What happens when you get 53 producers from 53 countries on a zoom call? Production gold, that’s what.

What happens when you get 53 producers from 53 countries on a zoom call? Production gold, that’s what.

Since the world went into various stages of Covid-19 lockdown, the 53 companies that make up the Global Production Network (GPN) have been meeting twice a month, sometimes more. Usually there’s an agenda – be it comparing different countries’ Covid-19 protocols, discussing insurance or scheduling remote testing – but sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes, this eclectic group of top producers from every corner of the globe just hang out and catch up. And that’s the nature of the GPN network. It’s pretty special.

The world’s first network of production service companies has matured since its inception as a representative company 17 years ago by founder Harry Tracosas. As he recalls “When we launched in the USA in 2003 there was no such entity in our industry. The business of networking production services was unheard of and left clients scratching their heads.” GPN’s reputation grew as clients began to see the benefits of trusted referrals and priceless time saving in terms of researching locations and companies, cost comparisons & streamlining logistics for multi-country shoots. In 2012, GPN added a base in Europe led by Germany-based Julia Weichinger. As in the USA, it was a totally new concept. “It was the Brits, interestingly, who caught on first and who helped establish our reputation in Europe.” explains Julia. “Germany followed and then France.  Around the same time, these 3 countries started sharing directors and that’s when the GPN concept really gained traction in Europe.”

Fast forward to 2020 and GPN is widely recognised as a respected body of trusted, global production savvy with a client list that reads like a Who’s Who of some of the biggest, most creative International Production Companies, Advertising Agencies and Clients in the world.

The network’s reputation has long been underpinned by their belief in sharing knowledge and best practise. As Pull the Trigger’s Max Brady says “it’s a network of people who have experience in pretty much everything you can think of in production.   If you need to shoot in the most inhospitable place on earth, someone in the GPN family will have experience that they can share. No matter where your boundary pushing director is taking the job, you know that you are in safe hands.”

They have traditionally met at biannual summits and in Cannes, hosting the now legendary GPN Lounge on the Croisette where clients come to meet, chill, SUP and join the morning yoga sessions.

Not this year of course; this has been the year of Zoom. And while our industry and most of the world are probably zoomed out right now, these zoom calls, especially at the height of lockdown, have really emphasized what makes GPN such a powerhouse.

Imagine. You have 53 highly experienced producers & EP’s  from some of the top service companies around the world meeting to share opinion and production insight that will then be disseminated among clients at a time when it could not be more useful.

As Moonlighting’s Philip Key says “Put together, there is a serious amount of brain power with centuries of collective experience. What makes this uniquely powerful is that the service ethic is baked into the DNA of these companies so we all approach production issues from a common viewpoint.”

Remote shooting is a case in point. We collaborated on a series of tests around the world from Ireland and Hungary to South Africa and Japan. Each shoot drew on its regular local crew with very different productions; GPN members joined from around the world each time, playing different roles to replicate a multi-country set-up (with stand-in role of “tricky director” on one such test memorably played by Loop Films’ Jarle Tangen). These have undoubtedly been more productive than each company running multiple tests within their own country and have resulted in tried and tested systems and solutions with a global perspective.

The icing on the cake for this dream-team of distilled production savvy is the camaraderie and mutual respect between the producers.

“I love that we have shared intelligence and experience on remote filming, that we supported each other on video calls, shared jokes, funny videos on What’s App, then circled back to sharing intel on what was happening around the globe in production,” explains Max. “It has been a rollercoaster these past 5 months, many of us have suffered greatly both personally and in business, but still, we have managed as a family to laugh on our zoom calls, joke with Mr Positive in Japan about his questionable wardrobe choices and wigs, and remind Harry Tracosas that he can’t have a bad ‘home hair’ day because he doesn’t have any hair!”

When we couldn’t all meet in Cannes, we scheduled a catch-up with wine and even managed to schedule an online yoga session for clients with “Yoga in Cannes” instructor Benni.  Admittedly, the zoom “sea background” didn’t quite replicate the smells and sounds of the Mediterranean gently lapping while we sweated our way through the session but the post-yoga rose was good.

Family is the word that most of the producers said when asked about GPN. As Harry says “There is an interesting dynamic that exists within GPN – a MOJO, a solidarity that runs deep and is palatable for all of us. As with any business, your reputation is only as good as your last job. We ‘work’ as a group and toward a common goal. This for me is very humbling.”

As some borders around the world start opening up, it’s heartening to see shoots back on in many countries, with clients and production companies adapting to the new protocols. Trust and confidence in a production service company are going to be more important than ever before.

