The Plastic Punch Series Shooting
Environmental awareness is fun!
Last year, Plastic Punch and Village Minds Production wrote a script for a theatre drama. The plot was about segregating waste and the consequences of dropping plastics on the floor, some years in advance where there will be a sanitation officer who will arrest people for dumping plastics in forbidden places.
It was first staged at the Official Launch of the Organisation at Alliance Française in Accra, where it was warmly welcomed. During 2018, the play received several endorsements, being also staged at the Afia Beach Hotel in Accra for Earth Day and the Australian High Commission for Environment Day.
The nice experience created around it and the positive feedback received, gave us the strength to broaden the scope of the awareness campaign all across Ghana. How? We started producing The Plastic Punch Series, a 13-episode sitcom to expose the dangers of plastic and to propose feasible and sustainable alternatives to its use. The first episode is powered by the French Embassy in Ghana.
On 25th January 2019, at Alliance Française of Accra, we had the last rehearsal before the shooting started. Around 20 actors and actresses were gathered for three hours. How many times a repetition is needed! The final technical directions, location and costumes were explained for the shooting weekend to come!
On 26th January 2019, actresses and actors started arriving from 7am to the meeting point, the Nkrumah statue at Circle, in Accra. The production manager checked up on everyone: “Did you bring the apron?” – “Yes!” “Don´t you have tall socks?” – “I´m sorry, I couldn’t find any”. No problem, we were at Circle, a point where you can find basically everything you might need. Two minutes after, a pair of black socks was already on the foot of the actress. The makeup artist gave the final touch, the cameraman and the sound engineer set it ready, the light was appropriate… and action!
When we watch TV we do not realise the amount of work it really involves. The shots have to be recorded from different angles to capture all the reactions, actors and actresses need to repeat the scene if it did not happen as agreed…
And waiting… Oh waiting! One scene is recorded after the other, so not all the actors are required on shot at the same time. Ghana´s hot weather complicates it a bit more, as people quickly get thirsty and hungry. We didn’t want anyone passing out at the shooting, so there was a lot of motivation needed.
However, all these drawbacks were balanced with the smiley reactions of the surroundings. We were at the street, to precisely tell a story that obviously happens in the daily life of the Ghanaian reality. Circle is a vibrant place of Accra where anything can happen, and there are always so many people around, sticking their noses into the shooting. It was really fun and interesting to interact with the kids and adults around, as with their different views, we could also share some discussions on the plastic issue.
On 27th January 2019, we shot at a private house, which made things much more easier. After the experience of the previous day, things went smoother, but the repetitions needed for the different camera angles were again so many!
There is a common statement where everyone says that “as everyone is guilty no one is to blame”. But as young activist Greta Thunberg says, “that is another convenient lie, as there is someone to blame”. The 7.6 billion citizens we are, we all take decisions every day that have a different impact depending on the level of the society we are found in. Some companies and some decision makers have bigger responsibilities, but as citizens we cannot deny our obligations either.
With this edutaining sitcom, we want to focus the attention on all the levels of the system where a change is needed. In the 13 chapters, we will try to show the direct ability we all have to make a better impact, calling everyone – from government and public institutions, to the private sector, citizens and civil society organisations – to action.
The Plastic Punch Team