Mental health and wellbeing provision should be a consideration at greenlight meetings and in discussions or contracts with any potential post-production partners when developing your project.
Whether your post-production teams are in-house or you’re working with freelancers and/or external post-production facilities, ensure you schedule a handover meeting to review the support you have in place for post-production crew before work begins.
It’s essential to consider the specific challenges faced by post-production teams, particularly those around exposure to sensitive content and working to tight schedules or in isolation.
At your handover meeting, explore whether additions or adjustments to existing support are required to meet the needs of your post-production team, and plan how you’ll share wellbeing resources with post-production crew.
Schedule a wellbeing handover meeting
Schedule a wellbeing handover meeting with all senior team leaders, managers and key decision-makers as early as possible.
A handover meeting can be run in a similar way to the senior team wellbeing meeting for pre-production, though you should adapt your agenda items to cover specific post-production challenges.
If you’re working with a post house or external post-production facility, ensure you understand and agree how wellbeing and mental health support will be managed during the post-production phase, offering to share information or extend resources where appropriate.
If it’s tricky to get everyone together, include this wellbeing handover as an agenda item in an existing meeting.
Allow 30 minutes for this discussion and put it near the start of the meeting to emphasise its importance.
Agenda ideas – what to discuss at your handover meeting
The below agenda is just a guide, but discussion topics could include:
Reviewing existing support:
- Begin your meeting by summarising your current approach to mental health and wellbeing on the production.
- Outline your expectations as you move into post, giving everyone the opportunity to share their thoughts.
- Review successes and key learning from the production stage and make adjustments that may benefit your post-production teams.
- Key learnings could include outcomes from weekly check-ins with team leaders, sending wellbeing texts or highlighting rules about not sending emails in the evening or during weekends.
Your mental health risk assessment (MHRA):
- If you completed a mental health risk assessment at the beginning of your project, highlight anything that specifically relates to post-production teams.
- If you don’t yet have an MHRA, it’s not too late – in the following guide you can learn how to put a mental health risk assessment together and download our templates:
- Review your post-production schedule and check it’s realistic.
- Assess whether you need to provide any specific support due to your production’s content – see considerations for sensitive content below.
- Plan how you’ll communicate any agreed values for the production.
- This could include your expectations relating to conduct during post-production or a bullying, harassment and discrimination policy.
- Consider whether you need to provide additional or expert support for your post-production team, such as support from a mental health first aider, specialist counselling, an employee assistance programme, and the free 24/7 Film and TV Support Line on 0800 054 0000.
- Explore sharing wellbeing apps or encouraging crew to set up peer-to-peer groups, which can be run via tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams.
Managing effective communication:
- Ensure your teams know how to access support provided and who they can speak with should issues arise.
- Discuss creating a communication plan to outline what and how you’ll communicate with your post-production team members throughout the project.
- Explore any steps you could take to prevent or reduce the impact of loneliness on crew working in isolation.
- Consider arranging additional or periodic check-ins to review the transition of wellbeing support with post-production contacts, crew or managers.
- Checking in with teams later gives you the opportunity to share any further information or resources required.
Check your schedule is realistic
A culture of overwork significantly impacts teams and can damage a production’s reception or a production company’s reputation, even if a third party is responsible for allocating work or managing shift patterns.
It’s crucial that productions and post-production facilities implement healthy working hours to protect their teams’ wellbeing, which means setting reasonable expectations for deadlines and turnaround times and evaluating your ways of working if needed.
Ensure your schedule means that everyone can adhere to working 8–10 hour days maximum, and discuss your scope for flexible working arrangements.
Provide clear guidance around working hours and communicate your expectations to managers and external post-production partners.
To support this, share our guidance on how to advocate for proper rest and breaks, which help with focus, clarity and creativity, and ultimately benefit your content, too.
In post-production, even seemingly small requests can considerably impact a team’s workload, particularly in areas of the industry such as VFX – so ensure managers understand how to navigate change and can openly communicate about how specific demands affect their workflows, pipelines and staffing needs.
Also consider sharing details for the Time Project app, which is an anonymous data collection tool aiming to improve working patterns in the industry.
Considerations for sensitive content
Review your MHRA alongside your plans to manage exposure to potentially distressing content during your wellbeing handover meeting, and agree any actions you’ll take to reduce the impact of sensitive material on your crew.
Despite the intentions of internal policies and processes, it’s still commonplace for sensitive media to come through to post-production teams without warning or it being clearly identified.
Production companies are obliged to reduce stress and the mental health issues of their crew under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Ensure any potentially sensitive content is always flagged to post-production crew in advance of any work, and consider how and when you can issue trigger warnings, including during post-production meetings and when discussing or allocating jobs.
Explore further steps to protect your post-production team’s wellbeing when working with sensitive content in the following guide:
After your handover meeting – next steps
Following your handover meeting, create a record of any agreed actions and share it with your meeting attendees.
Be clear who’s responsible for advising post-production teams about any approved policies and support, particularly if you’re working with external post-production services.
For more on this, see our mini guide: Communicate effectively with post-production crew.
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