Friday, June 5, 2020

FEEDBACK ON STATE OF THE INDUSTRY



We’ve been talking to our Cape Town clients and have the following feedback regarding the state of the industry, which we thought might  

be of interest to all our crew…. 





Hi Call a Crew-team!

Thanks for your newsletter. 

 My thoughts on this…  

The state of the industry in SA is for sure in a crisis - Desmond and I both work in South Africa but in SA winter we're always shooting in Europe (I am German ;)). 

What we’ve noticed that despite all our European shoots being cancelled until end of June, from July onwards, things finally continue. Knowing this is a big relief and  

I am sure as soon as things normalise a little and the borders open up, it will be the same in SA! 

We hope to work with you in future! 

Stay optimistic, 

Hi Jan

 Wow I wish I had a magic ball to see what the future holds.  Right now things are rather bleak on the local front.  There is a lot of talk about things taking off again but to be honest the only boards / projects we are seeing lately have dire budgets and even worse deadlines.  They seriously are small content projects that have budgets that I can barely make work for our new, youngest director.

 I have to be positive and believe that things will turn around.  Please tell your crew that I am hard at work promoting our directors and hopefully something will turn in to concrete work soon.

We’re here to stay and we will do our best to make it work for all.

Lotsa love and stay healthy and sane on your side

   There are discussions on crew Insurance policies being engineered and I’m sure much will change in the way freelance media personnel are able to afford long term stability by way of private, not government, policies.  

Decentralization has been a business model that has grown locally and internationally and in so doing it has given a stream of revenue to private vendors.   

Content creation may become more monetized by brands potentially using incidental publicity, on private channels, to meet their own smaller budgets.  

 I come from not a studio or television world, but strictly independent film -- raising financing for my American feature film, which we had planned to shoot in Northern Cape in May 2021, for a budget of about R20 Million. Covid 19 has certainly put a hold on financing, the project is essentially on ice until either there's a vaccine, or the general financial crisis begins to get better in the United States. It's not great news, however from an American perspective, the strength of the Dollar against the Rand continues to be a draw. If South Africa's pandemic gets better, and the laws for social distancing on film sets are less restrictive than in other countries, it fares well for all of us. Just my two cents. 

 Dear Jan, 

Hope you are well.  

Regarding your survey and questions. 

Its hard to tell - we waiting on a contract from the sabc to shoot some small dramas which will only happen in the next few months I think. 

And we currently working on trying to secure the funding for a documentary which we likely to film in the next two months.  

 I trust you are well.  Got the feedback email.  Not much I can say.  I am freelance.  I last worked mid Feb.  Every year the amount of work I am getting is becoming sparser and sparser and so I am dropping my rate to try and compensate for the lack of work and make myself more approachable but it is not sustainable as I now have no safety net to fall back on.  I used to get most of my work out of Jhb and it was all local work but even my regular production houses in Jhb no longer approach me with enquiries for work.  At this stage I do not foresee any foreseeable work in the pipeline.   

 I guess as you get older you become less valuable. 

Wishing you well xx 

 Hi Jan, 

 I haven't done any shoots yet with the new protocol, I was on the last one before lockdown and basically we ran it like this: 

 Cast Callbacks at Casting Director's Office - they didn't have more than 5 cast in their office at one time. 

 We had a medic station on set and he would check everyone and record all their info in the morning - naturally it was controlled i.e while lighting were unloading, he would check camera team etc. And we provided hand sanitizer and the medic would go around every 30 mins sanitizing the crew.  

 We had two VT villages one for Agency and one for Client 

 Everyone was very mindful and we just got on with it and focussed on what we needed to do.  Cast and Parents were happy and felt looked after as we had young kids on set too. VW Client CEO came to visit our shoot every day and was also happy with how we were managing everything.  

 Colleagues of mine are on a tv series that has carried on shooting through lock down, they all had gone for medicals before shooting started and have been quite isolated in the areas they're shooting. Thinking of you all in SA in this strange new world. 

 Have recently completed one shoot, part of a Covid campaign.  No briefs at present, expecting briefs to come in in the next few weeks.  Agencies re-writing scripts for new level 3 regulations, which then need approval and sign off. 

 Hi Jan  

 How are crew coping? This must be so hard for them!!! 

 How are you? 

