How to Run a Production Company During a Pandemic
In the time of COVID-19, it’s hard to know what to do especially if you’re a business owner. It’s no surprise that in the time of pandemic, small businesses and independent companies have been hit the hardest.
We’re here to offer some advice for production companies during this time.
If you’re looking for funding for upcoming projects, you can submit a one-sentence pitch to our funding opportunities. And if you’re looking to start an independent film production company, check out our previous blog on how to find a niche for your production company.
So how can you continue to run a video production company during a pandemic?
Work From Home
This one is probably the most obvious since everyone has been working from home for months, but it is still important. As we head into the summer, you might be ready to get everyone back in the office.
But instead, if you haven’t already, set up a flexible work from home schedule for all of your employees. When the pandemic hit in March, many thought the work from home order would be short-term. But by now we can realize that this business model might be here to stay. If you’re a video editor, check out our blog post with 7 Post-Production Tools to Help You Work From Home.
According to Investopedia, working from home from an employer perspective can boost productivity, reduce turnover, and lower organizational costs, while employees enjoy perks like flexibility and the lack of a commute.
But movie production companies are in a tight spot with working from home because film production can be inherently hands-on. So, aside from the post-production process, let’s look at what else a production company LLC can do while in social isolation.
Embrace Remote Digital Video
One of the big takeaways from the pandemic has been the importance of digital video. In a time when we can’t connect, a digital connection is all we have.
While traditional production with a full film crew list may be halted, this could be the best time to pivot the focus of your production company. The companies that are getting the most work at this time are not the traditional production companies like studios, but instead the agencies and media companies.
If you can start your film production company in a direction more centered around marketing or remote digital video services, you can continue to create while in the pandemic. Maybe this pandemic is the time to transition your company into a more broadly defined media company.
You could even move into the world of product review and get companies to send you products to review. We know one studio that is pivoting to offer remote live-streaming services for products. Changing up your content as a company can also be beneficial.
Use What You Have
Just because traditional production can’t happen doesn’t mean your company has to stop making things. Sure, maybe you won’t be able to have a crew set up a three-point lighting setup for you, but you can still create.
In the times of COVID-19, production value doesn’t always matter as much for audiences, depending on the type of content you’re producing. Just look at the many morning talk shows broadcasting from home.
Consumers understand that companies are now working with what they have, so they may accept content from companies that is slightly lower visual quality if the content still presents an effective and compelling story and gets the message across.
The restrictions now placed on our day-to-day lives don’t have to stifle all of your creativity. In fact, they can become a catalyst for your big idea.
It doesn’t take much to start an independent film production company in these times. You can make a great video on your iPhone. The important thing is to embrace the new challenges the pandemic brings to production while being safe. While you may not be allowed to shoot in a traditional sense, embrace new technologies, and start creating anything you can for anyone you can. You may just be able to get the jump on your competition.
Often an overlooked area of production, pre-production is vital to making a great project. All of this time inside is the perfect opportunity to work on the pre-production for any of your upcoming projects.
Instead of dealing with scheduling and budgeting on a tight time frame right before production, you can take the time to make sure all of your pre-production is done and done well.
In the same vein, you can put more of your time into seeking out new ideas to produce. In isolation tons of writers and creatives are writing and coming up with ideas for great projects to be made in the future.
Your company can put its resources into becoming an independent film production company looking for screenplays and then work on the pre-production for these new ideas. There are always people with ideas looking to connect with a list of independent film production companies willing to finance them.
Working from home and limited production because of shutdowns might have left your company with more free time. If you’ve received a loan or grant because of COVID to weather the storm, you can use this time to research and learn about film production or film theory.
Maybe you didn’t go to film school or you’ve always wanted to know more about lighting techniques in film. Now is your chance to learn! We’ve recommended some good screenwriting books and sound design resources for you to get started. Even if you’re a corporate video agency, learning more about film theory will help your storytelling ability—no matter what kind of stories you tell.
Another big lesson to take away from this pandemic is that the solutions you’ve put in place to be short term might benefit you more in the long term. Things like working from home or having some meetings on Zoom could become more commonplace in your business long term.
Obviously, this is easier for production company logos like Sony Pictures and Disney who have plenty of capital to keep their businesses afloat. But other small film production companies in NYC and LA are not down for the count during this crisis.
There is no one way to say how to effectively run a production company during the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If you’re looking for capital to fund any of your narrative or documentary projects, check out our funding opportunities.