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The Uncertain Efficiency of a Corona Protocol: Rising Stress Levels

July 14th 2020

Last week was wrap day. Production has come to an end.

As filmmakers, you can almost certainly recognize the simultaneous bittersweet feelings of being happy and sad on this day. Though this time if felt even stranger. This is my final recap.

Working on a set comes with it’s own stress, and you tend to become an expert at working under accumulating high stress levels. The pressure of the day, company moves, the one-chance shot at full wide open on an 85mm, or just the regular logistics of that week. Add to that, a Covid-protocol, where no mistakes are permitted and you have yourself a weird scenario.

Not that I’m complaining, but adding a corona protocol makes the stress level rise faster and even higher. That’s how shooting the remaining 14 days of this feature felt. And perhaps that’s a subconscious side effect of the corona protocol that we have not specifically prepared for. Stress is a production’s silent ninja/Trojan horse that should always be addressed, or at least, never ignored.

Ironically, the one thing that did raise my stress level was the distance. Not being close to my DOP for a silent conversation about the scene. Unable to be a fly on the wall and whisper to the actress on how she is going to move. Prevented from a quick chat, in between takes, with the 1st AD about the rest of the day. All this created a certain stress that I certainly did not like. Being pushed out of my comfort zone and demanded to act in a different way made me less (mentally) focussed in general.

In hindsight, being with less people on a set automatically imposes less distraction around you, less people looking over your shoulder, and I have to say, that is something I did relish. I enjoyed being granted the concentration to preform, taking time to set marks to make the shooting day as useful as possible.

As previously mentioned in this blog, optimism and creative adjustments are needed to make it work. Perhaps we should add Creatively and Optimistically Adjust to our motto: Eat. Sleep. Focus. Repeat. (But Perhaps: Eat. Sleep. Focus. Creatively and Optimistically Adjust. Repeat – is too long of a motto).

Note: obviously a good 1st AC is lost without a superb 2nd AC. Many thanks to Keith Tedesco, who helped me write and edit the blog.

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