Covid-19 shut down every film set. March 13th I was on set, and between 1pm and 3pm, via text and e-mail, every job I had booked disappeared. It was not just me. Everyone’s phones were buzzing as well. When we wrapped for the day everyone realized tomorrow might be the last day of work for a while.
People in post-production stayed busy. TV editing is usually happening 3 weeks to 3 months behind things being shot on set. Movie post-production, especially when you factor in special effects, can run much longer. My friends work mostly on commercials and corporate videos, and they were slammed. As time passed, post-production has also slowed down. There simply isn’t new footage to edit. Clip shows, retrospectives, and repurposed old footage can only take you so far. People in post are now losing their jobs as well.
The backlog of footage for TV is mostly gone. That is why you see articles about opening up filming. Pressure is mounting to get new material filmed. I day-played on a show a little while ago. My temperature was checked when I arrived and at lunch, everyone wore masks all day, and we all ate lunch in our cars. Film shoots have insurance attached so none of that stuff is, or will be, optional.
Also, the work is much harder. In a fast-paced, high pressure environment, not being able to see someone’s face when they talk dramatically impairs communication and makes things everything exponentially harder.
What does that all mean? TV and movies that were filmed before the lockdowns are dwindling, and freshly shot shows are probably further off than people think. Producers are mentioning animation a lot but, south park aside, that is a long production process.
What does all this have to do with books?
New TV and film will be offering the least competition they have to other media in 60 years. This presents opportunities for authors. People will look for new things to amuse themselves. This is a new time to launch books and relaunch books, double down on online outreach, build your mailing list and try new things.
Looking at the calendar and doing the schedule math, I was chagrined to notice that the dearth of new TV and movie content coincides with the peak of the U.S. election coverage. U.S. society has a tendency to overcover, sensationalize and fear monger in our political reporting. The same psychology that social media uses to induce rage clicking is exploited by TV news. The media will have time to fill and turn to the one thing that they have available, the election.
Give people something else to do, and release some books.