Beccy Kellond, Moonlighting

***GPN represents a select network of production service companies. Each company within the network has been fully vetted, is at the top of their game, is financially solid, ethically and morally responsible and has a long-standing history of providing quality production services to the international film community.

For a full list of clients, visit https://www.globalproductionnetwork.com/wst/#clients

For more information about the Global Production Network (GPN) visit www.globalproductionnetwork.com

 

Roman Rütten’s OPPO RENO3 – our first remote shoot

Roman Rütten’s OPPO RENO3 – our first remote shoot

This is Roman Rütten’s OPPO – shot with London’s 1stAveMachine with Moonlighting in March – and our first remote commercial shoot. VIEW HERE Shot on location in and around Cape Town in the heady days before social-distancing, with the clients and agency joining remotely from the UK and China.

As Roman told LBBOnline, “it was pretty intense. But we did tests before, and it actually worked really well. [The clients] were able to comment live while setting up and do set approvals over a phone camera. For sure I will remember this shoot. I am really happy it worked out and our client was so great about it and trustful”.

WE’VE BEEN RUNNING MORE TEST SHOOTS WITH REMOTE DIRECTOR & SYNC SOUND TO STREAMLINE COMMUNICATION CHANNELS

In last week’s test shoots, we invited around 150 producers from South Africa and from around the world (through GPN: Global Production Network) to observe over the course of 3 sessions. With our director joining remotely, we shot with sync sound, talent and full Covid-19 Health and Safety Protocols. We’ve also been joining several test shoots with our GPN partners around the world as well as benefitting from our partner Moonsport’s experience in running remote broadcast productions.

For us, the key points to ensure a successful remote shoot are:

  • Prep time is crucial.
  • Bandwidth is king
  • Communication is key with multiple communication channels open. There needs to be complete separation in comms between the “director & set” and “the director and clients” and the director needs to be able to have a private conversation with whomever he chooses.

What we are currently developing to further refine remote shooting:

  • We ran a test this week on an app that allows the remote director to be included in the set walkie-talkie system; we will take this on a location shoot next week

We’ll keep you posted.

For more info on shooting in South Africa, please contact Shayne Brookstein at shayne@moonlighting.co.za

Read the LBBOnline article on Roman and other directors’experiences of shooting remotely here.

 

Latest remote test shoots

Latest remote test shoots

WE’VE BEEN RUNNING MORE TEST SHOOTS WITH REMOTE DIRECTOR & SYNC SOUND TO STREAMLINE COMMUNICATION CHANNELS

In last week’s test shoots, we invited around 150 producers from South Africa and from around the world (through GPN: Global Production Network) to observe over the course of 3 sessions. With our director joining remotely, we shot with sync sound, talent and full Covid-19 Health and Safety Protocols. We’ve also been joining several test shoots with our GPN partners around the world as well as benefitting from our partner Moonsport’s experience in running remote broadcast productions.

For us, the key points to ensure a successful remote shoot are:

  • Prep time is crucial.
  • Bandwidth is king
  • Communication is key with multiple communication channels open. There needs to be complete separation in comms between the “director & set” and “the director and clients” and the director needs to be able to have a private conversation with whomever he chooses.

What we are currently developing to further refine remote shooting:

  • We ran a test this week on an app that allows the remote director to be included in the set walkie-talkie system; we will take this on a location shoot next week

We’ll keep you posted.

For more info on shooting in South Africa, please contact Shayne Brookstein at shayne@moonlighting.co.za

 

CPA Covid-19 Protocol for Commercial shoots – 4 May 2020

CPA Covid-19 Protocol for Commercial shoots – 4 May 2020

 

The aim of these protocols is to minimise exposure and thereby limit the spread of COVID-19 whilst maintaining a functional film industry.

This document is intended to supplement Government guidelines based on the risk adjusted approach at the respective levels 5 – 1. The aim is for the control measures listed to be used as best practice to protect the safety of all those who work on film sets. Many of the measures listed herein are rooted in good film-set discipline, and should be readily adaptable.

You can view the CPA Covid-19 Protocol for commercial shoots here:

https://www.moonlighting.co.za/COVID19-Notice/CPA_Covid-19_Protocol_04_May_2020.pdf

 

SOUTH AFRICA OPEN FOR FILMING AGAIN

 

We are really excited to say that we are able to start shooting again!!!
As long as our borders remain closed, we are able to shoot remotely using the expertise we developed on our shoot in March and which we have been refining over the last few weeks. .
There will of course be strict protocols in place. The City of Cape Town is currently finalising the Standard Operating Procedures which we will update you on as soon as we can.

A huge THANK YOU to the CPA (Commercials Producers Assocuation) who have worked tirelessly over the past 2 weeks to develop a Covid-19 Protocol for Commercial shoots which will ensure that all shoots operate with stringent health and safety procedures..

