The Show Must Go On
How COVID-19 has changed the entertainment industry
When the pandemic struck in 2020, many industries were hit hard and were forced to either shut up shop or scale back operations. The entertainment industry, on the other hand, had no other choice but to keep going and learn to adapt as quickly as they could.
As we live in a digital world with many devices at our fingertips, there is a constant need for new media and entertainment, and as people begin spending more time at home the entertainment sector is needed now more than ever.
The industry had no choice but to keep going when much of the world shut down. Casting directors and agents learned to adapt to new ways of meeting and auditioning talent. Zoom, Skype, and other video call services were on the rise within other industries, so it was only natural that they crossed over into entertainment as well. We have seen almost every single big brand and client adapt to video auditions and virtual castings over the past 2 years. Both of which we hope is here to stay. Video auditions give the talent much more flexibility and time to prepare. Virtual castings mean no more running around from one side of the city to the other, all for a 15-minute meet and greet. Having castings and auditions at home also provides children with a comfortable and familiar environment, which will surely help settle some nerves.
Working with children there are always a number of risks involved, but none more important than ensuring their health and safety on set. Agents and clients have always worked together to provide the best environment for children to work in. As we open up our economy once again, clients are taking every precaution they can when booking talent. State and federal governments are bringing in a raft of protocols for hospitality and retail, so it only makes sense that entertainment will be similar. We have seen clients request full vaccination details of parents and talent, or they must return a negative covid test within days of the job. Which in reality, is a small price to pay for the health and wellbeing of everyone on set.
We are also seeing frequent requests for real families in the industry, with many agents now opening family divisions because of the demand. Real families can help clients navigate some tricky situations, as booking talent that all reside in the same household can minimise many of the health risks involved with COVID. Besides that, real families have a genuine connection and chemistry, which shines through on camera and can rarely be replicated by individual talent.
While it can be disappointing for both parents and children to not be able to meet clients in person and show off their personalities and skills, these changes are an important part of the evolution of the entertainment industry. Changes that make it more efficient and inclusive, giving children and their families opportunities to film their own auditions or attend castings online.
As Australia works towards a new covid normal, the entertainment industry will continue to adapt to these new changes. The days of face to face castings and auditions may be a thing of the past with video auditions and virtual castings becoming the new norm. While there may be some teething issues as we all become accustomed to these new ways of living, many of these are welcome changes and can help the industry further evolve in the digital world.