"Filming is at a Standstill But Many Other Pillars Can Carry On"

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CB News interviewed founder and producer of Birth, Hugo Legrand-Nathan on the impacts of coronavirus on the industry
"Filming is at a Standstill But Many Other Pillars Can Carry On"

The voices of producers are not forgotten in this series that CB News pursues on the effects of the sanitary and economic crisis on business activity. Hugo Legrand-Nathan, founder and producer of the Birth Paris, Birth London and 2 Horloges lent himself to the interview.

Q> How are you responding to this health and sanitary crisis? For your Employees? Your partners, especially freelancers?

Hugo Legrand-Nathan> These are the first days of this unique and somewhat sad experience. Organisation in these circumstances is a new challenge for us. We immediately took stock of the announcements that were to follow. So, we planned ahead and particularly in terms of post production. In accordance with government announcements, we closed our office and shared the instructions with our team. We are starting to put things in place so that we carry usual business with our teams, our customers and our directors. Our teams had recently completed the installation of new collaborative work tools at Birth Paris, 2 Horloges in Algiers and Birth London to facilitate fluid communication between our three offices so we will be able to test them in real time including ‘Paris in Paris’. Filming is at a standstill, but many other pillars can carry on, I think of the creative department, in pitch, or script development, our communication department and our commercial section. 

Q> Are you starting to measure the financial impact?

Hugo Legrand-Nathan> From a macro point of view, I find it hard to say. I have the impression that the big entities are going to be in great difficulties which will, in turn, impact us. 
At our level, the life cycle of a production company is always a complicated affair. Apart from this tragic event, we are used to having peaks of strong growth, but also of decline. In other circumstances, in the past, we had to adjust our sliders to keep up with the evolution of our business. At the moment, we are living on our reserves trying to be vigilant about costs. In fact, the total cessation of the activity also leads to a decrease in our expenses, since some of our freelance partners work on the management of the pitches and filming which are all stopped. How long will it last ? This is the real question because as independents, our reserves are not infinite. We are a small, strong army, but the state of the big groups on the one hand, and the economy as a whole on the other. This is an equation that I cannot measure at my level, but if the epidemic is not contained quickly, there will be an outburst. 

Q> How do your customers respond? Campaign/film postponement, change of communication strategies?

Hugo Legrand-Nathan> All projects are canceled or postponed. Nothing more to add. I encourage everyone to stay in action anyway and plan to get back on our feet, stronger as soon as we have successfully overcome this scourge. Only the filming side is at a standstill, but that doesn’t prevent us from reflecting and preparing for the ‘after coronavirus’.

Q> According to you, how can you be useful - your production companies and your sector - for society at this time?

Hugo Legrand-Nathan> Our power to act remains limited vis-à-vis society from a macro point of view. At the micro level, we will show solidarity with our employees, stay focused on a daily basis with all our directors, show solidarity with our freelancers. I think this is the time to show our solidarity internally and to strengthen, more than ever, the links with everyone who has been the birth of Birth since its creation. We need to keep our spirits up, stay alive, talk, create, write, and let our directors be more inspired and inspiring than ever. The spirits of each one of us will be key determinants for our nation as a whole. Disclosing hope and holding our ‘troops’/team’s spirits’ is a must in order to prevent a sense of abandonment within our team. We will try - in the coming days - to create continuous content in spite of the hurdles in our sector. 

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Agent Elson, 4 months ago