Many industries have been experiencing downtime during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the phrase coined by Teri Hatcher goes, “Patience is the only way you can endure the grey periods.”
Indeed, when we’re talking about a pandemic, there’s nothing much we can do to make it stop. One of the things we can do to help is to be patient. Well, as a pandemic is way beyond human control, we can still help with simple acts such as staying home to prevent any more coronavirus from spreading around.
Millions of Indonesians have lost their jobs; it can also have an impact on the country’s economy. One of the industries that has faced the biggest transition is the film industry. If we take a look back in history, pandemics have happened several times before, so it’s not something new. A lot of events, such as the influenza pandemic in 1918, have nearly killed off the industry.
However, it always found its way out. During this current pandemic, actors and all the crew team members, producers, and directors are forced to stay home, a 180-degree change from what they had been doing normally just a few short weeks ago. Only recently they had been shut away in a small room of a set or studio, with all the crew being close to one another.
The most frequent question that pops into our head about the industry is probably, “what will happen in the future, are films not going to be screened in cinemas anymore?” Since the existence of online streaming for movies, it’s already normal for us to watch all our favourite drama series or films in the comfort of our own home.
A pandemic may last a long time, but surely it will not last forever? There is a great chance of the industry coming back stronger than ever. Now is virus-filled calm before the storm, you might say. The industry may not be doing any filming, but they do now have so much more time to prepare for something greater once this whole thing is over.
Meanwhile, aside from thinking far into the future, in present terms, what are they doing now? The existence of social media might help to find the answer. Disney, for example, has created “The Disney Family Sing-Along” in which actresses have been asked to film themselves singing and dancing from their homes. Well, I’m sure it takes preparation from a virtual production team, too.
I had the chance to e-interview my dear friend who happens to be working as an actress for Indonesian TV shows and web series, namely Ersya Aurelia. She started acting when she was eight and has done films, TV commercials, TV series – or what Indonesians call sinetron – and web series.
“There are positive and negative effects of the coronavirus happening right now. But for me, I try to make the best out of it. Even when I’m at home I still try to look for the things I can do. For example, making YouTube videos and content for my social media. I can also practice a lot of my hobbies, even when I’m forced to do them at home, like playing my guitar, editing videos, and singing,” said Ersya, an Indonesian-German actress.
Ah yes, YouTube and Instagram, the social media we use every day. We may forget about how those two platforms can make a change to our new normal life. Many Indonesian actresses are also very active on these platforms, making content so that their audience can know them better or simply to keeping engagement high.
Businesses are also starting to move online to adapt to the change, and are trying to make the best of their product by promoting it online or through these actresses on Instagram, known as an “endorsement.” It’s a win-win situation.
“I don’t think it’s too bad, because I’ve seen the data nowadays on social media. It has risen, probably because everyone’s at home and checking social media all the time. That’s the main reason that motivates me to make content and be productive,” explained Ersya, who happens to have 4.2 million followers on Instagram as it stands.
Then, how does the Indonesian film industry cope with this rapid change? It’s said that they will get fined if there is any filming. It makes sense since it will require a lot of people on set. “If there’s any shooting still done in Jakarta, police will come to pay a visit. I think it’s fine because after all, it’s for everybody’s safety. It’s also very reasonable with the pandemic going on. I fully support the government taking these strict actions,” she said.
The world is always changing; it’s best to make the best of our time. Adapting to the new normal is better than waiting for the normal we used to have back then. Just like films or movies that can now be streamed online, who knows what other things will change after this pandemic.