Back into making powerful movies? Keep yourself safe!

3 min read

Keep yourself safe?

Wear a mask. Get tested. Save lives.

That’s what reopening guidelines say for New York.

That and many other things.

When the pandemic hit, the goal was simple: stay inside, stay quarantined, and don’t spread the virus. As that stage of the pandemic passes, we’re now left with the question of how to reopen.

When it comes to getting back into filming, there are quite a few complications involved. How many people can you gather? What are the numbers indoors and outdoors? What if you need an actor from somewhere far away to come into a studio?

There are no blanket answers, save for social distancing, wearing a mask, and sanitizing. Each state has its own guidelines. But we’ll do our best here to tackle what we can so you can keep yourself safe and look after your crew.

General guidelines

Keep yourself safe: image of a film crew in a studio
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet apart when you can, and get tested.

It can be upsetting to see that people are protesting the use of masks in the middle of a pandemic. But then we have people who are trying to show them the importance of a mask, with fire. Bless them.

The point is to keep masks on and distance ourselves because it reduces the spread of COVID-19. The less it spreads, the sooner this is over, and the sooner we can return to easier filming.

As an aside, remember that Voice123 hasn’t really been affected by the pandemic; our staff all work remotely and our complement of professional voice actors from all around the world mainly work remotely from within their own home studios too.

Some guidelines, like the New York guidelines linked above, require mandatory testing for COVID-19 at least once a week before returning to filming. Daily screening for symptoms is required too.

Keeping an eye on these basic things will keep filming safe.

Getting close

Keep yourself safe: image of women wearing masks
Photo by Jérémy Stenuit on Unsplash

There are scenes when actors might have to get close, and there’s a high chance those scenes need to be shot without a mask. You can’t have the kiss scene in the romcom with a mask in the way. 

If the scene has actors that need to remove their masks, they’ll need to put their masks back on whenever.

Be sure to have the necessary hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting equipment available. Provide running warm water, soap, and paper towels. You’ll also want to make sure alcohol-based (at least 60%) hand sanitizer is easily accessible.

Some states require filmmakers to provide face coverings at no cost to the employees and team members. Be sure to check with your state guidelines to see if you’re meeting requirements.

Speaking of getting close, it’s not just the bodies you have to take into consideration. The equipment people use may be touched by more than one person. 

Sharing of equipment should be minimized — as much as possible. But if equipment has to be shared, it will need to be cleaned before being passed on to another user.

Sanitization

Keep yourself safe: image of signboard indicating a sanitizing station
Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash

Equipment should be cleaned whenever possible. If it’s being used for one period of time, and there’s a break before its next use, it should be cleaned.

If cleaning the equipment might damage it, provide the workers with resources to clean their hands and anything else that might have been involved with the equipment. It’s also helpful to provide things like disposable gloves.

It’s not just the equipment. There are props, set pieces, costumes, floors and spaces to keep clean. It’s a lot of work, but between a sizable team, it can be made easier. And it’s well worth it.

From the outside

As tempting as it may be, don’t reach for your coworker’s bag of chips. Just don’t share food!

Catered food should be individually packaged and provided with individually wrapped utensils. Any eating should be done with social distancing in mind.

Only staff members should be allowed in workplaces. That means anybody who isn’t required for filming shouldn’t be around the rest of the team.

If there are actors or team members coming from another location, they must follow the states’ rules for quarantine. Maine requires a 14-day quarantine upon arriving. And in the event any worker has symptoms that could point to being positive for COVID-19, they must not be at workplaces. 

Keep yourself safe

Keep yourself safe: image of Scrabble blocks

It’s a troubling time right now, and everyone wants everything to go back to “normal.” That’s completely understandable, it would be best if we didn’t have to adhere to all these guidelines.

But we do. We do, and we should so we can get back to “normal.”

That means we follow guidelines, wear a mask, get tested, keep as clean as possible, and follow your location’s gathering limits. The American Film Market is a good resource to find links to state guidelines. Until this is all over, stay vigilant, and keep yourself safe!