Posted on 1st September 2020

Sustainable set and asset disposal – an Impossible Mission?

One of the key challenges that any production has to contend with when trying to behave sustainably is how to dispose of its set and assets. As a production finishes and the crew disperses, there is often limited time to resell or recondition a set for future use.

Unfortunately, at times the easiest option, (although not always the cheapest) has been to dispose of items.

As disposal becomes more expensive and as crews—and studios—become increasingly more aware of the need to reduce their carbon footprint, they are looking for alternative options.

We spoke to some of the team behind the Mission: Impossible films. These productions are a huge operation, with sets to match. But thanks to the advances in set storage and a forward thinking studio, the team behind Mission have found a better solution.

What follows are the insights from Chris Brock, Unit Production Manager who works on the Mission franchise.

We also hear from Harry Rylott who worked with Paramount, helping them with the sharing of assets once filming was completed on Mission: Impossible Fallout (2018) and Michaele Apostolides, MD of CAMA the storage company helping Paramount to find a new, innovative and sustainable way to store, reuse and recycle their sets and assets.

Chris Brock:

“It’s a vast production, with vast prep and shooting schedule to match. Alongside a large
crew, we have locations in multiple countries, UK backlot set builds and stages. We rebuild sets every time there is a new film so there is a limited amount of assets that are kept and stored. We store all the assets during production in case of reshoots, and everything remains in store until picture lock.

After picture lock, the asset teams at Paramount in LA will decide whether to keep or sell the assets the movie has acquired. This is helpful because they then take over from the crew at the end of the shoot, when people are generally just trying to finish.

Traditionally any set pieces that were specific to the film would be disposed of. But the forward-looking team at Paramount have been looking to avoid this and find better solutions.

For as long as I can remember there has been a problem with assets and storage because no-one specialised in our requirements. If you needed to retrieve something you had to search for it and crew members could search for hours looking for assets for reshoots. This old way of storing assets led to a lot of waste in terms of assets being destroyed. The good news is, we’re beginning to see a change that’s led by the studios. Paramount in particular is committed to finding a better solution for asset management and they want to adopt a reselling and reusing model.

Working with CAMA has been a complete game changer for us: it solves so many of the problems mentioned above. Now at the end of a film, and during we can send our sets and assets to CAMA. They log them, upload the log online, and then store everything securely.  Then the studios have the option to sell, donate, recycle or store them.

Their online portal is brilliant because it gives total control of the assets back to the studio in LA. Security is lock tight as CAMA controls the access. No one even needs to visit the storage facility to rummage through a warehouse – you just use the portal to identify what you’re looking for and CAMA will have it logged and delivered to you.

There really isn’t a downside to this new system. It enables productions to sell, donate, recycle and responsibly dispose of assets in a much greener and more efficient way. And because of this efficiency it has proved to be very comparable competitively in terms of costs – particularly because we were doing it so badly before! I would suggest that all production crews adopt a similar system, even for much smaller shoots.

Productions and studios all have a duty to embrace sustainability. They might think that ‘going green’ comes at a cost, but this is an efficient and cost competitive solution.”

Harry Rylott:

“I came on board 6 months after Mission had finished in order to help with the assets. I worked closely with Paramount who wanted to sell and donate the assets that they didn’t want to keep hold of. This included production office furniture, props, set decorations, crowd costumes and extras costumes.

It was the first time I had come across CAMA but I quickly saw how it was going to be a huge help. Thanks to the online portal, I could send a link to the database of each asset, and the system then itemised everything with picture, photos and detailed measurements. Often at the end of the shoot when a crew have been working for months, it is a scramble to get everything finished so detailing all the assets is never done properly. But with CAMA’s system, this is all sorted for you. They take the assets, photograph and itemise them, and then upload into their system.

Once we’d logged everything that we knew we wanted to sell, I sent a link of the asset inventory to all the productions that I knew and spread the word to all productions around London, from small, low budget to much bigger ones.

The system helped us to sell assets quickly. All the productions I contacted were really keen. It was a boost to their budgets to buy discounted items, including production office furniture, general furniture from the film sets, props, and non-confidential set decoration items.

We offered discounts and offers to productions, and we were happy to negotiate, based on their production’s budgets. We didn’t want the smaller productions to lose out.”

Michaele Apostolides:

“When I first started working with productions, I was genuinely surprised at the amount of stuff that was needed for a film! I’ve worked in storage for over 20 years but was focused on other sectors. As a newcomer to the film world, I just hadn’t thought about all the things you need to recreate everyday living on the screen, even for the shortest of

It became really apparent how much waste there was when a few years ago I saw the set of a nightclub’s toilets, the urinals, sinks, and all new sanitary wear being thrown in a skip. I was new to the industry and I was pretty shocked.

I was also surprised with how many assets were shipped back to LA. Some were boxes and boxes of costumes for extras, that were simply going to be sold once back in the US to auction houses. Surely that was something we could do here.

I started talking more to productions, and working closer with them, including working closely with the team at Paramount on Mission. It was great to work together to find ways where we could help the production reduce waste more efficiently.

It was easy for us because we were already offering this service to our clients in the corporate and financial sectors. They were committed to reusing, repurposing and donating their office equipment, furnishings and products. And we’d been helping them do this for years.

This was particularly true of the financial sector. Because of the negative reputation of banks they have spent a long time trying to build and enhance good practices, and this includes focusing on sustainability and sharing. They need to boost their reputation of being a sustainable industry.

It seemed like the film and TV industry, despite it being cutting edge with technology – was behind in terms of sustainability and reducing waste. Film and TV often enjoys positive publicity so perhaps the same incentive wasn’t there. But it’s clear that over the past few years things are now changing for the industry, and for the better. All the studios that we are dealing with now – their number one priority for assets is to avoid waste. All our discussions have been around sustainability – and that is really great news.

We are in the process of developing our software in line with what productions need and it’s an exciting time to be a part of the sustainability movement working so closely with the studios, and particularly Paramount.”

To find out more about CAMA and the services they offer, visit their website at