Coronavirus: 7 Things Filmmakers Can Do While All Jobs Are Down

The Coronavirus pandemic continues spreading all over the world, and like a lot of other industries, the filmmaking branch received a significant punch in the stomach. Indeed, most of us are getting jobs canceled/postponed, and we don’t have a lot of things to do for – at least – the next couple of weeks. Instead of seeing the glass half empty, I’m trying to see it half full, and here are 7 things you can do as a filmmaker while all jobs are down to prepare the future better.

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Like most filmmakers, I’m in the same boat as you: all my upcoming shoots are getting canceled one after another. As a freelancer for close to ten years now, it’s the first time I’m left with close to nothing to do. That’s life, there is nothing we can do about it, except waiting for better days to come as soon as possible.

Instead of lying on my couch and watching Netflix all day long, I decided to give you some ideas of things you can do to stay productive. Indeed, when we are working day-in-day-out on projects, there are a lot of things we don’t take time to do. So while we have some empty days in front of us, let’s make good use of these!

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Image credit: Jakob Owens

1. Clean and Organize Your Gear

That’s probably the number one thing we neglect as filmmakers. You are using your camera, lenses, lights, and so on every day, but we don’t take as much care of it as we should. Take some time for “Spring cleaning” all your camera equipment, so when shoots come back, you’ll be ready. Also, it’s a beautiful occasion to start thinking about how to organize, store, transport, and pack your gear more efficiently.

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Image credit: Jakob Owens

2. Clean Install Your Computer and Archive Projects

Something I’m thrilled to have time to do finally is cleaning my computer and doing a fresh install of my system. I have postponed this task on my main editing machine for two years. Indeed, there are good reasons for that: you’re always working on a project, your computer has to get the job done, and you don’t have three days to fully re-install all your software/plugins. It’s a fantastic opportunity to format your main editing machine.

Also, you can seize this opportunity to clean your hard drives, archive projects, and make some space, so when gigs come later on, your system will be fresh with plenty of gigabytes available.

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Image credit: Kevin Ku

3. Work on a New Reel

It’s early 2020, and most of us probably didn’t update our showreel yet. Or, if you’re like me, you’ve not put a new reel online for more than a year. The good news is, you now have a couple of hours to cut a fantastic reel for the year to come, seize that opportunity!

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Image credit: Blaz Photo

4. Keep Learning Things

Filmmaking is a very demanding job. At the end of twelve hours working days, reading a book, or trying new techniques is usually not the number one thing you want to do. While as a Freelance, you should always keep learning new things and perfecting your craft, we often don’t know how to stand back and lift one’s head up from the track. If you always wanted to read a specific book, watch some video tutorials about new software, or even start to learn woodworking, this pandemic offers you plenty of time to do so.

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Image credit: Jakob Owens

5. Personal Projects and Branding

And what about this own project you’ve been sitting on for months? It could be a beautiful thing to stop thinking and start working on something you have in mind for some time. Also, if you’ve been lazy posting content on your social networks, you can enjoy that free time to prepare some content that you’ll post during the next few months. Don’t stop being creative, and start doing things that have been waiting on the sideline for too long.

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Image credit: Lucas Favre

6. Workout and Family Time

During “normal times,” we all have excellent excuses for not doing any workout. I guess the number one loophole is “I don’t have time to exercise.” Well, now you have, so let’s run, do some pushups at home, or any sport you like. Getting in shape before work comes back is a good idea.

Also, a great thing to do is to spend time with your friends and family. By spending time, I don’t necessarily mean physically – Coronavirus pandemic, remember – but you can call/write/Skype your loved ones or some friends you’ve not been talking to for a long time.

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Image credit: Drew Coffman

7. Chill

Finally, take some time to chill and relax. I’ve seen too many Freelance filmmakers doing burnouts because of the crazy day-to-day job we do. For how long didn’t you take any days off? The “grind all days until I make it” culture that you constantly see on social media is burning us from the inside. You don’t have to feel guilty for taking breaks. And in the end, we don’t have any other choice in this Coronavirus pandemic situation, so breathe, enjoy, and stay safe.

And you, what are you doing to keep yourself productive during this Coronavirus pandemic? Are your shoots down? Do you have any other tips you want to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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