Vancouver is also known as Hollywood North. A lot of movies are filmed here. I know this is true because I work downtown, and my office overlooks a particularly colourful alley that is often occupied by film crews.
I love movies. Heck, we’re making a movie. But the thing about the movie industry is that it’s a bit wasteful. The lights and gear use lots of energy; the trucks and mobile dressing rooms use tons of gas; the temporary sets are filled with disposable props and wardrobes; and there is a constant supply of paper plates and food and take out cups.
Everyone is trying to meet deadlines and organize people, and somehow sustainability gets pushed down on the list. But lest you think this is just a rant on the movie industry, I have two good news stories for you.
The first is the BC Film Commission’s Reel Green BC program. They provide “tools and information for companies and individuals wishing to become more environmentally responsible in carrying out the business of motion picture and entertainment production.” They have a list of best practices that includes things like reusing film, avoiding chemically intensive drycleaning, encouraging reusable mugs, using recyclable make up containers, and setting up recycling containers on set. They’re also working with municipalities to make productions more efficient – for example, installing energy supplies in key areas of the city so gas generators don’t have to be used.
These all seem like common sense things, but they just aren’t happening on many sets yet. Still, it’s good to know that someone’s working on it.
Of course, change can also come from the bottom up, which brings me to my second story.
Grant sometimes does contact work for film productions. He raves about the great food, but he knows they use paper plates and cups, so he brings his own. A couple productions ago, a guy behind him in the food line struck up a conversation about the fact the Grant was eating from a reusable container. “That’s a good idea”, he said as he grabbed a paper plate from the stack.
Last week, Grant was working with the same crew, and sure enough the same guy ended up in line beside him. . . .
Now, this story could go two ways now couldn’t it? The guy could either still be doing the same old thing and using the paper plates which would just illustrate my point that just because people are interested doesn’t mean they change their behavior, bringing up all kinds of questions on what does make one change and how can we achieve it? Or, he could be holding a reusable container too, which would be a feelgood ending suitable for a Hollywood movie. And Grant could play the part of the eco-warrior who would one by one, convert the entire film set.
In the spirit of movie cliff hangers. . . . maybe I’ll leave it at that. Weigh in on what you think happened, and I’ll tell you the ending in a couple days.