Climate Change, the chosen cause for this year's Blog Action Day helped me realize how much we as human beings are using up our natural resources. Too many of us in the United States and abroad have taken natural resources for granted. Everyone is responsible for the negative effects that are taking place on our environment, including those of us in the entertainment industry. For every movie that Hollywood makes each year, there are probably thousands of independent films produced around the country that can be more energy efficient. There is one area in particular that many film producers are neglecting when taking climate change into consideration.
The sections on efficiency and unplugging electronics in 10 Solutions for Climate Change are two subjects that movie producers consider make environmentally friendly decisions during post-production. According to the 10 Solutions piece, electronic devices cost us more money when they are turned off than on because they use more energy during this downtime. Unplugging electronic items, a practice that movie producers film editors should adopt can not only save us money but energy as well. Star Trek and X-Men Origins: Wolverine are not even the tip of the iceberg when calculating the number of movies released just this year that included visual effects (or special effects). The movie 2012 even has a special video on how detailed the visual effects process was to create tidal waves for this film.
With all of the visual effects needed to create blockbuster hits at your local movie theater, that is a lot of computers, TV monitors, video cameras, tape decks and other electronic devices that can easily reserve our energy by simply being unplugged. If Hollywood movies are using up this much energy, how many independent films are adding to the problem of climate change? Broken, Alex Ferrari's entertaining short film was praised for it's elaborate special effects but that's just one film. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of horror, action and Sci-Fi movies that are produced independently and come loaded with visual effects. This includes hours of work in addition to the time it takes to edit a rough cut of these movies.
The Sundance Film Festival alone claims to receive over 9,000 submissions each year. I wonder how many of those submissions have contributed to global warming by heavy use of special effects equipment. The lighting in post-production facilities may also affect climate change if standard incandescent light bulbs are being used instead of more energy efficient products such as compact fluorescent lights. Sure, the work area of special effects editors need to be illuminated for them to be able to locate the proper tools to do their job. There is still a way to reduce climate change during the movie production process by getting rid of lights that produce carbon dioxide emissions.
While unplugging special effects equipment and using energy efficient light bulbs is one way to reduce the potential for drastic changes to our earth, efficiency during production is another way to bring positive adjustments to climate change. As independent producers, we would be more efficient by shooting on location, reducing the energy use of special effects teams that we have depended on to make our movies more extravagant in post-production. This could mean the loss of many jobs in the post-production sector that specializes in effects, which is another subject in and of itself but our mere existence and survival is more important today than tomorrow. Special Effects teams could adapt their skills to be put to use on location rather than in editing rooms equipped with computers, monitors and other forms of technology that uses lots of energy on a constant basis.
While indie film producers are trying to land distribution deals and compete with major Hollywood studios, keeping the importance of climate change in mind can help to reduce major environmental disruptions in the coming years. I know some of you reading this may be thinking "Climate Change? Global Warming?...who cares?!!!" and yes, I thought the same thing too over the last two years until now. It's not as boring or insignificant as we may think because climate change affects the earth on many levels that we rely on everyday including our water supply, air supply and cooling systems.
How do you think movies are adding to Climate Change?
Leave your comments below!