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Inside Hollywood’s costly plans to resume film and TV production

Hollywood is inching toward resuming production of films and television shows, as the industry grapples with the costly measures that will be needed to reduce risk on sets amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

California on Monday will roll out guidelines for the resumption of production of Hollywood movies and TV shows, but industry insiders have already been making plans of their own. 

Movie and television sets shut down in mid-March due to the coronavirus epidemic. Because of the challenges of social distancing on sets, Hollywood is expected to be among the last industries to come back. 

Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix, said the streaming platform had resumed filming in countries like South Korea, Iceland and Sweden, where strict testing and contact tracing was underway.

Tyler Perry announced earlier this month that he will begin filming the second season of his BET show Sistas on July 8, and The Oval (above) three weeks later

Tyler Perry announced earlier this month that he will begin filming the second season of his BET show Sistas on July 8, and The Oval (above) three weeks later

Tyler Perry announced earlier this month that he will begin filming the second season of his BET show Sistas on July 8, and The Oval (above) three weeks later

Netflix was paying crews on all of its shut down shows, resulting in a ‘$150 million-plus commitment, Sarandos said at a film and TV industry roundtable on Wednesday.

In the United States, filmmaker Tyler Perry is expected to be the first to get going with plans to shoot two television series at his vast studio compound in Atlanta, Georgia in July.

Perry announced earlier this month that he will begin filming the second season of his BET show Sistas on July 8, and The Oval three weeks later.

‘I’m excited about being able to make sure that people can take care of themselves and support their families, but also excited about setting a template here that I think could work everywhere,’ Perry told Variety

Perry said he will test his cast and pared-down crew when they arrive at the studio, before beginning filming, and four more times during the two-and-a-half-week shoots for each show.

Group scenes will be held back until the fourth day of shooting, when everyone has been tested again, and everyone on set will wear a mask.

This Is Us (above) will be much slower to resume filming, with production estimated to begin in January at the earliest

This Is Us (above) will be much slower to resume filming, with production estimated to begin in January at the earliest

This Is Us (above) will be much slower to resume filming, with production estimated to begin in January at the earliest

The timeline is much longer elsewhere. Actor Jon Huertas, who plays Miguel Rivas on the NBC series This Is Us, said at the roundtable on Wednesday that the show may not resume production until January.

Selma director Ava DuVernay said everyone in the industry was anxious to get back to work. But she added: ‘It is hyper vigilance around this, and a real desire to get it right so that we don’t kind of take two steps back.’

Studio executives are weighing a wide range of precautions that could increase the cost of productions by as much as 20 percent.

The include shorter shooting days that would lead to longer shooting schedules, casts and crews living in quarantine during production, and added breaks for temperature checks and COVID testing.

As well, insiders predict the use of extensive visual effects where extras once stood and new medical teams on set dedicated to health and safety.

Producers will also have to pay out for medical-grade cleaning equipment and protective gear, as well as increased insurance costs for productions.  

Pinewood Studios in Atlanta aims to reopen on June 1, and has spent more than $1 million so far on hospital-grade HVAC upgrades and hand-washing stations to reduce risk of infection

Pinewood Studios in Atlanta aims to reopen on June 1, and has spent more than $1 million so far on hospital-grade HVAC upgrades and hand-washing stations to reduce risk of infection

Pinewood Studios in Atlanta aims to reopen on June 1, and has spent more than $1 million so far on hospital-grade HVAC upgrades and hand-washing stations to reduce risk of infection

California Governor Gavin Newsom said at Wednesday’s roundtable that the state’s filming guidelines would ‘allow counties that are in better condition than some of the others to be able to move forward and … allow some movement in your industry.’

Newsom warned that Los Angeles County would likely be excluded in the first phase.  

Big-budget blockbuster films with massive crews and world travel for location shooting are expected to be among the last to resume production, and some industry insiders see an opportunity for smaller independent films to get a chance to shine.

 ‘I immediately went into ‘OK, what can we do with five people and a camera?’ producer Lynette Howell Taylor (A Star Is Born) told Variety. 

‘I feel like independent filmmakers are going to have another resurgence again. I think it’s actually an incredible opportunity,’ she said.

Others believe that any plans to restart productions are premature and doomed to failure.

‘A movie can’t work with masks and social distancing — everyone is all over each other all the time,’ one filmmaker told the magazine. 

‘To not face that, either you’re in denial or you’re ignorant, or you’re pretending to not know so the company isn’t liable.’ 

Source: dailymail US

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