POV (Perspective)
Innovative Ways To Keep Production Going
  • Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2020
Aaron Kovan

In the era of COVID-19, production companies, like many other companies, are feeling the strain. As the world is in lockdown, live action shoots (the way that we know them) have come to a standstill. But, as campaigns rapidly shift, our clients are still looking for us to produce work. 

So how can we navigate this new reality? How can we use this opportunity to find new ways to flex our creative muscles, be resourceful, and produce some awesome content from the confines of our homes? 

Below, I share some of the ways we’ve managed to keep production moving and creativity flowing at VaynerProductions during this time. 

Communication and Tech Between Directors, Editors and Producers
With our entire team needing to WFH, staying in touch and over communicating are more important than ever right now. We’ve been using daily video conference calls to ensure everyone is on the same page, problem solving issues, coming up with new innovative ideas, QC’ing all the content we deliver, and sharing new breaking work from across the industry to keep us inspired.

Be Nimble. Get Inventive 
With shoots on hold, now is the time to be nimble and get inventive. 

At VaynerProductions, we’ve created some great UGC content by sending camera kits to our clients’ employees and/or to actors. These include iPhones, microphones and camera rigs to capture the content, and tutorials on ‘how to shoot.’ It’s not the same as having a professional crew and a director on set, but it’s a great way to capture original content.

Zoom has become one of the go-to solutions for meetings, but we’ve also used it to pull off remote shoots for a couple of projects; from the casting of actors, to the scouting of locations, and even having our director direct talent through the platform. The process definitely takes longer, and the end results might not be as polished, but it still allows us to create compelling and authentic content, given the situation we’re in. 

No studio? No problem. We acted fast in order to stay functional by creating studios in the homes of some of our staff photographers, DPs, and content creators. The team has had tremendous success with table-top product shots for a number of brands, and have also used spaces such as their personal kitchen as backdrops. It’s meant that everyone has really had to step up their roles on set, acting as the stylist, gaffer, grip, production assistant, camera tech, and media manager all in one session. But it’s been effective. 

Some of our DPs and directors have also captured content on location around New York City (with the necessary protective equipment and keeping to social distancing rules, of course). The footage of the empty streets and landmarks in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens are eerie, yet amazing. 

When you dig deep, it’s surprising how much great footage you realize was left on the cutting room floor. Utilizing existing footage from previous shoots and editing it with found footage or user generated content is a great way to tell our stories. Editing existing assets, adding new graphics and design, and re-recording voice overs is an easy way to deliver original content for all media platforms. We’ve also had great success sourcing footage through photo-journalists and specialized researchers, rather than going down the stock image route. It’s all about getting creative and being resourceful. 

As an in-house production company, we have the advantage of being able to work with all departments across VaynerMedia. That constant collaboration between creatives, directors, producers, editors, and animators is second nature and leads to the crafting of better work. So use this time to forge more collaboration across the company and the different agencies you work with. At a time when the world is re-contemplating everything, it is a great opportunity to re-contemplate your ways of working. 

These new limitations are forcing everyone to work and think differently. And production is no different. It may even change the industry forever. So, see this time as a liberating escape from the ‘norm,’ find innovative ways to keep the production going, and embrace the new makers culture we’re operating in. 

Aaron Kovan is chief production officer, VaynerMedia and VaynerProductions. VaynerMedia is a global integrated agency; VaynerProductions is a full-service production lab and the in-house production arm for VaynerMedia.

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