Posts

View from the Top banner

Scrolling through my Facebook feed yesterday to catch up on industry news, a Stuff article caught my eye. “Can Aotearoa make the screen the next primary industry?” the hook headline blared.

Diving into the article, I read that SIGANZ President Brendon Durey believes the “constrained” rebate doesn’t go far enough (the rebate offered to international productions shooting here) as other countries like the United Kingdom and Canada offer higher amounts. A white paper put together by educational outfits YooBee College of Design and UP Education calls for more Government money and resources to go into creativity education. And new Wellington outfit The Granary gets its marketing video promoting the use of LED technology backdrops showcased. Multiple handclaps to all three for getting their PR into Stuff.

My hat does go off to the educational outfits and The Granary, though, because they both promote the idea of local IP creation, with YouBee and Up giving a big plug to the possibilities with local stories and within the New Zealand gaming sector, while The Granary seeks to give Kiwi content creators a way to bring Hollywood tech pizazz to local production in an affordable manner.

One of the key reasons Aotearoa has a massive opportunity on its doorstep, journalist Andre Chumko tells us in the article, is that our sector “struggles to keep up with an unprecedented glut of production born from the Covid-19 pandemic.” I would suggest, however, that that glut isn’t going to continue unabated.

As the whole sector was wrestling during our first lock down with how to get back into production, I was having calls with the Directors Guild of America about what we were doing. NZ’s Screensafe COVID protocols were written up and out while the US guilds were still wondering what to do. Although slow to get their protocols in place, American production has for some time now been operating both domestically and internationally amidst the pandemic with strict guidelines that are keeping on-set infections low. Now, with the vaccine rolling out, the sleeping U.S. behemoth of backlogged productions and a year of new shows developed by showrunners and writers locked up in their homes is going to start hitting.

Will Aotearoa get a slice of that pie? Undoubtedly. As will Australia, which is seen as just as safe as New Zealand by Americans, but with more crew, facilities, and perhaps most importantly, onscreen talent that can pull international financing and audiences. Canada, Eastern Europe, and other countries will also benefit as the American juggernaut gets rolling.

The idea that we are going to be awash in streamer and other international production until the Apocalypse, however, is a little far-fetched in my view. A lot of American production will again take place in the U.S. and Canada, just like it always has. A strategic approach and well managed tactical implementation will I believe see New Zealand continue to benefit long term from production coming in from overseas. But the real opportunity I maintain lays in “constrained” local IP generation, and not just with identifiably Kiwi content.

Putting our culture on screen is vitally important, and we must continue to do so. Māori content cuts through in the global marketplace. Indisputable. But it’s the lack of investment in our screen content that is constraining us, whether it’s identifiably New Zealand or not.

NZ On Air, TMP and NZFC are still essentially operating on the same levels of funding they were receiving 10 years ago. COVID funding, though, has shone a spotlight on local IP.

Depending on which whisper you listen to, there were somewhere between 50 and 150 applications for the one-off $50 million Premium Fund. That’s a lot of local IP vying for, in the greater scheme of things, not a lot of money. There would definitely have been more than one pie-in-the-sky idea thrown in with no chance of success. But even if only 10 per cent of the proposals met a key criteria of being high-quality productions that tell New Zealand stories for global audiences at a scale and ambition not previously possible, that’s a clear indication of how much viable, untapped IP is out there.

Our local screen industry needs more investment to take advantage of global content opportunities:

  • More annual funding for NZ On Air, TMP and NZFC
  • An annual Premium Fund
  • More support for New Zealand’s gaming sector

A massively stimulated local industry will provide more than enough employment for current and future crew, and work for suppliers, with the added benefit of generating export dollars and actually creating and retaining IP here. International serviced production will then become a nice-to-have rather than a must-have for the New Zealand screen industry to survive and prosper.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

 

Unite against COVID-19

Now that we find ourselves at Level 3 again, the Government has a number of support mechanisms for both independent contractors and businesses that you may be able to apply for.

Businesses (including independent contractors) can again access the Wage Subsidy Scheme. Information on this will be available late today Monday 1 March 2021 on the Work and Income website: www.workandincome.govt.nz. Further information on other financial support is available on the WINZ website here.

The new Resurgence Support Payment information can be found on the Inland Revenue website here.

For anyone wanting to take advantage of the counselling initiative still on offer from the Vista Foundation and Home and Family Counselling, go here.

ScreenSafe has updated its COVID-19 information today. The latest information, guidelines, and resources are available here.

As always, we are available should members require advice, information or assistance, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

Stay safe, be kind.

DEGNZ

ScreenSafe banner

An update from ScreenSafe:

As of 11:59pm, Sunday 14 February, Auckland has moved to Alert Level 3 and the rest of New Zealand moved to Alert Level 2. This will remain in place until at least until 12 midnight, Wednesday 17 February.

