Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, has called on Los Angeles County authorities to resume all film and television production, following the submission of a 22-page blueprint outlining coronavirus safety guidelines.
Representing the wider industry on a conference call with the county’s Economic Resilience Task Force on Tuesday, Langley highlighted a white paper report delivered to California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday and asked that production resume immediately. TV and film sets have been shuttered since mid-March as the pandemic took hold of the country.
“If there is any delay in lifting overall restrictions on filming activities based on protocols and procedures outlined in the white paper, we’d like you to identify and authorize certain sector roles and job functions that can immediately resume with appropriate safety protocols in place,” Langley said.
Lower-risk jobs Langley referred to included pre- and post-production, set construction, video editing and music scoring — all areas that function in relative isolation and are not as populated as filmed scenes where departments convene.
Langley pointed out that the industry has demonstrated innovation in creating and delivering new content to audiences around the globe, but underscored the need for “regional continuity,” especially in the face of potentially losing business to other states further along in reopening phases.
The task force formed by Kathryn Barger also featured attorney Casey Wasserman representing live events and sports sectors, and Universal Studios Hollywood president Karen Irwin representing theme parks. They echoed sentiments about preparedness in line with local and national health guidelines, and discussed inviting the public back to open spaces at reduced capacities.
Protocols outlined in Monday’s white paper include regular screenings, access to personal protective equipment, diagnostic testing, cleaning and disinfecting work sites, and appropriate response should an employee contract COVID-19 or face exposure.
The white paper is the result of a collaborative effort of production companies, unions and guilds working to provide governments with a set of guidelines to safely resume production.
That task force of around 50 participants was put together by the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee, a long-established entity that deals with safety and training concerns related to production. The committee includes safety, physical production and labor relations executives from the major studios and union reps from SAG-AFTRA, DGA, the Teamsters and IATSE. It was organized through the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.