March 30, 2022

SCA Productions Go GREEN!

Sustainable filmmaking is underway at SCA. A handful of graduate students in the Film and Television Production Program have volunteered to test out the new SCA Green Seal Checklist which will be a requirement for all SCA productions beginning next fall. Projects will earn the Green Seal for things like using rechargeable power stations instead of fossil fuel generators when possible, replacing single-use expendables with reusable ones, enabling energy saving modes on computers during post-production, reducing plastic waste and hiring vendors who also employ sustainable practices.

The Green Seal is based on a point system. Every task on the checklist has a specific point value associated with it and films must earn a certain number of points to earn the seal, which is included in the end credits. The entire process is overseen by the producers of the project.

We spoke with two students who have already earned a green seal this semester to get a student perspective on this new initiative.

Bang Xiao (Class of ’24) and Mischa Gankin (Class of ’24), two MFA, Film and Television Production students, are currently producers on their respective projects in CTPR 508, SCA’s capstone production course. Having already directed their own projects that have earned the SCA green seal earlier in the semester, they are now in charge of overseeing this process for their fellow classmate’s projects. Both are currently in the pre-production phase of their projects and are already earning points by managing the amount of papers they are utilizing when handling contracts, permits and correspondence with their crews.

According to both Xiao and Gankin, the process has been “quite easy” to adopt and they have not experienced any major challenges with implementing the recommended practices. “You notice the little things and it’s really more about making more conscious decisions throughout the production process that you normally wouldn’t think twice about” says Gankin. When asked to think about the major differences they’ve noticed when following these new guidelines, both students harped on the fact that they did not realize just how much plastic is used in every project. Xiao mentions, “We were all asked to bring our own reusable water bottles, which really makes a huge difference in the amount of waste we had at the end of each day on set.”

The process of vetting eco-friendly vendors for catering purposes has proven to be the most challenging task on the checklist for most students. However, the challenge is not with the vendors themselves, but that students have to be more conscious with their planning and budgets. Xiao shares, “Previously, we would only be concerned about price and convenience, but now you have to pay attention to how ‘green’ a company is, which I don’t mind.”

It seems that sustainable filmmaking is simply a shift in perspective, with students being more conscious of every day decisions made throughout the lifespan of a project – from pre-production to the day a film wraps. The SCA Green Seal Checklist is essentially a roadmap in assisting students with making that shift. It’s also important to note that following these guidelines has not produced any negative impact on a student's creative vision or expression according to Xiao and Gankin and only helps to improve the intentionality behind each film. As Gankin put it, “You don’t always get opportunities to make things better and this is one of those times.”

We look forward to seeing how students and faculty across SCA will continue to improve on this checklist and contribute to a more environmentally conscious filmmaking process.