Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp and State of Georgia have released an 11-page document outlining “best practices” protocols for film and TV productions. The recommendations were developed in close cooperation with officials from studio and production companies who maintain a presence in Georgia.
Georgia was one of the first states to reopen after the coronavirus pandemic and Kemp has been pushing forward with the state’s reopening. Earlier this week, Tyler Perry, whose studios are based in Atlanta, talked to Variety about restarting production and discussed safety on sets.
The document provides a detailed outline on preventative measures film production crew can take to ensure health and safety on set. Some of the key takeaways from the protocol guidelines include:
Preventive Measures To Be Taken Against Covid-19
- Frequent hand washing should be mandatory, and hydroalcoholic gels should be made available throughout the production office, workspaces or filming location. Workers should utilize appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including but not limited to goggles, face shields, and masks that cover the nose and mouth.
- Opt for digital call sheets, production reports and contracts when possible.
- Avoid handshakes, kisses, hugs and actions that encourage physical contact between people.
- The use of private and individual transportation should be encouraged. In case of use of public or shared transport, masks should be worn, and social distancing requirements should be adhered to as much as possible.
- Identify who may effectively be able to work from home for portions of prep, shoot, or wrap.
Guidelines For Production Offices, Locations, And Other Job Functions
- Hydroalcoholic gel dispensers should be properly marked and replenished with sufficient frequency to ensure supply. In addition, disposable tissues should be made available along with marked containers for the purpose of disposing of them.
- Adequate ventilation of workplaces should also be ensured.
- Avoid manually opening and closing doors on the premises: whenever possible, doors or accesses should be left open to avoid the need to open them.
- Allowing outside personnel into the production office should be avoided as much as possible. Limit number of people in all areas to essential personnel only.
- The arrangement of the workplaces should ensure that safety distances of 6 feet are maintained. If it is not possible to maintain this distance, the use of masks should be mandatory.
At The Shooting Location
- Production companies may decide to require some type of testing protocol to certify that at the beginning of the shoot all the workers involved are free of COVID-19 and that during the shooting phase the production company provides all the necessary means to protect the health of its workers and avoid any kind of contagion in their environment.
- When possible, castings should be done remotely.
- Eliminate “open calls” and assign windows to arrive. Encourage actors to wait in their cars until their scheduled time.
- In the case of printed scripts, these should be personalized, and each recipient should only handle his or her own script.
- It is always recommended that a mask be worn, except for those incidents strictly necessary for shooting, and that a safety distance of 6 feet be maintained. If it is not possible to maintain this distance, a record should be kept of the interactions between the actors so that possible contacts can be identified if someone were to contract the virus.
- Consider using a clear barrier between actors while establishing marks and positions to be removed at the last moment.
- Consider alternate shot set-ups, camera angles, lenses, etc. to allow for greater distance between actors.
- Consider using members of the same household in a scene.
- If possible, reduce the number of extras required.
- Provide enough space and tables and chairs for extras holding areas to practice social distancing.
- Provide a pen for each Extra to execute paperwork and instruct them not to share.
- Scouting should be done virtually as much as possible.
- Productions should consider that they may need more space requirements for the use of locations in a public space, so that crew members can be separated.
- When scouting potential locations, sites should be treated as if they were infected (unless they were disinfected ahead of the scout) and the crew should use PPE while scouting the site.
- Cleaning and disinfection of the shooting location should be extremely thorough, isolating any facilities or areas that have not been disinfected. While on location, conduct conversations outside as much as possible.
- It may be necessary to make sure food can be distributed in a take-away fashion, whereby each crew member moves away from the catering after taking their food, so the social distancing rule can be adhered to. Otherwise, enough space must be available for the crew to eat so they can be spaced apart from each other. It is advisable to give priority to portable chairs over standard benches.
- Fittings should take place off-set or remotely whenever possible.
- Physical contact should be kept at a minimum and parties involved should use PPE.
- Costumes and outfits should be bagged up individually, per performer.
- When possible, actors should arrive to set in their own wardrobe.
Hair and Make-Up
- Consider having actors arrive having done their own make-up/hair– avoid touch ups unless necessary.
- Avoid providing hair and make-up for background actors if possible.
- PPE should be worn for the duration of person-to-person contact.
- Make-up or hair stations should be spaced at least 6 feet apart.
- Talent and make-up artists should wash their hands before and after each session
Organization Of The Shooting Spaces
- The recording area should be marked to ensure that only permitted personnel have access. Access to the shooting space shall have a defined entrance and exit area, and there shall be a designated person to control such access. Differentiated and adequately signposted entry and exit areas shall be established in order to prevent people from crossing over.
- The number of people who will have access to the shooting space should be minimized.