Industry Infighting, the slow development of the work plan behind the Union Turf War – Variety6 min read
The entertainment industry’s efforts to develop security protocols for resumes are likely to provoke a rift between studios and Hollywood unions that have delayed the presentation of work plans behind the industry to state and local officials. E.g. Diversity As it turns out, the production jump in the coronavirus epidemic will be complex and costly.
The industry task force that met last month to address security concerns has drafted a 30-page white paper that has persuaded government officials to give Hollywood the green light to resume production. A copy of the draft is believed to have reached the office of California Governor Gavin News, which prompted him to announce on Wednesday that he plans to issue state directives to resume TV and film production on May 25.
The white paper, however, is incomplete and not signed by all participants in the task force, which has raised eyebrows and fingernails between union and studio officials and the Motion Picture and Television Producers Alliance, a labor negotiating body for large studios.
Some in the White Paper Task Force had hoped to get the draft to the authorities earlier this week, but the draft has been widely circulated – and first reported by Induir – in anticipation for at least another week, if not in the final version. No.
A source in a large guild said Diversity Although they reviewed the guidelines, they were not involved in drafting that plan. Another source in the union said the IATSE has hired its own experts, and will create more crafting procedures that are likely to be released next week.
And a spokesman for SAG-AFTRA said, “SAG-AFTRA has not yet signed up for any specific procedure for reopening.”
“We are completing a set of initial protocols, including inputs from our expert epidemiologists, industrial sanitation experts, member leaders and employees, and working in collaboration with our partner guilds and unions and industry,” the spokesman added. “Our draft report will soon be presented to our member-led Blue Ribbon Commission on the Security and Executive Committee for review, change and adoption.”
It remains to be seen whether each union will publish its own separate plan, creating more confusion. What is clear now is that the industry is not speaking with one voice on the billion-dollar question of starting work again.
The leak sparked long-running tensions with IATSE and DG. As per the details of the draft, Sag-Aftara is also scrutinizing the proposals in the light of the challenges raised for the actors. The whole process is complicated by the fact that the AMPTP has for the past few weeks been simultaneously negotiating a master agreement with the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA. In light of the epidemic, AMPTP is also prepared to discuss tough security talks with the ITSE on coronavirus safety concerns and at least temporarily shrinking the size of traditional theatrical Hollywood film and TV productions to meet the social distance with the ITSE. Mandate.
Unions have a lot to do with these decisions. Job classification and staff requirements are strictly regulated by the master contract agreements that each union hammers in a three-year cycle to negotiate with the AMPTP. This tension is irreversible as industry leaders want to bring back production as soon as possible, with union officials having every persuasion to secure jobs as soon as possible.
The task force does not consider shrinking crew sizes to reduce the number of people on draft sets of white paper – a change that other plans have taken as granted. Nor does it specify how the inevitably high cost of conducting extensive testing, cleaning, and safety monitoring will be covered and who will pay for it. Nevertheless, the process of putting these guidelines together has slowed down, claiming so many constituencies
Netflix has already created its own documentation for high-level production guidelines that have been submitted to several film commissions in recent days. This is seen as another potential complication in the entertainment industry as it presents a particularly frontline of how cameras can be safely rotated again, especially in the homeland of Hollywood. Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, was the owner of the only major entertainment industry to be represented at Newsom’s Virtual Industry Round Table Conference on Wednesday. Netflix is not officially a member of the AMPTP but has consulted with the White Paper Taskforce.
Sources close to the situation emphasized that the white paper was designed as a blueprint for government agencies assessing safety concerns in the vicinity of production. Individual entertainment companies and unions are simultaneously creating their own specific guidelines. This is vital, as safety and health decisions must inevitably be made on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature and location of the product.
But the White Paper is an important document because it represents the commitment that Hollywood studios are making to the authorities about COVID-19 test rules, social distance measures, and the clean-up process. Knowledgeable sources stressed that there was frustration among the members of the taskforce during the wide publicity of the draft because there was a stated focus from the beginning to get all the major partners behind a uniform plan.
The task force convened last month at the request of the office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. For Hollywood, the main audience for the white paper is Newsom and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, which has a wide range of powers to direct production.
The task force of about 50 participants was brought together by the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee, a long-established entity that deals with safety and training concerns related to manufacturing. The committee, which meets monthly, includes security, physical production and labor relations officials from Seg-Eftra, the DGA and IATSE’s main studio and union representatives.
In the eyes of some studio executives, the reproduction recovery required by Epidemic Lockdown is a natural moment to take a hard look at Hollywood’s production protocols. There is a feeling among many senior executives that crew sizes are much larger and that technology can enable crews to do more with less.
Unions, on the other hand, want to ensure the safety of their members. And they want to protect against employers taking advantage of social and economic chaos to reduce jobs.
The draft white paper paints a picture of a work environment with the dramatic changes required by the coronavirus outbreak. Among the new rules for TV and film production on the soundstage and location, a designated COVID-19 safety monitor will probably always be present and will include some form of daily health check-up. Two to three days before the start of filming, everyone involved in a production has to be tested for COVID-19 through a nasal swab.
Daily temperature checks and glove use are not recommended. The report states: “The logistical / operational aspects of temperature screening are complex, and the benefits are unlikely to be effective for the effort.”
All participants in a production, including animal trainers, should complete COVID-19 safety training before production begins.
The work day will be interrupted by regular cleaning and wipe-down of sets and equipment. Large groups of people will be served lazy food so that they do not eat together. Buffet lines for craft services allow cast and crew members to choose individually wrapped food or portions.
The White Paper recommends a break in the production of certain types of unwritten shows and document-series until the COVID-19 threat is reduced. The draft states, “Schedule the shooting of certain live shows and competition events where crews must follow competitors near unregulated areas and communicate with the public,” the draft said.
The draft suggests that creatives would be encouraged to reduce the use of actors under the age of 18 and reduce the need for sex scenes, fight scenes and other intimate-contact sequences. Before shooting any intimate or combat scenes, the actors and stunt performers involved should be tested for COVID-19 again 48 hours before the start of filming.
Sources insisted that the white paper, which received a copy Diversity, Still in draft form and subject to revision of key components.
Other notable recommendations in the preliminary report include:
** Productions that require extensive travel should be considered charter flights instead of commercial ones.
** For longer shoots, builders should consider renting apartments instead of having cast and crew in hotels to reduce interaction with the public.
** Paper usage should be minimized as much as possible, meaning scripts, call sheets and other paperwork should be handled as electronically as possible.
** Use of small cash is discouraged.
** The staff gathered around the video village area should be confined to the Director, DP and Script Supervisor as much as possible.
** Makeup kits should be nominated for individual cast members.
** Actors should be encouraged to do their own hair and makeup as much as possible.
** When shooting outdoors, producers need to have adequate tents or other covered space so that the cast and crew can stay six feet away if they need quick shelter for rain or other conditions.