 Were good, and getting back to work you will be happy to hear! I think we are all going to be just fine here to be honest. I feel very positive post corona. And the fact that the ills of the world are all coming to the surface is very important….so I honestly believe all of this has happened for some huge greater good 

 We are pitching, we will be needing crew, and were all here to pull through together!! 

 Hang in there Jan, ….😂😂😂😂 

 Hi Jan, 

 Seems like things are moving slowly, there are a few companies already shooting, but clients are still nervous. 

 Hey Jan 

 Hopefully things will start picking up soon.  We’ve had a couple of pitches in the past 2 weeks (which sadly we have lost) but since then its gone very quiet. I haven’t had a board in for 2 weeks. I think clients have slashed their budgets or are putting off on new projects for a while which is very concerning.  My hope is that within a month though that they may have more clarity and realise that they need to start advertising again. 

 Fingers crossed 

 Hi Jan,  

 Hope you are well in this scary time.  

To be honest I don’t have the answers 

We had a meeting with the agencies the other day and a lot of clients have cancelled campaigns as their businesses have also been knocked and sadly advertising is always the first to go.  I think it will be a very slow build up.  

We did have our first little shoot on Monday and the positives of that is that the protocols do work and I think every shoot will encourage clients for more shoots.  

 I am sorry I don’t have more definitive positive news.. But I think it will be a while before we see any return to a normal flow of work.  

 Wishing the best to you all there and the crew.  

 Jan, 

 Currently we do not have any conformed projects, however we are going to be shooting a PSA, that we do a remote test with, to Dubai, based on this our partner in Dubai has committed to bringing jobs to CT in July / August. 

 Hope that this information is helpful. 

 Hi Jan 

 My thoughts are that we need to consider a few things – and this is on service only. 

 Firstly, we are now only going into real winter so the prospect for work is not that great as is always the case from mid-April to Mid-September. 

That is the harsh reality and I am sure feels worse this year due to the early end to the season because of Covid 19. 

 And then to be honest, until there is a vaccine in place or a solid treatment plan that takes away the risk from Covid 19, I don’t believe there is going to be masses of work coming our way. 

 Not only does an agency and client have to buy into remote shooting while travel bans are in place, a director has to want to shoot that way.   

And to exacerbate that issue, not every director has the discipline to shoot remotely so it may not be their personal choice. 

A UK director yesterday turned down the opportunity to have a shoot remotely directed.   

 So at level 3 right now we have to contend with: 

  • It is winter so work is naturally way less 

  • At Level 3 travel bans are in place and not every job will want to shoot remotely 

  • At Level 3 we can only have crew and talent of 50 on set, so not every job can work with this amount – often talent dependent 

 What we have to look at is what season will feel like and I think it is too early to tell 

I am seriously concerned that without a vaccine in place or solid treatment programme for those contracting Covid 19, we may not have a great season at all, even if we move to level 2 or 1 by the time season comes. 

 We have to pray for some form of treatment or early release of a vaccine. 

 I do hope I am wrong on this one in terms of my overall concerns for season!!   

 I am happy to jump on a call with you to discuss further Jan! 

 Hello Jan, 

 We’re all well and I hope so are you? 

 I’m sure the crew is in big anticipation for work to come. 

Unfortunately this is also without Corona a quiet time for us being a Service Company. 

No jobs lined up from our side yet. 

 I hope that work comes in soon for everyone. 

Keep safe and healthy. 

 Hey Jan, 

 Hope you well 😊  

 We normally close down for winter as we rarely ever have any work at this time so I am afraid you will more than likely not her from us till around Sep/ Oct but I do hope that the people that do produce this time of year get work and that work does come out at the end of the year as well.  Very worrying times indeed.  

 Wishing you well and stay safe x 

 Hi Jan 

 I am finding things are slow and board flow is minimal. 

 I think the Clients and Agencies are having to rethink scripts etc (hopefully they are - they should get the tone right) and hopefully this starts feeding down to us in the next couple of weeks. 

 Thanks for touching base. 

 Hi Jan,  

 Well, on our side there is not much happening we mainly worked during season time - which is Oct - March …and if we are lucky April or October. 

Our - mainly French - clients do normally go shoot in Europe - during European spring and summer times - so it is normal for us to be quite right now.  

But we never know, we might be asked to shoot something “African” in the savannah landscape? 

 At the moment to be honest with you, it is a day at a time. 

