to just do nothing and catch up on sleep or maybe curl up with a favorite movie, book, song or TV show. The whole point of this exercise is for the moment when you feel reenergized and ready, you can tackle some of the things in the list above.

Stay safe and looking forward to all the art that is to be born from this experience!


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