By Eddie Rodriguez and Mickie Santos

Raven (2021). Stephen Magiera and William Diament. 

A once non-stop assembly line of film manufacturing met the stonewall of quarantine. Around this time last year, media production came to a halt due to COVID-19. Highly anticipated movies like “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “Dune” and “Cruella” were all set to be released within 2020 and are now awaiting a release for 2021. 

According to the Motion Picture Association, at least 300,000 jobs categorized in motion picture and sound recording were lost. Left and right, news coverage critiqued the infrastructure of this territory. Students with dreams to pursue careers in this field watched it crumble. For some, it meant going back to the drawing board and for others, considering a more practical career route. For the optimistic, they saw this as another challenge to analyze and overcome adversity. 

“The lockdown forced creatives to reflect on the content they want to make whether you’re a writer, artist, musician, etc.,” said College of the Canyons’ very own Moises Barrangan of Morsa Films. “No one is the same after this, some for better or worse.” 

Barrangan, along with co-writer and co-director, William Diament, released a short film called Raven in February. They, too, were not spared by the pandemic, originally announcing a premiere date in April 2020 to February of this year. 

Hope was not lost. Prolonging the release meant it would saturate for more scrutiny, giving Morsa Films the chance to revamp some weak points. 

“Thanks to COVID, the film came out much better and we won a couple of awards in a few festivals,” Barrangan said. 

His determination to power through the aftermath of the pandemic isolation kept him from shelving this idea two years in the making. 

Outside of Hollywood, movie and live theatres saw similar shutdowns. People resorted to the alternative, streaming services like Disney+, Netflix and HBO Max. 

“What even, bro? I feel it sounds cool and all to have all these on demand services. It just feels like we’re going back to channel subscriptions like it’s 2008 DirectTV,” Aldus Puyat, a COC alumnus and current student at Emerson College in Boston, said. 

This might be the new era of film and TV show services post-pandemic. It could be more convenient to invest in short-form storytelling instead of focusing on feature films with A-list actors. 

For Puyat, this meant investing his artistic energy into something outside his normal creative pursuit. 

“Since all comedy clubs are closed, here at the college ‘Standup in the Park’ started where we would organize weekly to put on outdoor shows for students,” said Puyat. 

Many people around the country had to abruptly adapt to a new environment. For these creative students, it meant more time to develop new skills. 

“With the stupendous amount of free time many of us have had, I for sure know very many people have been cooking up scripts and picking up new filmmaking skills while in quarantine, so I’m expecting a splurge of ideas to be pursued post-COVID,” Puyat said. 

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