 Take care and keep safe. 

 Hello Jan 

 Good to hear from you and thank you for reaching out.  

I have been thinking of all of you all the time and about being in lockdown for so long. Its insane.  

I hope you are well!!!! 

 My one big German client initially said they will try and shoot more locally for the rest of the year and did not think to work a lot in SA. 

But when winter comes here and the boards are piling in I am sure they would consider shooting in SA. 

The big question remains what is with travel and quarantine etc for when you travel internationally……that’s a big question.  

And what big companies let their staff travel…. 

 I am running a test with my client and our two favourite VT guys in Cape Town on the streaming option. So they can see we would be ready for this from now. 

In case they do not or not all want to travel eventually. 

 This is as much as I can tell you for now. You know my client LOVES shooting in SA and they do always have the boards for it, so lets hold thumbs! 

 Lots of love Jan 

 Hi Jan 

 Thanks for your mail. 

 We are feeling that there will be work but since we only do service work, I don’t see any work before October.  At which point we may still need to work remotely. 

 Hello Jan,   

 Yes, we’re doing well and wish the same for you and yours.  

 My view is that until the global situation for international travel between countries is clearer we are in absolutely no position to know, and definitely not predict, when, or even if, service work will return to SA.  

 My clients (largely US and UK) have been supportive and been in touch over the weeks to say ‘hello, howzit, take care etc’ but no-one is predicting anything.   

 I think its very early days for anyone to have an opinion.  Though of course a total lack of knowledge is not stopping the very many experts we have in the industry predicting the ’season’ to come.  

 Our view is to vasbyt and hope we’ll have work towards the end of the year.  

 Until then.  

 Hey Jan, 

 I’m well thanks, hope you are too. 

It’s been a difficult time and we’re slowly getting back on our feet. 

 On the work front, things are slow to be completely honest. 

The board flow has all but dried up and we are waiting for it to pick up again. 

We’ve heard from agencies that clients have slashed marketing budgets so commercials will definitely take a knock. 

All projects that were in the system prior to lockdown now need to be reassessed, cancelled or rewritten with a “Covid filter” over it. 

That being said, with things improving with our Lockdown levels, businesses will start operating and things should pick up again. 

 I anticipate a slow ¾ to this year but I’m hopeful that it will pick up again towards the end of the year. 

 I’ll keep you posted on how things develop. 

 Keep well and stay safe. Warm regards, 

 Hello Jan,  

Not much happening for us at the moment given that all our work is service and no-one can fly into the country. We usually shoot little or nothing in Winter anyway. I know there have been one or two ‘remote viewed’ service jobs with other companies here but I can’t imagine we will do many of those. 

Stay safe and well. 

All the best 

 Hi Jan 

 I hope you are well. 

 Very quiet on my side as good as non-existent at the moment :) The productions I had lined up for March and April and cancelled due to lockdown have been cancelled altogether so no chance of a revival there! 

 But things change quickly so chin up! Best, 

 Hi lovely Jan 

Lovely to hear from you. How are you? 

Agggg I don't want to be negative, but I don't see being things happening here for a while. I have had 5 international bids since May. Each one came back to me to say they have decided to shoot at home, not wanting to rely on 'remote shooting' also needing to create work in their own cities. I personally think there will be a LOT more of that especially now that it is winter here & people are not allowed or wanting to travel. 

We have our bread & butter locals that we are shooting with & I have a few briefs for castings with local production BUT all footage needs to be self-taped for the TVC or will be done with skeleton crew. 

Marketing (messaging) for brands now is also tricky, nobody wants to see a flashy BUY THIS NEW HANDBAG OR PORSHE NOW commercial when families are struggling to put food on the table. 

We've all downscaled dramatically in CT. Have some studio shoots happening but everything is small crew, tiny cast. 

Obviously we’re staying positive but personally not holding my breath for big jobs till December or more likely early next year.  

Lots of lovexx 

 Aye Jan 

 top of the evening - we are always busy thank the Lord. We are hoping that it continues this way, especially as so many crew depend on a flourishing industry. 

 I am sure that we have a few projects lined up - just needing client confidence to kick in 

 Sadly deals seem to be the order of the day (Eish) - but hey a little money better than none is what we keep saying… we have had to drop our margins to below 7% to win jobs and gain client confidence again. best 

 

 

 


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