Now & Next Podcast S3E4 – Staying eco-conscious on set during Covid-19

At a time when fast food restaurants all over North America are serving veggie burgers and most retailers are charging extra for plastic bags, it seems reasonable to assume that the level of eco-consciousness is fairly high. And while that’s true to a large extent, there is still a long way to go. The film and TV industry is no exception, according to Clara George, the guest on this episode of the podcast.

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Working towards a "green Covid recovery" in the production industry

Based in Vancouver, Clara is the VP of Studios & Sustainable Production Services at Sim International, a role she transitioned into after close to three decades working as a producer in film and TV. Clara has had a longstanding interest in environmental issues and has been active in a variety of sustainability initiatives over the years but  it wasn’t until Covid-19 hit earlier this year that she made greening film and TV production her full time focus. According to her, while the Covid-19 restrictions might seem like a step back in terms of sustainability efforts, they’ve actually provided an opportunity for people to become more aware of unnecessary waste on set, and come up together with new solutions.

Among the strides Clara George has made in sustainable production practices: shifting a number of BC-based productions to clean grid power, making a fleet of close to 100 hybrid vehicles available for short term rentals for productions shooting in Vancouver, and finding workaround solutions to the high emissions diesel generators that have been a staple on film and TV sets for several decades. 

In this episode of the podcast Clara also shares some examples of how she’s been able to essentially ‘sneak’ more sustainable practices onto set, and explains that crew members and producers are learning to both think and behave differently  when it comes to issues that have an environmental impact. And to top it all off , Clara says such initiatives either cost nothing to implement or, even better, end up saving the production money. 

In this episode, learn more about:

  • What can be done during COVID-19 in terms of sustainable production (01:28);
  • What made Clara rethink her entire career during COVID-19 and how she is working  to instigate change at the city of Vancouver level (03:50); 
  • How a few people can make a difference in terms of sustainability and a trick from Clara to encourage some initiatives on set (11:20); 
  • Making sustainability a common goal in front and behind the cameras (13:35);
  • Clara’s pet peeve on set regarding waste in production (17:48)

Download a transcript of the episode

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About Now & Next

Now & Next is a podcast featuring in-depth interviews in which experts take a closer look at emerging trends and the digital transformation of the media and entertainment industries. Now & Next is brought to you by the Canada Media Fund, produced by Katie Jensen and recorded in Toronto at Vocal Fry Studios. Leora Kornfeld hosts the series.