You can view the Covid-19 Protocol for Commercial shoots here.

https://www.moonlighting.co.za/COVID19-Notice/CPA_Covid-19_Protocol_04_May_2020.pdf

 

Art in Lockdown: Frans Marais and Karen Germishuys’ art recreations are pure genius

Art in Lockdown: Frans Marais and Karen Germishuys’ art recreations are pure genius

​Breathtakingly inspired recreations of art have been emerging daily from the home of Dreamcatcher’s Frans Marais and Karen Germishuys as they treat us to their #artchallenges. From Vladimir Tretchikoff’s “Lonely Clowns” complete with vuvuzela to Holbein’s “The Ambassadors” or Chagall’s “Over the Town” with the gloriously detailed landscape made of groceries, they are quite simply, genius.

Frans and Karen were never going to spend lockdown just chilling but what they’ve been doing with their art recreations takes lockdown creativity to a whole new level. “An article we read on the Getty Museum Art Challenge led us to the @tussenkunstenqurantaine Instagram feed and we were really inspired by what people were doing” explained Karen. “I begged Frans to do just one but we got such a great response that we now do one a day!”.

Contrary to what many of us think, after seeing the art and knowing their ability to make show-stopping arrivals at fancy-dress parties, they don’t in fact have a huge dress-up collection. Part of the fun has been making do and improvising, as with Karen’s dress in Tamara de Lempicka’s “Portrait de Mme Poum Rachou” that is made of kitchen roll. Similarly, the cloaks in Gustav Klint’s “The Kiss” will have had many wondering how on earth they happened to have the exact coloured fabric in the house; it turns out that those cloaks were made up of a recycled bag, some yellow underpants and some dusters. “I had to watch out for all the pins sticking out everywhere” laughs Frans. “We’ve hauled sheets and tablecloths out of cupboards, used the weirdest things for hats, raided the larder (check the wall of Fitch and Leedes Tonic cans in “Over the Town”) and dug out cuddly toys. When we started on Tretchikoff’s “Lonely Clowns”, I slung a brown towel around my shoulders and put on a glove – and it took off from there”.

Their home is their studio and they’ve used every space including the bathroom. It takes them around 2-3 hours to set each one up – from getting the angle and lighting right to moving furniture around and herding the dogs when they are not being drafted in as props. “Our house has been turned upside down numerous times!” said Karen. “Sometimes, we take the picture and then realise that something isn’t right so then we stop and start again. As we work on a project and how to recreate it, we’ve discovered that a lot of the poses are really odd; bodies are twisted in crazy ways and trying to replicate them is almost impossible!”

Aside from the sheer genius in composition and lighting (Frans’ tools of the trade do come in handy here), there’s also the element of finding the art to work from. They spend hours trawling the internet, looking at their favourite artists as well as searching for specific subject matter. “We decided early on not to focus on paintings that lots of people have done and that self-imposed rule is making our choices more difficult because there are so many people doing the challenge” explains Karen. “Typically, one of us finds something, the other one says it’s too crazy and then we see how we can make it work and come up with the costumes and props. Now people have started sending us requests which has definitely added to the challenge.”

Some of the art even has a lockdown focus. Check out the mask in their version of Karel Appel’s “Hiep Hiep Hoerah” or many of their captions such as “Losing the will to live” (Degas’ Portrait of Henri Michel Levy) or “When you haven’t left your bed in days” (Mucha’s Portrait of Mucha’s daughter).

They are humbly amazed at the euphoric reception their work has been receiving. “An unexpected highlight for us has been the kindness and generosity from everyone who has commented, shared the posts or private-messaged us. It’s given us a wonderful sense of community. We’re reaching people from all over the world: the USA, Russia, Lithuania, the Maldives, all sorts of places.”

The routine and focus needed to create the art has played a vital role in feeding Frans’ creativity as well as allowing them to focus, if briefly, on something other than the human suffering and economic meltdown caused by this pandemic. “For the time that we’re busy with our projects, we’re in a different, more positive headspace,” says Karen. “We’ve laughed hysterically throughout each one and that’s helping us stay sane.”

Judging by the feedback on Facebook, it’s helping us all stay sane too as we wait impatiently each day for their posts. No pressure Frans and Karen but please don’t stop.

*Frans and Karen’s Dreamcatcher Productions is a videography and editing company that specialises in Behind-the-Scenes and digital content. For more information visit their website www.dreamcatcherproductions.co.za

* You can read about The Getty Museum’s original challenge here    https://blogs.getty.edu/iris/getty-artworks-recreated-with-household-items-by-creative-geniuses-the-world-over/

Beccy Kellond, Marketing