Future of Society & Filmmaking After Pandemic

By Gourav Ghosh, Film-maker & Teacher

I am attempting a general understanding of the world, what it was and what it will be. What will be the impact of this crisis?

Famous historian Yuval Harari wrote an article ;World after coronavirus. He says,  Crisis accelerates the future. I will try to explain the meaning of this phrase, with understandable examples in general society and filmmaking industry.

The 9/11 attack was a crisis for American armed forces. So they accelerated the making and use of new weapons to respond. There was a kind of missile during the Iraq war, where the missile was launched in the USA and it traveled all the way to Iraq, more than half of the world and hit the target exactly, which was set in USA command quarters. So, this weapon might have taken some time to arrive, but the crisis accelerated the military future.

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Before that in India, in 1990, we were bankrupt. The whole country had only two weeks of the reserve.   It was a big economic crisis. Indian govt and its leaders responded by opening up the economy. We call it Liberalisation now, meaning entries of private companies in all sectors. The crisis accelerated the economic future.

Now, in this pandemic crisis, whatever future was about to come in a decade, will come much early maybe this year itself. How is this pandemic going to accelerate the future? The First affected area will be our lifestyle. There are already pockets of futuristic establishments in the world. Like in India, suburbs of Cities like Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, which exist because of IT companies. The employees of IT companies live in a secluded society which has a gym, pools, community halls, shops & even doctors. They need not step outside those societies. It is like a small urban village. These people get out of the societies only for work, where they board a bus, a gated bus, which won’t stop at any location but the company. Only the people who work there can enter the company building. So, again after the house, bus, the work area is also secluded and gated.  These people already live in a futuristic environment. This is going to be now the lifestyle of the majority of the population also. This crisis will accelerate the future, and bring this lifestyle faster to all of us.

WHO (World Health Organisation) said that lockdowns can stop the spread of the virus, but only testing can eliminate it. Although, WHO changes its statements more than celebrities change their clothes. But testing is needed. Now, how can you test or track the whole population? This crisis will accelerate the future and bring new kinds of surveillance technologies. The lifestyle concerning the use of biometric data in daily life would have come a decade later. This can arrive in one or two years now. Submitting biometric data to authorities may become as common as giving away your phone number and email id. Because anyone can be infected. Whatever the anti-surveillance activists say, this will be acceptable to people.

I belong to the film industry. In filmmaking, also this crisis will accelerate the future. Try to understand, there are many technology and gadgets available already, the future doesn’t mean just the arrival of new tech or new types of equipment. The future means usage of the tech or equipment. How are we going to put them in use? For eg- Artificial Intelligence in filmmaking has already arrived. Now, the use of AI in filmmaking will be larger and different, more than ever. AI already edit videos, write scripts and create music. Now, the far-off future where one person will be able to make a full film will be accelerated and come soon with the use of Artificial intelligence.

Right now, if you want to enter the film industry, you need to get training and join a production or post-production house. You will be given very low-risk jobs, like for editors copying footage, for cinematographers making log sheets, etc. The next step is where you’ll be given a task which will be entrusted completely upon you, like working with the lens, or making a rough cut. After this, you become the chief assistant and then you become head of the department. Cinematography, editing, direction, sound, all departments work like this.

More and more productions now will be using technicians who can build a narrative, who have an understanding of aesthetics as well. The AI bot will do copying, logging, and rough cut. You need to be the final editor.  This scenario will come sooner than expected.

One more futuristic application which will be accelerated is Virtual Reality. If we from now on, stay in our houses more, than the outside 3D world, we will be not satisfied with our flat screens to know, learn, feel about the outside world. People will install virtual reality spaces in their homes.

Filmmakers need to build a world here, as they do now. Whatever is the future, the filmmakers need to remain storytellers.

We will now live in a changing society. Shaking hands, hugging is already gone. Huge gatherings in stadiums, music concerts have an uncertain future. No one knows when everything is going to be normal. One thing is sure, we are going to make decisions that we might not have taken during normal times. The crisis is going to accelerate the future.

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