As I sit down and begin to contemplate 2020, I wondered out loud what were some of the better take aways from 2020? Where should I start?
The first thought that came to mind was, what did we learn from 2020? Did we as an industry or as individuals learn anything? I think the quick and easy answer is that we were all pretty much “scrooged” in some fashion. From a personal and professional standpoint it's fair to say that most—if not all of us—lost something or someone in 2020. If we wanted to, we could easily sink into some of the gloom and doom of 2020, but hey, that just isn’t my style. With those thoughts in mind, let’s take a look at the whole of 2020 and see what we can make of it.
In the Beginning
New productions started out looking so good, didn’t they? Here we all were, poised to move into 2020 with productions of all kinds. Remote production units and studio productions were shaking off the holidays and gearing up for what looked like a busy year. Hey, I was right there with you. Big, big plans for many of us no doubt. Even into late February and up to mid March, most of us didn’t have a clue that the wheels were getting ready to fall off. Little did we know that production practices (as we used to know them) were going to come to a screeching halt.
Getting Knocked Down
The last two weeks of March then into April pretty much sucked. Not a news flash for anyone, including all of us right here at ProductionHUB. Those last two weeks of March and the beginning of April was like watching a trainwreck moving in slow motion. Production, and all the other things that go with it like trade shows started getting postponed, pushed off, rescheduled or just flat out cancelled—with no end in sight. I was seriously worried. What was going to happen to our collective livelihood as many people and companies withdrew from the “normal”course of doing business? I do believe most of us were all stunned and unable to react as quickly as we might of wanted to.
Getting Back Up
I'm not going to sit here and try to paint a rosy picture. There were many of you out there that have had (and still have) some major professional and personal struggles going on. But this is where things get interesting. Let’s take a look at some of the amazing pivots made in 2020 in order to keep things moving.
This is where our collective industry lightbulbs went on. Couldn’t go to NAB or IBC in person? We couldn’t either sad to say! So organizations and companies said let’s just do this online and they did! Companies big and small decided that if we can’t get people to come to us, we will go to them. New products were still introduced throughout this year, and many companies provided showcases and in-depth seminars and press briefings for their customers. I was particularly impressed with companies like LiveU, Sony, Grass Valley, Zeiss, Blackmagic Design, and Atomos. I loved listening, learning and in some cases interacting, with some of the brightest and most creative people in our space. I also got to pivot and listen to amazing podcasts from industry veterans like Tim Smith. Witty, insightful, and convenient. Yes, a different way to learn.
Remote Productions in 2020
The other part of the equation was the ability to figure out how to make productions work and to do it safely. Remote productions took on a whole new meaning in 2020.
If you were looking at production earlier on you would have thought it was always going to be in someone's living room. Can you say REMI? That may hold out to be true even into some of 2021. But the other good part is that people found out a way to keep working. In particular the network truck guys and gals working not only in the bubble but each Sunday for NFL games. It can’t be easy but with face masks, and lots of testing, they are managing. This is a people thing. Not just in sports but in covering news and the elections as well. So there is a certain duality that says if we can do things remotely that a is great, but some productions still need boots on the ground.
What Did We Learn?
Production people are really resilient. We got knocked on our butts, but got back up. We lost friends, co-workers, and family, but we got back up. We lost money, clients, and whole companies, but we got back up. We lost yes, but we also gained. A new way of doing production, sometimes with new gear and new people. We dusted off old skills and refined new ones. We figured out as we all know how to do, how to get the job of production in 2020 done.
Think back to your first production. Not so pretty but you made it happen didn’t you? I know. We are all production professionals.
Stay safe, and see you in 2021!