March 21, 2023


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Rules for resuming Los Angeles TV and film production – Variety

3 min read

Los Angeles County on Thursday issued regulations for the resumption of film and TV production phases.

The rules allow re-production as early as Friday, although in reality most are not expected to run until July or August.

County rules set strict guidelines for social distance in sets. It commands the use of cloth face covers by cast and crew, orders that only the necessary cast and crew should be given on the set, and instructs that actors should wash their hands before the scene.

Any prolonged physical contact – i.e. war scenes or sex scenes – is “discouraged” and actors are forced to “remain as silent as possible to avoid spreading the word.” Crowd scenes are also discouraged. Actors and musicians who cannot wear face masks during performances should keep eight legs apart.

The rules allow paid staff to serve as audience members – for example on talk shows or sitcoms – but order that they sit six feet away and limit listeners to 25% of available space. The rules further state that employees of the same group should be used as an audience throughout a production.

The rules further state that actors should apply their own makeup if possible. Craft service buffet is prohibited, and food service only needs to be served single.

In general, county rules are stricter than the entertainment industry’s “White Paper” issued last week. The white paper used language such as “whenever possible,” and “consider options,” while the words “must” and “must” were used in the county’s order.

Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Films, who served as industry representative on the county’s reopening task force, issued a statement calling the rule “an important step in bringing our industry back to work in Los Angeles County.”

“On behalf of all of us at NBC Universal, we thank the County Board of Supervisors and Mayor (Eric) Garcetti for their continued commitment to the economic recovery of our region, and for the tireless efforts of the County Public Health Department to help protect their health,” Langley said. Teams across the studios, production companies, guilds and unions from all walks of life have demonstrated innovation and creativity to bring film, television and digital production back to Los Angeles safely. “

Before resuming production, bottom-line unions must agree to a series of detailed protocols.

Another hurdle is whether productions will be able to take out insurance. Productions that are running in March, or were about to continue, should be able to resume under the old insurance policy. These policies – which prevent production due to “imminent dangers” and orders from “civil authorities” – should even bear some of the additional costs needed to make productions safer, said HB International’s director of entertainment, Md. Says Bob Jellen.

“If this is a blanket policy and they have coverage before COVID-19, they are going to start production and they should be covered for additional costs under the policy constraints,” Jellen said.

However, any new production – which did not take out insurance in early March – finds it difficult or impossible to obtain coverage for future COVID-19 shutdowns. This can make it difficult for individual filmmakers to finance the bank in particular and even disrupt production in some small studios.

Brian Kingman, managing director of Arthur J. Gallagher’s recreational practice, said, “Individuals will not be able to get funding or bonding. “Right now the insurance companies couldn’t figure it out.”

Some in the industry have called on Congress to create a federal backstop for virus coverage, which would allow insurers to resell policies that cover COVID-19 shutdowns. A bill has been introduced to do this, but no one is counting on what is happening soon.

“I don’t expect the government to come and provide some relief in the near future,” Jellen said.

SAG-AFTRA has advised members to sign a waiver exempting some production workers from COVD-19 infection. The union instructed its members not to sign.

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