TMG make it safe, so the show can go on

Written by: Ashley Matthews

How do you keep the cameras running and the creative output going, to create meaningful experiences for your audience in a Covid restricted world?

Our Creative Director, Ashley, explains how TMG continue to make live broadcasts, event ceremonies and national creative campaigns happen safely, despite the challenges of our new reality.

Here’s how to keep your team and clients safe.

Open the communication

With rules and guidelines changing often, sometimes clear, sometimes less so, our TMG makers have had to adapt, re-plan and work harder than ever before over the last 6 months, to deliver the same high standard of work that we always have.

The biggest challenges we’ve faced: how can we make filming safe? And how can we make events happen whilst we can’t physically meet?

Communication has been key to finding the best solutions.

We started by talking. To each other, to our clients, and to the wider creative community. We didn’t shy away from sharing our ideas and testing plans, and were equally open to new, alternative ideas from others.

We asked questions, we gave answers, we learnt fast.

Define your guidelines

It’s fair to say, all the hours spent video conferencing during lockdown paid off. Not only are we more prepared than ever before to tackle a pub quiz, but we’ve found ways to utilise our experience on conferencing platforms to host impactful live events again.

We did the online courses and poured through the guidelines to create new processes from everything we’d learnt so far.

The result? A team who are comfortable continuing to create, and clients who trust us to make it happen, safely.

So what does a Covid-safe set look like? We’ve continued to film and create safely through a number of techniques, including:

Finding the balance between virtual and real. Sometimes you really do need 2 people in one room to make an interview work. We mixed it up in various scenarios to ensure the best quality outcome for the viewer, while maintaining ultimate safely for those involved. If this meant organising a live press conference with all the journalists in the audience on zoom monitors, or hosting an entire award show through social media, we were up to the challenge.

Making someone Covid-accountable. For every on-location shoot, we have someone whose sole purpose was to supervise and enforce all the Covid safety measures that we’ve identified during the risk assessment. Although everyone on the team is fully trained on how to work safely, having someone accountable to maintain the measures is essential.

Staggering departments. In a pre-Covid world, different departments could mingle on set, but in this new reality, staggering staff on-site is key to maintaining social distancing.

Once we found our solutions, it was just about putting these into practice and keeping it simple for everyone involved. We even created ‘filming in a box kits’ and sent them all around the country, so people could film remotely with our support and tested guidelines.

Don’t lose sight of what makes good creative

Restrictions or not, the human stories, people’s experiences, have to remain central to your creative video in order to be memorable and really make a difference. Yes this is a challenge when you can’t bring as many people together in a room, but this is where you get creative and use the tools you have. One of our biggest successes around this has been using the power of social media for the Grassroots Football Awards, where we reached 4.7 million fans to showcase the people who make football happen.

In short: be flexible, be open, think fast

What it all came down to was the flexibility and openness to reach out to others and share ideas in our industry, to work quickly and think creatively, often outside the box.

When guidelines changed, so did we. We got back on the road filming for campaigns like the Grassroots awards. All safe, all secure but still keeping that all-important emotional storytelling that really makes a campaign impactful. Creating bespoke COVID filming guidance that worked alongside the guidance provided to grassroots football.

And we’re still making it happen now, as guidelines change so do our processes, so do the answers we give our clients. We’re always trying to think a step ahead, testing, planning, making better solutions so we can carry on making great events, great films and great creative that change lives.

And it all comes back round to communication.

We’re asking questions, of ourselves, of our clients and of the community we work with. We’re telling clients how we can make it safe, make it work, make it better. We’re not afraid to ask for advice from those we think are making great work.

Above all, we’ve made it safe.

Talk to us about making your next event or creative campaign, safely.


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