by Nellie Andreeva
April 30, 2020
As active discussions continue about setting industry guidelines for safe return to production amid the coronavirus pandemic, Film Florida has released the most comprehensive set of such recommendations yet.
Put out on Thursday, April 30, the six-page document from the statewide trade association features 161 recommendations for “clean & healthy” film, TV and digital production sets that spells the possible end of the signature canvas director’s chairs and ubiquitous actors trailers, and the introduction of personalized mics and hairbrushes as well as clear barriers for actors on stage, along with reducing the number of takes.
In addition to general guidelines, the brochure contains detailed recommendations for all sections, groups and departments on set including actors & extras, location, transportation, art department, hair & makeup, wardrobe, casting, production office & trailers, electric & grip, camera, sound, catering & craft services, and video village. It also includes policies for on-set protocol, handling equipment and on-set communications. (Download the full document below.)
This is believed to be the first comprehensive safe-set guide in the U.S., following sets of guidelines released in Australia and Sweden/Denmark as these countries started to resume filming following a coronavirus-related shutdown.
Film Florida’s list of suggestions include some ideas already floated or implemented including sequestering cast and crew in a hotel, daily temperature checks, frequent disinfection, wearing gloves and masks indoors, limiting the number of crew to essential personnel only, staggering lunch and call times (when possible), no self-serve buffets, boxed meals, avoiding touch-up for actors, limiting extras, dividing up studio backstage space into sections with production teams isolated from each other, sequestering departments in department pods with minimal crossing, with only one department present at a time in a work area (if possible).
The Film Florida recommendations also introduce some policies not seen in previous COVID-19 guidelines or proposals. Here are some highlights:
- Eliminate directors chairs for plastic chairs as they are easier to disinfect.
- Once production starts, the director should limit takes to make sets more efficient and result in less standing around/congregating time.
- Consider a temporary clear barrier between actors while establishing marks and positions and remove at the last moment.
- Consider utilizing larger tents with portable A/C or heat in lieu of trailers/motorhomes.
- Eliminate “open calls” and give everyone assigned window to arrive.
- During in-person group auditions, actors can wear clear face shields and gloves, or maintain social distancing.
- Attempt to limit number of people in a passenger van to 2 passengers at one time.
- Use gloves and mask when looking through garments in rental houses and retail stores.
- Disinfect jewelry and glasses in between use.
- Face shield should be worn by the Make-up Artist or Hair Stylist.
- Use disposable make-up kits and brushes and dispose of the kit after each application.
- Possibly assign brush / combs to each actor so not to cross contaminate.
- Label mics with the name of the user.
- Utilize boom-only audio when possible
- Have one individual put up and take down all location signs.
- If distributing hard copy scripts/sides, dispose of paper after each reading.
- For intimate scenes, talent should have to test negative for the virus and show results.
Because of the numerous new layers of safety protocols and limiting the people — i.e., work — done at one time, Film Florida’s guidelines warn to “anticipate inefficiencies due to new procedures.”
The set of recommendations by the nonprofit association comes as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the state will start lifting stay-at-home orders on Monday, May 4. Florida officials have indicated they would rely on film and TV production to help get the state economy back on its feet.
While the Sunshine State is not among the leading filming locations in the U.S., Netflix’s feature The Last Thing He Wanted and OWN’s series David Makes Man are among the Hollywood productions recently shot there.
Film Florida notes that these are only recommendations, and “Guilds, Unions, Production Companies, and Studios may also have regulations.” That is expected to be the case but those regulations are still being negotiated, so Film Florida’s detailed roadmap could be helpful when official Hollywood guidelines are being hammered out.
Even if Florida got out first with a comprehensive set of protocols and the state is reopening for business, Hollywood productions are not likely to flock there right away as studios take a cautious approach, following recommendations from health officials when it would be safe to restart production. So far, that appears to still be months away.