Ah Christmas. Already seems like a distant memory! Even longer ago was the shoot I did for Compare the Market's Christmas campaign, 'Oleg's Magical Dream'. Back in September I worked at Passion Pictures, and I was happy to see that green production began early: they created a Squarespace website which was shared with the agency and contained everything you would normally have in a PPM booklet, so that no hard copies needed to be printed out. It looked great, saved on paper, and meant all the files were available after the meeting for everyone.
When it came to the shoot I was very excited to be black at Black Island studios! Having heard about all the green developments there from Jo, I was keen to test them out for myself... First of all, NEW MUGS! They went down a storm with the crew, especially once the runners had labelled them up for everyone (although FYI it's best to put the camera tape at the bottom instead of the top!). It was great having all the AdGreen signage ready to go as well – I printed it all off from the website and used it on set.
It was also great to see Vegware being used on set and in the canteen in place of the poly cups and bowls they used to have. All their rubbish & recycling is sorted at the plant so we didn’t have to worry about separating at the studio, although I did set up a bin for compostable waste (teabags, afternoon tea leftovers etc) as they have a separate collection for food waste from the canteen. We didn’t have any bottled water on set, and instead encouraged people to reuse their cups or bring their own bottle in to re-fill from the cooler. I also hired some jugs and glasses from Get Set Hire for the agency which I thought made a lovely addition to their tea table – the cucumber water in particular was a hit!
I also took all the paperwork away to be shredded and recycled back at the office, and we saved a whole load by having the crew sign their NDA digitally. I'd read about using Notability on the paperless section of the website, so I had one of the runners fill in details for the crew using the app on my iPad, and then everyone signed their own NDA with their finger. This all synced with my computer and was really easy to then send off to the agency when it was done. My snazzy new display board from XL Displays got it's debut on this job too, for the boards and schedule by the camera team (also saving me printing loads for everyone). I know not every production manager is as crazy as me and willing to buy one for their own kit, but it would be a great thing for production companies to have at the office to bring out on shoots – it could even be prepped the day before the shoot rather than runners having to do it first thing. I bought the senior size, but it was a bit bigger than we needed – however I did manage to sell a third of it to the 1st AD as he loved it as well, so now it is the perfect size! We also got a couple of additional pin boards – one for the director and one for the agency, so we also hired these from Get Set Hire which has the added benefit of being on wheels - perfect for a studio shoot, and I know Jo has also used it once on location.
One thing I did have concerns about was our big set build, however construction were able to take most bits back to their studio and re-purpose. We also had to bring in about 30 live Christmas trees so I consulted the Rehome Your Leftovers section of the AdGreen site and came across Community Wood Recycling who put me in touch with a local company who were willing to collect and re-use. In the end though we gave the trees to another Christmas shoot so that was even better! In the interests of full disclosure, part of the job was also shot in Finland, but producer Patrick Duguid took the green vibe with him, sending us this lovely pic of his reusable bowls and cups, made with ‘smashed wood mixed with glue’ - each crew member had their own for the day.
What was particularly lovely on this job was working with an equally green-minded producer. I didn’t feel I had to hide my green ideas as he was totally on board with them all - he even cycled to and from the studio! So thank you to Patrick for supporting AdGreen : )
TOP TIP... next time you're at Black Island: I’d been saving up all my printer cartridges waiting for the next time I was at the studio as you can recycle them at Staples, at the end of the Alliance Road. I got the runner to drop them off (using a bag for life of course!) and to clarify we were just donating them and didn’t want anything in return - there was some initial confusion!
To help you on your shoot, check out our Five Easy Things to get some inspiration. You can also point your crew to What Can I Do? and use our signage for your recycling bins and general awareness raising. The Sustainable Production Agreement is also a great way to make sure you’ve ticked as many green boxes as possible, and our FAQ section can help with info about coolers, cups and Ram Board. If you'd like to help inspire others by sharing your experience, get in touch. Just 3 or 4 points and a few pics is enough for us to put together a case study.