Reel Green Ambassadors Review their Green Pledges
December 11, 2018
Reel Green Ambassadors review what strides they made in 2018 to keep their pledge and what hurdles they faced along the way.

The Reel Green Ambassadors have been busy at work to green BC’s motion picture industry!

Reel Green launched its Ambassador Program early in 2018 and have since on-boarded 18 Ambassadors committed to forwarding Reel Green’s mission and vision. Ambassadors are asked to submit a pledge as part of their Ambassadorship and we caught up with our current Ambassadors to see what strides they’ve made to complete their pledge.

 


Yvonne Melville | Ambassador Profile


Production Manager

What is the green action you committed to?

  • Adding new sustainable initiatives & soliciting ideas from our cast & crew on how to step up our green-game on production.

What have you done to work towards this action?

  • We have a Green Champions Contest where crew can nominate a leader in sustainable efforts.  Our first nominee rides his bike to work & brings reusable dishes & cutlery to catering.

  • We're also taking a pass on gifts for the crew this holiday and are donating the equivalent proceeds to charities chosen by each department. The crew is super enthusiastic about it!  

  • We've doubled down on our No Idling Policy this season with increased monitoring, education & signage.

  • We've increased our oversight & sustainable training by Green Spark Group which has been instrumental in changing the habits of crew and their correct use of our recycling & composting stations. Our lunch waste was reduced to one small bag the first time! Green Spark Group also worked with each department to provide best practice training for reducing our carbon footprint & shared innovative/creative ideas on how to do that. We've also added a sustainability talk to our inaugural Production & Safety Meetings and have added "Green Tips" daily to our Call Sheets & Prep Schedules.

How does this action relate to your pledge?

  • We had a very good track record with our sustainable practices from previous seasons and we're proud to introduce some new initiatives like using Portable Electric Battery Powered Stations rather than diesel generators. We broadened our scope in sustainable practices again this season by researching new initiatives, furthering our education & training, and being open to ideas by crew and suppliers to take it to the next level. Everyone's onboard and bringing new ideas all the time. We're even recycling our cigarette butts!

Did you encounter any challenges?

  • Our crew have taken up the challenge and shown a lot of enthusiasm for ensuring more sustainable practices.  This means a lot more people using reusable water and coffee travellers, bringing their own food containers for lunch and engaging in dialogue about their ideas and efforts to reduce waste, pollution and contribute to promoting sustainability. Our EV station is always in use so we need more!

Do you have a green success story from 2018?

  • Amazon Studios in the U.S. are taking our lead and using our program as a template which will have a significant impact & ripple effect on their productions worldwide. They are working with Green Spark Group to develop their sustainability program which is fantastic. We were also pleased to be one of the shows awarded the Environmental Media Association Green Seal Award based on the efforts of Cast & Crew last season.
    • 56% of the best practices on the PEACH were implemented
    • 66% waste diverted from landfill
    • 155,440 individual plastic water bottles avoided
    • 331.5 metric tons of CO2 avoided (equal to 71 passenger cars driven for one year).  
  • Gives us a marker to measure improvement going forward and shows tangible results which are important in setting goals & seeing progress.

 

Daniel Domachowski | Ambassador Profile


Founder of Circus

What is the green action you committed to?

  • Our pledge is to get as many production companies and their crew off paper-based workflows and systems across North America.

What have you done to work towards this action?

  • In 2018 we digitized deal memos, CAVCO forms and are working with a union to beta-test digitizing their forms as well.

How does this action relate to your pledge?

  • Sustainable production is something unions, payroll companies and tax credit administrators feel deeply passionate about so we are excited to build the tools to help them get there. The first partnership is just the beginning.

Did you encounter any challenges?

  • There is still some resistance from Creators who want to stick to paper-based onboarding methods, mainly because it is something that they are comfortable with. So it is our responsibility to make it so seamless, efficient, and economical that the decision to switch to paperless production is painless.

Do you have a green success story from 2018?

  • We recently were able to onboard the entire crew of a commercial on a distant location while they were all on set using only their mobile devices and not a single sheet of paper.

 

David Halliday | Ambassador Profile 


Transport Coordinator 

What is the green action you committed to?

  • To go completely paperless at work and to stop using single-use water bottles and straws.

What have you done to work towards this action? 

  • I have gone paperless at work; all schedules, scripts and call sheets are now paper-free. I also have multiple metal water bottles and glass and metal straws that I use every day.

How does this action relate to your pledge?

