Los Angeles County is going back to work: Everything you need to know
It’s been a long three months for those in the entertainment industry, but now that the new Coronavirus cases are finally decreasing, it’s time to go back to work. Starting today, June 12th, Hollywood is now allowed to resume production on the variety of projects put on hold by the pandemic.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that projects are up and running today. Many have start dates of July and August right now, as unions try to settle on what exactly are the right guidelines for working on set in a post COVID-19 world.
What productions in Hollywood were halted?
A variety of movies and TV shows got hit hard in March when the county ordered productions to shut down. Others shut down long before they had to, out of safety for their own actors.
Films like Joel Cohn’s Macbeth, The Prom, and King Richard, as well as shows like Barry all halted production in the city of stars. Several other movies in pre-production like Uncharted paused for the time being, due to restrictions of in person meetings.
When will productions start back up?
Technically speaking, any production in LA County can restart production today, assuming they follow all guidelines by the CDC for keeping a safe workspace, and are approved by the local government.
However, most productions have set start dates in July and August to get back to filming. A big reason behind this is the various unions in Hollywood are still working on negotiations on how to keep sets safe from coronavirus contamination. Nearly 200 industry professionals worked on drafting a white paper establishing guidelines.
Like most union negotiations though, we’re still weeks away from finding out the set guidelines for productions. So to make sure there’s enough time to properly develop the guidelines, studios are estimating about 4-6 weeks of negotiations.
If you’re looking to get your project started, you have to wait until Monday to get your application in. The non-profit group FilmLA which takes care of LA’s film permits will be reopening then. Obviously, those who were already filming have their permits in place and can get started when they’re ready.
What guidelines should we look out for?
Right now, the white paper has people being tested regularly for COVID-19, daily temperature checks, proper cleaning of equipment and commonly touched surfaces, and wearing proper PPE.
Of course, a lot of these changes have people worried the budgets for these productions are going through the roof. Other recommendations include pushing for electronic schedules, call sheets, and scripts, individually wrapped craft services, and staggering call/wrap times. Don’t be surprised when budgets go crazy.
What about movie theaters?
Ironically, productions can get started in Los Angeles County, but not movie theaters. While the state of California has set guidelines allowing for 25% capacity, LA has yet to allow movie theaters to open yet, and there’s no date in sight for when they will reopen.