Greening the Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby was Warner Bros. Pictures first attempt at greening a film shooting in Australia. Enter GreenShoot Pacific, a sustainability consultancy company with international experience across production management industries including events, screen, sport, touring and facilities. GreenShoot Pacific met with Warner Bros. Pictures Sustainable Production Manager Jon Romano before production, “When you don’t know the landscape or infrastructure of a place, relying on a local company like GreenShoot was very helpful. The further you go from home base, the less control you have over such things as production set up, a knowledge of production facilities with appropriate sustainable policies or local sustainable suppliers. You have to rely on local knowledge, and that invariably means making a commitment to engage local experts.”
(L-R) TOBEY MAGUIRE as Nick Carraway, LEONARDO DICAPRIO as Jay Gatsby, CAREY MULLIGAN as Daisy Buchanan and JOEL EDGERTON as Tom Buchanan in Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama “THE GREAT GATSBY,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Given the opportunity, GreenShoot Pacific looks at all stages of production (and all departments) from development, pre-production, production, post-production and launch, however on The Great Gatsby they were contracted to manage the shoot only but Jane Fullerton-Smith, GreenShoot Pacific Director felt they could still make a huge impact, “providing research, logistical and strategic guidance, sustainable sourcing, tailored sustainability management, measurement and reporting systems ensuring success.”
From the outset GreenShoot Pacific focused on waste separation and ensured that recycling, salvage and composting was in place across the lot, by department. Green education in the form of signage (with clear directives on how to dispose of waste) and other initiatives were initiated. These included green ideas on office spaces, food waste and alternatives to disposable water bottles.
Although most crew were personally engaged in environmental initiatives at home, these actions had not been transferred across to the workplace in any formalized way. GreenShoot Pacific’s departmental briefings and education, one-on-one communication (provision of ideas and solutions, enhanced often by the personal commitment of crew), ensured many departments made significant changes to the way they thought about purchase decisions, waste management and environmental sustainability in general.
GreenShoot Pacific focused on education through daily call sheets and worked directly with individual departments where possible. Unit, craft services, costume, catering and extras departments were highly motivated as were key areas of the art department and construction. Every day individuals would ask questions of the GreenShoot Pacific runners which often sparked internal discussion and action within their departments. A few eco practices from the production included:
-Light bulbs were collected throughout production.
-Bespoke waste solutions were created for polystyrene and film plastic recycling which would otherwise be end up in landfill if not segregated on the lot.
-Waste segregation was well adhered to by all departments once systems were set in place.
-GreenShoot Pacific organized the installation of a waste cooking-oil barrel. The barrel was collected and used in the creation of cosmetic products.
LEONARDO DICAPRIO as Jay Gatsby and CAREY MULLIGAN as Daisy Buchanan in Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama “THE GREAT GATSBY,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
The Greens Department, although not having a lot of waste, actively engaged in aerosol collection, separating of all plastic wrap from landfill waste and collecting of cardboard.
Costume department was actively engaged, inspired by the daily comms in the call sheets, they often asked for additional advice and came up with production-wide ideas and solutions.
Acoording to Fullerton-Smith, every department presents a unique set of challenges. “Our ideal approach is to work with each department to better their sustainability outcomes. For example, we worked with Construction to look at best options for waste timber, salvage and waste separation and to find the best contractors to make this as inexpensive as efficient as possible. We helped unit and craft services find sustainable and fair trade suppliers, salvage collectors and recyclable or recycled or bio-compostable (if composting is available) service-ware.”
There are an endless number of energy solutions out there – from bio fuels to hybrid or low emission vehicles, organic options and sustainable purchasing across most product lines and multiple ways to save power in offices and in studios. It’s just a matter of transferring the knowledge, sparking the idea, identifying the most appropriate solution and explaining why and how the supplier or system can help to the department in need.
After several green case studies, we’ve learned that it’s a misconception that ‘greening’ always means extra cost. True, it takes time to implement change or research solutions however once embedded into the system, these ‘time costs’ can be cost neutral or positive.
GreenShoot Pacific provided a comprehensive end-of-production report that included both qualitative and quantitative feedback. Areas covered included education and transfer of knowledge/skills (to cast, crew and suppliers) and a detailed breakdown of sustainability performance across all departments, including observations and recommendations and carbon emission calculations.
Results may be measured in economic, social or environmental terms so it really is up to the production and the crew (and perhaps the audience) to evaluate their outcome.
Jess Conoplia, LA-based GreenShoot Pacific Business Development Manager, sums up their experience,“In our minds, any engagement in the sustainability journey is a great step forwards. It’s not just about the destination – as seen on The Great Gatsby, the journey itself provides continuous educational opportunities that result in skills-transfer across production. These things are also very valuable.”
If you and your production are interested in working with GreenShoot Pacific, contact them via the GreenShoot Pacific vendor page on GreenProductionGuide.com.