  • Proud to say that both actions go hand in hand with my pledges.

Do you have a green success story from 2018?

  • Whenever anyone asks me why I don't use straws I always show them the video on YouTube of someone trying to remove a straw from a sea turtles nose.  9 out of 10 times the person walks away from me with a new vigour to NOT use straws.

 

Zee Salehian | Ambassador Profile


Manager - Film Division, Western One

What is the green action you committed to?

  • Making our workplace more green and investing in green technology as part of our equipment fleet.

What have you done to work towards this action? 

  • Added to existing green options at work and arranging meetings with electric equipment companies.

How does this action relate to your pledge?

  • Matches and exceeds it.

 

Clara George | Ambassador Profile


Producer

What is the green action you committed to?

  • For us we committed to the numbers; from the number of sustainable actions to number of crew to have a greater reduction of our production’s footprint.

What have you done to work towards this action? Please share details.

  • This season, I began by meeting with all the department heads to discuss how we can reduce our impact. We implemented all suggestions and worked on all fronts to generate a change in habits and make sustainability a prominent goal for our show.

How does this action relate to your pledge?

  • I was able to multiply my personal choices, by an entire crew. For instance, I decided to reduce the amount of paper I personally used on the show by going paperless and embracing digital distribution. That’s one person. So we implemented a print on demand policy for the office and all paper distribution. Overall, we reduced the number of call sheets & scripts sent to set and encouraged digital-use by installing electronic device charging outlets in the middle of our conference table. We also shared new technology, apps and solutions with each other to encourage digital use. By the end of the season, we had reduced our photocopies by over 30% or over 300,000 sheets of paper.

    We also decided not to purchase, or allow the purchasing of single-use water bottles. We told the departments that all water purchasing had to go through the office. We bought large refill jugs and had refill stations all over set and base camp. We used water filtration or the office craft, and we sourced tetra-packs and cans for individual water for trailers and surveys. By doing all of these actions we saved over 25,000 single-use bottles.

Did you encounter any challenges?

  • The only challenge was to keep pushing the boundaries everywhere. The crew was very receptive and mostly encouraging. Sorting waste into the proper receptacles was still a challenge.

Do you have a green success story from 2018?

  • We put the mission out there early on the show and challenged the departments to step up. Everyone did and the water cooler conversations transformed into talk of new green ideas. One driver told me that he had started eating more vegetables and his wife was impressed that he was ordering kale, losing weight, and having more energy.

 


Brent Hodge | Ambassador Profile 


Director & Filmmaker, Hodgee Films

What is the green action you committed to?

  • To reduce energy consumption with energy efficient and sustainable lighting solutions.

What have you done to work towards this action?

  • We have purchased high-quality LED light panels for production.

How does this action relate to your pledge?

  • This purchase will help in reducing the amount of energy that is used by the lights and will hopefully last us so we don't need to dispose of them in the near future.

Did you encounter any challenges?

  • It's always hard on-set to be leaders in taking green action but our actions have become more purposeful and conscious to the lasting effects of our decisions.

Do you have a green success story from 2018?

  • Where we can, we like to rent equipment. This keeps our costs down but allows less equipment to be made and then discarded.

 

Tim Sebert | Ambassador Profile


SIM International

What is the green action you committed to?

  • This year I pledged to overhaul our recycling systems in-house and to make recycling a part of our yearly disposal projects.

What have you done to work towards this action? 

  • I am proud to say that we have successfully upgraded all of our recycling systems at SIM. We now have fully separate recycling dumpsters outside of our building and complete recycling and compost stations in our warehouse, lunchroom and corporate building. We also used a recycling company called Greentec to process our yearly disposal project and reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill to an all-time low.

How does this action relate to your pledge?

  • I successfully achieved what I set out to do in my pledge and look forward to pushing more green initiatives next year.

Did you encounter any challenges?

  • Budget is always a challenge as green solutions can be costly.

Do you have a green success story from 2018?

  • Bringing compost into the workplace was a challenge especially in summer months due to smell and bugs. To achieve this effectively we had several meetings with our cleaning service provider and decided to use small, covered green bins with air filters in the lunchroom. The cleaners emptied the bins daily into a large compost container that was kept outside. This reduced the smell and bugs in the lunchroom and made for a successful transition to composting building-wide. In addition to the pledge, we also added a number of green solutions to the shipping and receiving front including biodegradable bubble wrap, shrink wrap, and using compostable packing materials. We also completely abolished the use of plastic bags for waste management in the warehouse which drastically reduced the number of plastics we send to the landfill!

