March 16, 2020

How Will 'Social Distancing' Impact Doing Business in Hollywood?

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Social distancing has drastically changed a business built on conversations, handshakes, and meetings.

Many of Hollywood's top agencies and management companies shifted to a "work from home" platform while the world figures out COVID-19. News that Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson caught coronavirus rocked the film world and made people here begin to take it seriously. 

The city of Los Angeles is under increasing restrictions. Gyms and offices are closing, restaurants and bars are only available for take-out and delivery. 

Productions are halting, and release dates are being pushed back. 

This is all happening fast. 

As early as last week many general meetings switched to phone calls and writer's rooms shut down.

Where does Hollywood go from here? 

How will 'Social Distancing' Impact Hollywood

As a writer who saw his pitches cancel or get moved to calls/Skypes, I'm a little worried. I have a few projects I assumed were shooting this summer, and now it seems they're likely to ride out the wave and see what the fall looks like. 

In a time where we could use new entertainment, it feels irresponsible to ask people to be on sets together. 

Since the global mission is to flatten the curve, one would assume a lot of content is going to switch over to streaming platforms.

If I was a major streamer, I'd buy every movie set to appear at SXSW and bring it directly to audiences stuck at home.

The same goes for the major releases being pushed. Which will be the first just to forgo theatrical and sell to Netflix, Amazon, or Apple? 

And those concerns aside, what about the day-to-day?

As I watch my roommate pace the living room, on a call and in a virtual meeting I know some parts of the industry will be fine.

There's going to be an adjustment period around learning how to do things. Production, though, is what scares me the most. I'm not sure how we make movies, TV, and streaming content without being around a lot of other people. 

That's always been the nature of the business. 

Hopefully, if we flatten the curve as a society, Hollywood can sneak back into creating things. 

Until then, start a podcast. Film something in your own home. 

Get innovative. 

The industry is going to need all its imagination moving forward. 

We'll see what happens.

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