How to keep the production industry going, part one

Kim Knowlton, IPA Production Consultant is on hand to support and advise all our members at this very challenging time.

Last week, the production industry took a massive blow with nearly all live-action productions being cancelled or postponed, an unprecedented move. At the IPA Kim Knowlton, IPA Production Consultant is on hand, and continues to be so, to support and advise all our members at this very challenging time.

In order to provide the latest industry guidance to keep our members informed, I am in regular contact with all the Heads of TV & Business Affairs, as well as industry bodies such as Equity & the APA (Advertising Productions Association).

Over the last month, the IPA Legal team and I have worked behind the scenes providing advice to our members, who are all concerned with the advance of the pandemic and the impact that will have on producing advertising material.

Postponement and cancellation of a production

On 28 February, IPA Legal authored and circulated a notice regarding postponement or cancellation of a production, and our members have reported that this critical information has informed their actions, and in turn their clients, at this crucial time. We acknowledge that information changes daily and I remain available to support our members daily.

We all know that Production is one part of the advertising industry you can rely upon to keep calm and find solutions, that is their expertise. IPA advises that you involve your Production department immediately, draw on their knowledge and they will rise to the challenge.

Production teams revel in problem-solving, triaging and rapid organisational and situational change management.

Proposed protection for the Self-Employed and freelancers

As many of our industry’s production staff are freelance, I am heartened to see that the Government has announced details of the Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS). This will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Details of this scheme and how to claim a grant can be found here.

It’s essential that, where possible, we keep the production industry going. We need the help of our production suppliers so they are still there for us with their expertise, and creative solutions, down the pipe-line.

Here are my top examples of what our members' production departments and suppliers are doing to keep the production industry going:

  • Utilising tech systems & streaming software which enables working remotely with live comments.
  • Studios and actors agents offering remotely recorded voice-overs & casting auditions.
  • Many freelance directors/actors/crew have home studio set-ups which can be utilised.
  • “Self-shooters” filming themselves from home.
  • Utilising crowd sourced material.
  • Adapting scripts so they are more contained.
  • Shooting more table-tops solutions.
  • Animation - CGl & 2D, VFX - where working remotely is already integral in their production process.
  • Editors can re-purpose existing material.


It’s important to keep talking to directors, production companies & production suppliers, they too will look for creative solutions. For instance, it could be that a live-action director already attached to a project could collaborate with an animation studio or post-house to get just as strong a result.

Working as closely together as possible

Now is the time for agencies and production suppliers to work as closely as possible in order to prepare for when businesses pick up again. Creative development, pitching, bidding jobs can still go on, effectively getting everything prepared for such a time as when everyone feels comfortable to be in production. That will mean that everyone can hit the ground running when the opportunities arise. 

I am already working with production suppliers and agency production departments to help manage the current situation and to help plan for further productions.

Please contact me (kim@ipa.co.uk) to see how I can help you.
Last updated 05 May 2020