Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos has explained how some film productions can adapt to working under the coronavirus pandemic, outlining different approaches that the company is undertaking around the world.
“Filming typically takes place in intimate, high-touch environments, with scores of artists and craftspeople working closely together on tight deadlines,” Sarandos wrote in an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times on Monday. “While we will need to change this process — in some cases dramatically — to ensure the safety of cast and crew during this pandemic, the closed nature of sets also offers some advantages. Not least that they provide a relatively controlled environment, where we can track who comes and goes.”
While productions in the United States remain shut down, Netflix has already restarted operations in South Korea, Japan and Iceland. The company also plans to start shooting again in Sweden this month and in Norway in July.
Arguing against a blanket approach for all productions, Sarandos explains how Netflix has adjusted to the situation on a case-by-case basis. In Sweden, where testing is scarce, workers self-quarantined for 14 days before returning to work, and then quarantined together throughout an 11-day shoot. Meanwhile, in Iceland, tests are more widely available. Workers were able to return to production after all their tests came back negative, though temperatures continue to be monitored frequently.
Sarandos also argues for some universal adjustments to productions, such as social distancing among the crew, replacing buffets with boxed meals and providing hygiene equipment such as hand sanitizer, masks and gloves.
“The business of bringing stories to life onscreen is built on partnership and trust. We will only make progress if everyone who returns to the set, whether they are in front of or behind the camera, feels safe doing so. Without this basic trust, the creative process breaks down,” he wrote.