Getting Started

Before taking action, screen production companies need to become aware of their environmental impacts. e.g. the ways in which the company may cause damage or harm to the environment. Many of the impacts will already be known or be obvious to you and quick gains can be made by starting with the common-sense tips for your screen production activity in the Tools (Office, Behind the Screen, Location, On Screen, Off Screen).

Screen production and the environment

A major part of the screen production industry relies on the beauty and imagery of dramatic unspoilt natural landscapes. If these landscapes are not protected and cared for, the screen production industry will lose the stunning backdrops for its productions. It is vital that these images relate to reality.

Many of the negative environmental impacts associated with the screen production industry relate to location filming and how production companies treat sites. In many countries, including New Zealand, environmental regulators and/or local authorities have implemented regulations for productions using sites protected for their environmental, historical or cultural importance.

However, negative environmental impacts are not restricted to filming on location. Studio operations also have their own environmental impacts, eg greenhouse gas emissions, even though there may be fewer environmental compliance issues than when filming on location. Often it will be up to the production company to introduce voluntary measures for improving the management of the environmental impacts for studio productions.

The screen production industry has a particular dependency on technical equipment, media and information technology. These have associated environmental impacts but also have the potential to provide and promote solutions to environmental problems.

The availability of film and television to audiences has grown tremendously over the past 50 years. Although entertainment is the main purpose for most films and programmes, screen production has the potential to profoundly influence the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of audiences in their day-to-day lives. Convincing and effective portrayal of environmental and social issues through film and television plays an important role in raising public awareness especially in educational programmes and campaigns of governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Just as the screen industry and broadcast media have been used to promote social change, with respect to the dangers of smoking and drink-driving, better public awareness of environmental issues will lead to positive changes in people’s behaviour. It may mean that someone who has never recycled may begin to do so, or somebody else may decide to take the bus instead of the car or purchase 'environmentally friendly' products.
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