Bridging the Gap: Making the Leap from Period Spectacle to a Sustainable Production Future

Bridging the Gap: Making the Leap from Period Spectacle to a Sustainable Production Future

July 16, 2022 A DGA Sustainable Future Committee virtual event

On July 16, the new DGA Sustainable Future Committee hosted its first event, Bridging the Gap: Making the Leap from Period Spectacle to a Sustainable Production Future. Featuring key production forces behind Netflix’s breakout hit Bridgerton and its upcoming sister-series, Untitled Shonda Rhimes Queen Charlotte Project, the event covered the nuts-and-bolts of how these lavish period spectacles are breaking new ground in sustainable production.

During his welcome to the attendees, Director Todd Holland — who Co-Chairs the DGA Sustainable Future Committee alongside Director Lydia Dean Pilcher and UPM Mari Jo Winkler — explained that the mission of the Committee is to, “empower DGA teams with a baked in culture of climate mindfulness to reduce the carbon impact of our work and reduce the plastic landfill waste we generate everywhere we go.”

Holland then turned the event over to Pilcher who served as moderator of the event and introduced the panelists: Director/EP Tom Verica (Untitled Shonda Rhimes Queen Charlotte Project and Bridgerton); Producer Anna O’Malley, and Sustainability Coordinator Zoe Jones (Queen Charlotte Project); and Netflix’s UK Regional Sustainability Advisor Louise Marie Smith and Senior Manager, Sustainability & Productions, Shannon Bart.

During the conversation, the panelists revealed how their productions are achieving sustainability in the United Kingdom and spoke about resources available here in the USA.

Verica spoke about how small actions can contribute to a large impact. “It’s become glaring, the kind of the impact that we can all make and that we do. But it comes down to small things, to my personal investment as a Director, as a person. Just kind of trying to limit my footprint and how that happens on the day to day on a set in smaller, smaller levels.”

O’Malley divulged that coordinating with leaders on set helped to get buy-in from the crew. “Moving over to just be paperless was a challenge. But now that we’re in it and nobody asks any questions, it’s great. So just little things like that really help. But getting buy-in from everyone is something you have to address in the beginning.”

Smith explained how the experience she’s gained on past projects guide her way on other productions. “It’s been fantastic over the last six months to now get to the end of a few shows and pull all this information together. And now when I’m preparing new shows, I can say, ‘This is real. This happened. This was on a series that’s similar to yours.’”

Jones shared what a typical day on her job as a Sustainability Coordinator entails. “It’s always a different thing. It’s always trialing new things and speaking to people about new things we can potentially put in place to take care of our planet, reduce our emissions.”

Bart reaffirmed Netflix’s commitment to a net zero carbon future. “Netflix is a growing company so we, even though we’re making more content every year we are going to look at an absolute reduction in our fuel use.”

After a lively and informative discussion, Pilcher thanked the panelists and wrapped the event by reiterating the Committee’s goals. “Our committee is committed to promoting leadership on sets. The Directors, the UPMs, the ADs – we are the linkages to creating space to explore options, to accelerate this transition.”

See video from this event in the gallery below.

Tom VericaDirector/EP Tom Verica
In addition to his work on the Untitled Shonda Rhimes Queen Charlotte Project and Bridgerton, Verica has directed episodes of The Umbrella Academy, Station 19, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, The Mentalist, Harry’s Law, Boston Legal, Ugly Betty, American Dreams, Body of Proof, No Ordinary Family, The Cleaner, Army Wives and Dirty Sexy Money. Verica joined the DGA in 2004 and currently serves on the Television Creative Rights Committee and is a member of the DGA Diversity Task Force.
Anna OMalleyProducer Anna O’Malley
In addition to her work on the Untitled Shonda Rhimes Queen Charlotte Project, O’Malley’s producer, production executive and production management credits include episodes of Vikings: The Rise and Fall, Vikings: Valhalla, Clarice, Condor, The Handmaid’s Tale, Get Shorty, My Mother and Other Strangers and Downton Abbey.
Louise-Marie-SmithNetflix UK Regional Sustainability Advisor Louise Marie Smith
In addition to her work for Netflix, Smith’s sustainability manager and environmental coordinator credits include feature films such as Rob Marshall’s The Little Mermaid, Claire Scanlon’s The People We Hate at the Wedding, Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World Dominion, Chloé Zhao’s Eternals, Cary Joji Fukunaga’s No Time to Die; and episodes of The Nevers.
Shannon-BartNetflix Sustainability & Productions Senior Manager Shannon Bart
Bart is a sustainability professional covering corporate, studio, and TV and film production. She has over ten years of experience developing and implementing sustainability programs and strategies to measure and reduce emissions and waste and prior to Netflix, worked in a similar capacity at NBCUniversal Media, LLC and her own company, EcoSet.
Zoe-JonesSustainability Coordinator Zoe Jones
Jones serves as the Sustainability Coordinator for the Untitled Shonda Rhimes Queen Charlotte Project. Prior to her time at Netflix, she was a Sustainability PA at Warner Bros. Studios.
Lydia-PilcherDirector Lydia Dean Pilcher (moderator)
Pilcher’s directorial credits include the feature films A Call to Spy and Radium Girls; and the documentary feature Reno Finds Her Mom. She has been a DGA member since 1991 and serves as a co-chair of the Sustainable Future Committee.

About the Committee:

Created in January 2022, the Sustainable Future Committee is comprised of members across the Guild categories and is chaired by Directors Todd Holland and Lydia Dean Pilcher and UPM Mari Jo Winkler. The Committee is focused on reducing carbon emissions and waste in film and television production to mitigate the adverse impacts on the environment and the areas where our members work and live. The Sustainable Future Committee has developed recommendations on how we can do our part to help move the industry in a more ecologically conscious.

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