The Movie Industry

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.



Filed under interactions, reusable containers

10 responses to “The Movie Industry

  1. I think he didn’t bring a reuseable container! Hmm.. how cynical. Well, without knowing the length and the nature of the conversation he had with Grant, I would guess that he didn’t change his behaviour. But that’s just a guess, and I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be proved wrong. Waiting for the cliffhanger…

  2. Oh I do so wish he’s brought his own reuseable container.

  3. Hm. Interesting question. My first inclination is to say he definitely didn’t bring his own container, because, really, who does that? But the fact that you have written about it here and seem to be going somewhere with this story makes me think maybe, just maybe, he did bring his own container! And maybe, just maybe, a few of his friends brought one too! That would be sweet. Go Grant!

  4. Claire

    I think he did bring the container, because sometimes that’s all people need; to see someone else doing it.

  5. Lori

    I vote yes!

  6. Yes, the film biz is incredibly wasteful. Just wanted to point out that we use aprox 95% reused and recycled materials to build all of our sets, props, and puppets for filming our Eco Beeps children’s programs.

    Having said that, we are a small studio and have the luxury of time to source reused materials between shoots. I’m sure if someone put their mind to it they could start a biz that caters to the film industry and offers recycled materials that are as easily sourced as new at a lower price point than new.

    • That is so great to hear about how your studio is reducing waste. And I definitely appreciate the fact that most studios are crunched for time. I shoudl have mentioned that I know there are businesses out there who supply props (you know, stuffed lions, home decor, popcorn makers, etc), so there is some reuse already going on.

      You might be on to something with the idea of a niche business that supplies recycled materials. Any takers?

  7. Constance

    Yes, film industry has lots of waste. BUT as long ago as the 90’s there were people (including me) that brought their own cutlery and plates. I wouldn’t be surprised if the guy in your story didn’t bring his own container, if only because film technicians work such long hours, the last thing on your mind when you get home is garbage…sad but true.

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