RECAP: Hey Google: Creativity in the time of COVID-19

Written, filmed and edited less than seven days in April 2020, during the Government-imposed UK lockdown, Hey Google is a shining example of film-makers and creators reacting to the COVID-19 crisis.

“I literally wrote it on a Tuesday and Wednesday, shot it on Friday and Saturday and had it all edited by Tuesday,” says Actor and Director Leon Lopez, known for his TV roles in Brookside and Eastenders.

Leon, from Liverpool, recently moved to Leeds to become a director for TV soap Emmerdale. He was just about to start recording his second block of episodes when the COVID-19 lockdown started and filming was shut down. 

While in isolation Leon responded to a call put out by Danusia Samal in a WhatsApp group of actors he’d previously worked with at the RSC. He offered his service as a director and was paired with two projects, Digital Detox and When You Host Your First Zoom Meeting, both of which were featured in the Guardian Stage as part of its Virtual Collaborators Project.

Leon said: “After ‘virtually’ directing and editing both films, I was inspired to write my own story, based on personal events and things that I had heard of and read relating to COVID-19.”

Hey Google deals with issues surrounding isolation, lockdown and loneliness and features two of Leon’s friends, who agreed to help in with the lockdown project. Saeed Farhat plays the lead role of ‘Nader’ and Terry George makes a cameo as a news reporter.  Leon himself only features as a voice actor in the file.

“COVID-19 has been a testing experience, but it has inspired and pushed me as a filmmaker to demonstrate just what you can achieve with little resources in a short space of time, during unexpected circumstances,” Leon says. “The film brought out so many emotions and resonates with so many people who have seen it. I would go as far as to say that it’s some of my best work to date.”

Did the themes in Hey Google reflect your isolation experience? Have you created something surprising during lockdown? We’d love to hear your thoughts, stories and opinions, why not contact us here or tweet us @FilmWithPride

You can still watch Hey Google online through Leon’s Youtube channel here, or check out more of their great work at

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