Came across this Variety article today:
A few things.
The article starts off by referring to Producer Tyler Perry’s plans to restart production at his Atlanta-based studios, and the safeguards he will put in place: “Perry will fly out-of-town cast members in on his private plane, and, since the studio is a decommissioned U.S. Army compound, everyone working on the production will live on campus.”
That’s the gold standard right here. But, realistically, it’s unlikely most productions will be able to fly out of town cast members in and out on private planes. Quarantine cast and crew? Sure. It wold be no different than an extended location shoot – except that most every production will now be proceeding along those lines. And for how long? Depends on the production. In the case of a tightly scheduled 10 hour t.v.series? Say, four months. That’s four months away from your significant other. OR, if they are with you, four months which they will spend in isolation, waiting for you to come home.
But putting all that aside, assuming you can work out the quarantine and the testing and the minimal interactions during prep and post, there are a few BIGGER issues that need to be addressed.
First, the article refers to “the impending release of highly anticipated guidelines spearheaded by the AMPTP, which is based on input from studios, epidemiologists and public health officials, as well as sensitive negotiations with the various trade unions.” Bolding is mine as herein lies the first big issue: union concessions related to a potential post-pandemic production model, one that may push for fewer bodies on set. It’s a complicated subject, in my mind THE most complicated and challenging for production and union (members) alike. But provided something can be worked out, there’s another issue.
What with all of the new safeguards that will be put in place, new rules that will make for a safer but, admittedly, much slower working environment, the “costs of production, already sky-high, are going to get even higher.” And who is going to bear these extra costs? Is the production company going to pony up? I doubt it. Will the commissioning broadcaster boost their licensing fees? Uh, I suppose it’s possible. Or, will the costs ultimately come out of the production’s budget? Ding ding ding! And if that turns out to be the case, how much of that money will be coming off the screen? In other words, how badly will the end product suffer as a result? I suppose it depends on the costs – and a show’s particular budget. You would think the bigger budget productions would be in a better position – however, as the article points out…
“The issue is simply that considering the massive crews, complex stunt work and elaborate sets, costumes and makeup, large-scale productions might be too big to reasonably accommodate COVID-19 precautions without a vaccine.”
Okay. So what about smaller productions? The article states they may be in a better position to negotiate this more challenging terrain. Except THEY run up against another problem: “The information that we’ve gotten from different brokers and people that we work with on the insurance side has been, generally speaking, that it will be difficult to cover any sort of COVID-related kinds of claims,” says Jordan Beckerman, Levine’s partner at Yale Prods.
These smaller productions don’t have the deep pockets of big studios. If a cast member falls ill or production is interrupted by that rumored “second wave”, they are screwed without the insurance to cover their asses.
All that said, production has already restarted in Australia – and the U.K. is gearing up to get back at it as well. I imagine, here in North America, we won’t be far behind. And, hopefully, we’ll all find a way to make it work.
Still, I think this phrase, that appears early in the article, provides the perfect capper to any discussion on the topic: “It will be many months before we know whether the scramble to make movies in a world in which few theaters are open is practical planning for a COVID-less future or delusional magical thinking”.
Continuing my #AGraphicNovelADay Challenge…
#AGraphicNovelADay Day 23
What If? Classic Vol. 4
A collection of Bronze Age AU tales covering everything from depowered heroes and unexpected deaths to surprising encounters and strange mutations. The Leaving, by David Micheline and Paty Greer Cockrum, is an absolute standout. pic.twitter.com/rXf991Oz5t
— Joseph Mallozzi (@BaronDestructo) May 18, 2020
#AGraphicNovelADay Day 24
FreakAngels Vol. 1
12 childhood friends possessed of extrahuman powers evolve in a post-apocalyptic England of their own making. Brilliant character work. I ended up reading all 6 volumes in a single day. @warrenellis @paul_duffield @Avatarpress pic.twitter.com/O67PbPngyr
— Joseph Mallozzi (@BaronDestructo) May 19, 2020
#AGraphicNovelADay Day 25
A young bird watcher investigates the suicide of a "rare bird" named Emrys.
Swain's subtle, minimal art style reflects a deceptively simple tale brimming with empathy.
Carol Swain @FantaBookstore pic.twitter.com/HPosnaYvEU
— Joseph Mallozzi (@BaronDestructo) May 20, 2020