 

Pete Mitchell | Ambassador Profile


President & COO, Vancouver Film Studios

What is the green action you committed to?

  • Solar panels installed and powering our new stage at the studio.

What have you done to work towards this action?

  • We have designed and financed the project - waiting for development and building permits.

How does this action relate to your pledge?

  • It’s the next step along the way to a more sustainable facility.

Did you encounter any challenges?

  • The permitting process is slow which can delay project timelines.

Do you have a green success story from 2018?

  • There is a lot of scepticism around solar in the Vancouver area due to our climate and cheap energy costs. However, technology has advanced to the point where it is not only economically feasible but also economically desirable.


Aly Bérubé | Ambassador Profile


Producer

What is the green action you committed to?

  • When I became an Ambassador I pledged to run a company that teaches its crew to work together to achieve a sustainable production (from pre-production to finish) by being aware of waste and its impacts on any size of production. Luckily, I got to help implement sustainable practices with other companies I worked with throughout the year as well.

What have you done to work towards this action?

  • Since pledging -- and before -- I personally, have been minimizing my waste and using reusable items as much as possible. I have also been using my knowledge to inspire other productions to innovate and implement sustainable production practices.

    Some examples of these practices would be:

    • reducing, reusing, and recycling from start to finish. Reusing production design materials and donating to other productions when materials are no longer needed.

    • Trying to implement a strategy of reducing plastics on set and in the studio; bringing our own mugs, water bottles, Tupperware, and cutlery if possible, using cloth napkins rather than paper towel, using totes instead of plastic bags, and using as many sustain-smart products for production design.

    • Recycling after eating, any office prep, and set prep, which also includes donating food to the closest shelters.

    • Carpooling as much as possible and doing thorough planning for design, crafty, and cine pickups to lower fuel consumption. Using generators from sustainable companies like Portable Electric, when needed.

    • And lastly, reducing as much paper as possible through using Google Drive and other apps, such as Circus, to minimize waste.

How does this action relate to your pledge?

  • These actions work towards running a sustainable production chain. The next generation of filmmaking is lucky because we now have green tools at our disposal, it’s just a matter of actually implementing them.

Did you encounter any challenges?

  • For the most part, I was lucky to not run into too many challenges. If I were to say one challenge though, I would say that trying to teach clients or other producers about green initiatives can at times be a task as they aren’t used to these practices. Although, I found this to sometimes be a learning curve. After some conversation, they would usually get on board. It starts with one person and can create a chain reaction.

Do you have a green success story from 2018?

  • Not a very intense story, but the most heartening to me, would be showing up to set with my co-director on a shoot with our reusable items the first day and having just over half of the crew the next day come to set with some of their own. It was very heartwarming to see that people were interested in making change as a team.

 

Laura Mary Clarke | Ambassador Profile


RN, First Aid /Craft Services, HomeMade Care

What is the green action you committed to?

  • To mentor production teams/ crew/cast/BG on ways to reduce the use of paper goods.

What have you done to work towards this action?

  • I did not purchase water bottles and offered a variety of water stations including a portable water dispensary with both hot/cold choices (available for free or minimal cost through water carrier of choice) I provided a 5 gallon water cooler on set, as well as 2 to 3 varieties of “spa” waters on crafty table. I switched from plastic cutlery to washable/reusable tea/coffee spoons and bread knives. For meals, I provided the compostable birch wood utensils. I frequently thanked crew /other for bringing their reusable drinkware as well wrote reminders about loving Mother Earth on my crafty blackboard.

  • I mentored new and seasoned BG on the appreciation for using their own reusable mug; not only does your drink stay hot vs. cold out of a mushy cup, but it also helps our Mother Earth.

How does this action relate to your pledge?

  • I am a Reel Green Ambassador wanting to be part of the change as well as mentoring others on the importance of reducing our paper product & plastic use on productions.

Did you encounter any challenges?

  • Yes, the majority of production crew/cast/ above the line teams continue to request bottled water due to the convenience and in some cases had Transport purchase some.

  • Many comments on the birch wood utensils: specifically spoons is that “they feel funny”. My answer is always but they are better for our environment.

Do you have a green success story from 2018?

  • It appears to be a change for good/a shift from crew feeling they “do not have the time” to do or worry about to taking on sustainable practices one by one.

  • All productions should have to have Mini Bins recycling options. Many do not. All garbage is going into same area.

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