The lockdown has wreaked havoc on the entertainment industry. Film and TV projects have been either stalled or canceled entirely. But now that the lockdown restrictions are starting to ease, studios are gearing up to start filming again, while keeping social distancing rules in mind. Michael Bay has teamed up with Adam Goodman's Invisible Narratives production company to produce Songbird, which is set to become the first movie to begin shooting during the lockdown.
The film is to be directed by Into the Dark filmmaker Adam Mason, who co-authored the script along with Misconduct writer Simon Boyes. Michael Bay will be producing. Filming is expected to begin in five weeks. Lockdown rules still do not allow for public gatherings of large groups of people, so filming an entire movie, which usually requires 50 to 100 crew and cast members being on set at the same time, might appear impossible at the moment.
However, the team behind Songbird is taking a circuitous route when it comes to filming the movie. Actors are being provided with remote training by the filmmakers. It is also said that shooting will never involve two people being in the same room together. In keeping with social distancing guidelines, the technical crew will set up the shots, and then leave, and the actors will come in to film their scenes, without ever engaging with each other face-to-face.
The studio has reportedly screened their filming plans with the various guilds in charge of crafting new safety protocols for the film industry, and have been given the green light to move ahead with their plans.
Songbird is reported to be a thriller in the vein of Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield, and deals with a group of people who, two years into the future, are still in a state of lockdown, and must battle isolation and paranoia amidst rumors of a new, mutated version of the pathogen and government conspiracies regarding the nature of the emergency. So basically the world as it is today.
Michael Bay is a surprising choice to reopen the markets with a low-budget thriller. The filmmaker has become known for big-budget, explosion-heavy spectacle movies that make use of hundreds of actors and gigantic film crews. But Bay's willingness to adapt to the times is the kind of flexibility that the rest of the entertainment industry will also have to follow if they want to get back to work.
It appears unlikely that social distancing guidelines will be going away any time soon, which means filming shows and movies the traditional way will not be possible. The immediate future of movies may very well have to be features like Songbird that can be made without requiring large crowds. During the era of radio, companies managed to stage adaptations of entire novels, comics, and plays and provide a diverse array of options to audiences using only the voices of actors and special effect sounds. The current lockdown will require a similar manner of out-of-the-box thinking and creative solutions if the industry is to survive. This comes from Deadline.