Were You More or Less Productive During the Pandemic?

'Barton Fink'Credit: 20th Century Fox
We've been locked inside for over a year. Did you get anything done? 

One of the things we all struggled with over the last year is scrolling through the news, feeling like we're all doomed. It was a heavy time, one that took a lot of effort and energy to deal with. Compounding that, many of us were locked in with roommates and family, taking away from the quiet time we need to produce pages. 

I found that my productivity ebbed and flowed. And I wasn't alone.

In a recent Hollywood Reporter article, some of your favorite screenwriters felt the same. Michael Green, the screenwriter of Logan and Blade Runner 2049, said, "It's not that your engine can't do it, but you're spending a lot of energy, and it's certainly not as efficient. I've written less in the last year than I have in my entire career."

This sentiment was echoed by others. 

"When lockdown first started, everything stopped in me creatively," said Russian Doll co-creator Leslye Headland.

Damon Lindelof agreed and lamented Zoom rooms and the slowdown of his creative process. 

Zoom rooms have been trying. It's hard to form chemistry without being in the same room, and after a couple of hours on the camera, people are exhausted. It's also hard to pay attention, especially with kids making appearances, cats walking across keyboards, and social media the click of a button away. 

I worked on a couple of projects over Zoom this past summer, and it was so hard staying up and even just cracking jokes with other people. You try to make eye contact and it's hard to read the body language of when to chime in.  

Vida creator Tanya Saracho said, “I spent six months creatively frozen in L.A. and needed to change the air I was breathing.” She flew out of the country to try to get her creative juices flowing. But that's not an option for most. 

Not everyone feels like that. I was lucky enough to make real headway on a few projects because I had all distractions removed. It was hard early on, but I made my weekends and nights all about telling stories. It was helpful to disappear from the doom scrolling and just write about a world. 

I'm not alone. 

"It's actually been a rich creative time," said Liz Tigelaar (Little Fires Everywhere). "As a writer, so much of your life infuses your work, so just broadening our world has helped me creatively so much." 

What were your experiences with the pandemic? Did you have time to write more or did you find yourself frustrated by the situation? 

Let us know in the comments.      

Your Comment


It depends on the way of thinking. Some of us have spent more time working and improving their skills while others didn't want to or did not have the chance to do it.

March 19, 2021 at 6:42AM

Stephanie Mitchel
Marketing manager

Less. Was too busy dealing with family health issues.

March 19, 2021 at 11:02AM

David Patrick Raines

I was very unproductive, almost through this insanity. I had some ideas started, but paused due to a lack of interest in writing. It was too much for me to handle. I watched a few more shows and films, but... I'd rather not continue. But I hope I can finally resume writing now that this thing is starting to calm down.

March 19, 2021 at 12:18PM

Jesse J. Tripp

Less. I focused on therapy and my mental health.

March 19, 2021 at 2:59PM

Director, Cinematographer, Editor and Colorist

less productive, i need social interaction, i love my work for the chance to meet and interact with people, exchange experience and feedback.
i hate social distance.
anyway, i learned more about postproduction and Ai developing, but less than previous years, here in italy we are used to meet people and lockdown was very hard period for me.

March 21, 2021 at 11:13AM

Carlo Macchiavello
Director (with strong tech knowledge)

Can't argue with it. The pandemic drove me nuts. I was barely productive, and nothing was being turned into a film script.
And in some cases, I didn't write anything for months.

March 22, 2021 at 11:06PM

Jesse J. Tripp