It has been 2.5 months since the start of the circuit breaker and today, everyone at OHBOY continues to work from home except in the case of filming or similar production needs. This shift has certainly been a tough one, and yet this is only the beginning. The combination of a major yet-unresolved public health issue, together with unprecedented economic upheavals, means that the future is anyone’s guess.
Thus, the best thing we can do now is put our efforts into adapting for the present. Operationalizing the evolving lists of rules and recommendations for maintaining safety in the office and on set is a major challenge in itself. Filming in particular is a problem as producing high quality content often requires a large but transient team working together. Each freelancer brings with him or her a history of earlier contact with dozens of others from different sets. Scenes have to be augmented to remove direct contact between characters. The pace of work slows down with staggered timings for meals and arrivals, as well as the process of equipment sanitization having to be applied every now and then.
But the most difficult part? Knowing that there is no end in sight to all this. And therein lies the greatest threat of all.
Over time, these rules and restrictions will take a mental toll on all of us. The danger is that they turn performative – a way to satisfy the authorities rather than a genuine effort to maintain safety – thus resulting in a less than optimum execution of the rules. There are already examples of this happening among the general community, with the actions resulting in unfortunate outcomes – and we have only just passed the 1 month post-circuit breaker mark.
The next step in this battle therefore lies not just in figuring out how to implement safe distancing measures and temperature taking, but in moving from developing rules to nurturing new mindsets both on set and elsewhere – the mindset that these new activities, while difficult, are more than just interim challenges, but are quite possibly a permanent but neccessary fact of life.