All productions need to ensure they are operating to the ScreenSafe COVID-19 Health & Safety Standard & Protocols as they relate to your region and Alert Level. Visit the ScreenSafe COVID-19 page for the full toolkit and information on how to apply the Alert Levels to your production.

Overview:

Face Coverings

Mask wearing or an appropriate face covering is now recommended for on set crew at Alert Levels 2 and 3. Crew who are able to work in isolation (i.e., work from home or in a single office) have more flexibility within the work space.

It is also required when performing close proximity tasks within level 2 and above, i.e. for make-up or hair.

Talent should wear masks when possible/when interacting with crew, although this will not be practical whilst on screen.

Physical Distancing Requirements

Within Alert Level 2, Productions to ensure all persons that are not part of your production bubble, and who enter the worksite, are to maintain 1 metre physical distance with crew members (i.e. filming in public spaces).

Alert Level 3 requires physical distancing between all crew, including talent, and is not conducive to most filming productions.

Travel to/from Auckland

Travel to/from Auckland is only allowed if you are returning to your place of residence OR if you’re an essential worker.
This means a production based outside of Auckland will not be able to travel Auckland crew to a location outside of Auckland until a reduction in Alert Levels.

Physical distancing and mask wearing is required for all domestic flights, trains, ferries, and ride share services like taxi’s and Ubers.

Contact Tracing

All NZ businesses are required to use the NZ COVID Tracer App (or a manual contract tracing log, preferable contactless). This includes all work sites, offices, locations and suppliers.

ScreenSafe Registration

ALL productions, including 1-person shoots, MUST register with ScreenSafe. It only takes 1 minute to do this: https://screensafe.co.nz/covid19/registration/

Numbers on Set

There are no restrictions on the amount of people on a work site. However, each production needs to assess their own requirements vs. the overall need for physical distancing, hygiene and risk to cast, crew and the public.

Talent

Within Alert Level 3, 1m physical distancing is required for all scripted action.

Talent must be able to dress themselves and do their own make up (under the guidance of crew if required).

No extras at Level 3.

Covid-19 Safety Notes

Every work site MUST have a site specific Covid-19 plan in place.

Note: councils will not issue filming permits without a thorough Covid-19 plan + a ScreenSafe registration.

Related Resources

ScreenSafe Level 3 Cheat Sheet – 15 February 2021 (PDF 540KB)

 

ScreenSafe banner

Important information: Here are the links to the updated ScreenSafe COVID 19 Health and Safety Protocols including the updated information on the Alert Levels 2 and 3. All updates are highlighted in yellow on these documents.

All productions need to ensure they are operating to the ScreenSafe Health and Safety Standard and Protocols as they relate to your region and alert level.

To help with the individual production departments the Departmental Roles have been updated to include the alert levels 2 and 3.

It is now mandatory for any business or service to display the QR code for the tracing app at all entry points. Download your posters here.

Download updated important information for Level 3 here.

Thank you to ScreenSafe / SIGANZ for this information.

ScreenSafe banner

All productions need to ensure they are operating to the ScreenSafe COVID-19 Health & Safety Standard Protocols as they relate to your region and Alert Level. Visit the ScreenSafe COVID-19 page for the full toolkit and information on how to apply the Alert Levels to your production.

** IMPORTANT ADDENDUM: WorkSafe have confirmed that our ScreenSafe alert level procedure should remain the same with the addition of using masks. MORE INFORMATION HERE.

It is now mandatory for any business or service to display the QR code for the tracing app at all entry points. Businesses have till Wednesday 19th August to comply. Download your posters here

Download updated important information for Level 3 here.

Overview:


Mask Wearing

Mask wearing is now recommended for all crew at Levels 2 and 3.

It is also required when performing close proximity tasks within level 2 and above, i.e for make-up or hair. 

Talent should wear masks when possible/when interacting with crew, although this will not be practical whilst on screen. 

Travel to/from Auckland

Travel to/from Auckland is only allowed if you are returning to your place of residence OR if you’re an essential worker.

Physical distancing and mask wearing is required for public transport and flights. 

Contact Tracing

All NZ businesses are required to use the NZ Government Trace App (or another appropriate digital tracing app). This includes all work sites, offices, locations and suppliers.

ScreenSafe Registration

ALL productions, including 1-person shoots, MUST register with ScreenSafe. 

It only takes 1 minute to do this: https://screensafe.co.nz/covid19/registration/

Numbers on Set

There are no restrictions on the amount of people on a work site. However, each production needs to assess their own requirements vs. the overall need for physical distancing, hygiene and risk to cast, crew and the public.

Talent

1m physical distancing is required for all scripted action.

Talent must be able to dress themselves and do their own make up (under the guidance of crew if required).

No extras at Level 3.

Covid-19 Safety Notes

Every work site MUST have a site specific Level 3 Covid-19 plan in place.

Note: councils will not issue filming permits without a thorough Covid-19 plan + a ScreenSafe registration.


Thank you to ScreenSafe, The Screen Industry Guild and SPADA for putting this information together.