Tuesday, 23 November 2010

'Sustainability in the Motion Picture Industry' - Key points and arguments

Although the motion picture and TV industry has shown interest in environmental issues the ‘bulk of this interest manifests itself in environmental content of shows and films and in the environmental activism and philanthropy of celebrities, rather than in industry operations’ (pg5).  The basis of this article stems from this point suggesting ways in which sustainable practice can be adopted during the production of filming motion pictures.  Through research of interviewing environmental practices already in use in the film industry and statistics, the objective was to produce a set of ‘green guidelines’ for film producers to follow, based on studies of what was already in practice. The source concentrates on the production of the film, not mentioning distribution or content.

Film crews are very large, with well over 100 people on a location shoot, which often requires more energy than is available (mainly down to lighting required, (pg30)). This also includes heavy transportation of people, equipment, set and other necessities, all at great energy consumption. The huge extent is shown in graphs where compared to other sectors, such as hotels, petroleum refining and aerospace (pg 17). The source describes the various needs for such high-energy processes, before going into detail about how each can be done more sustainably. This includes recycling of sets and materials, films etc, consumption during filming aswell as the harmful gases emitted through filming process. The article goes on to describe various solutions to these.

The most important point highlighted is that there is a need for change in the working practices and behaviour in the film industry (pg22). This, alongside money, proves the fundamental reasons for working sustainably or not. The key concept suggests the development in communication and education to encourage sustainable processes to be adopted. A hierarchy idea is discussed suggesting the directors and producers taking time to ‘educate and influence and influential’ (pg43), and how teaching methods be looked at for potential employees in the industry prior to practice, e.g as a student. The source suggests the DGA and PGA assosiations as being the most effective to do this (pg43).

Being informed of solutions for sustainable film production is vital but also communicating this to the whole production team is as much so. It is challenge for production to know how to access this information, for example for waste removal, recycling, air quality issues etc, especially as it is different in every location. ‘An experienced location manager has all this information, but they are rare’ (pg30). Another interesting problem highlighted is that workers at film studies had a ‘deep-seated fear that any publicity about their environmental programs will attract unwanted attention to issues that still need to be addressed’, reaffirming the earlier idea of starting at the top – heads of the studios spreading the importance of environmentally friendly film making, encouraging ideas to filter through to other companies. Communication in the motion picture industry relies on ‘personal connections’ (pg22) which refers to how epidemics spread, described by Gladwell in The Tipping Point, and how this applies to the industry. A lot of how the crew run is based on attitudes. After the environmental manager meets with the production crew ‘it depends on the crew wether they care’ (pg22) enough to work in a green manner. The source suggests a positive attitude and improved communication is proven to be the starting point of ensuring sustainability in the motion picture industry.

Corbett. C. J,. Turco. R. P., (2006), Sustainability in the Motion Picture Industry, Los Angeles: California Intergrated Waste Management Board

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