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The Work of Returning an Industry to Work

By Debra Kaufman

HPA launched the Industry Recovery Task Force (IRTF) this May, with HPA president Seth Hallen noting that the focus was to “understand how to get our industry back to work … not only [to] safely create global content, but to also understand the long-term impact to workflows, technology as well as to the people and our business community.” Shortly thereafter, industry veteran and former HPA president Leon Silverman was tapped to lead the task force.

“Early in the pandemic, our industry did an amazing job of turning to remote working,” says Silverman. Now, he adds, the HPA Industry Recovery Task Force is focused on its mission to act as a forum for collaboration and communication on how to resume sustainable global production and post; understand and participate in the evolving technical requirements of remote collaboration and other workflows; and disseminate up-to-date health and safety guidelines emerging from guilds, unions and other industry and government organizations as well as provide support and guidance to all those impacted by the crisis. “It’s the natural role of the HPA to bring together these voices in the industry,” Silverman notes. “At the same time, content creation is exploding globally and HPA has always been the forum for the conversations around workflows and the evolution of content creation,” he adds.

The HPA IRTF has been meeting weekly with members of the HPA Board and is in collaborative discussions with several industry organizations, including the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), American Cinema Editors (ACE), Visual Effects Society (VES), MovieLabs, and others. “Our goal is to understand what other organizations have learned and ensure that efforts are not being duplicated around health and safety guidelines and best practices,” says Silverman. 

The HPA IRTF will conduct its first global Town Hall on July 29. Moderated by The Hollywood Reporter Tech Editor Carolyn Giardina, the 90-minute Town Hall will feature Westwind Media president Doug Kent; American Cinema Editors president Steve Rivkin, ACE; UCLA Health co-chief infection prevention officer Dr. Daniel Z. Uslan; Katie Fellion, Head of Business Development and Workflow Strategy, Light Iron; Michael Cioni, Global SVP of Innovation, Frame.io; and former Los Angeles County District 3 supervisor Zev Yaroslavky. “The goals for these public events are to discuss the business and workflow impacts of the pandemic and to also better understand and communicate guidelines,” explains Silverman, who adds that Dr. Uslan, an epidemiologist, worked with the MPAA to establish its best practices. The format of the event is a moderated, virtual conversation with opportunity for audience comments and questions. Future Town Hall events will be announced in the coming weeks.

“HPA has an important role in making sure our community is informed about trends and the impact on the post and services sector,” he says. One such trend, which may be accelerated by the pandemic, has been the notion of cloud-based production post production. Silverman noted how prescient the HPA Tech Retreat was to sponsor an end-to-end, real time cloud-based production “The Lost Lederhosen.”

Silverman points out that HPA has kept its members informed in other ways, such as the HPA podcast “Through the Frame,” hosted by workflow specialist Jesse Korosi and the video series “Critical Conversations” hosted by HPA Board member Mark Chiolis.

“HPA’s resources, webinars and Town Halls are meant for the same global audiences that we speak to at our Tech Retreat and for the community that makes and uses tools and utilizes or provides services for production and post,” says Silverman, who adds that the aim is to “work together as a community so that we emerge from the current crisis even stronger.” “While the industry is gearing back up to resume production and post, we are looking to tap into the considerable collective brainpower of this industry,” says Silverman. “The goal for our events, programs and task force is to provide information and a sense of community, especially for those in our industry whose roles have diminished as production and post have slowed and halted.”

“The HPA is well suited to help create a common ground and forum for this conversation and while we may not be in the same room, we can still help bring our industry together,” Silverman concludes. “I sincerely believe we can emerge from this current crisis stronger and focused on enhancing creativity and content creation itself.”

Information and registration for the July 29th event, which is set for 11 am to 12:30 pm PDT, can be found at hpaonline.com.

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