Hollywood moving forward with production slowly but safely

Phillip Palmer Image
Friday, September 11, 2020
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As Hollywood ramps up film and television production, studios and producers are coming up with creative solutions to make sure everyone comes back to work in a safe environment.

HOLLYWOOD (KABC) -- Hollywood is getting back to work. But how do you keep actors and crews safe? Studios and producers are coming up with creative solutions to get your favorite shows and movies back in business.

It's been a tough six months. Since the pandemic began, 77% of people in the entertainment business has lost 100% of their income. People on the tech side of film and animation and voiceover work were able to continue.

"I'm one of the fortunate few to keep working with the home studio and that has become the new normal where we are responsible entirely for not just the content but the production of it as well, so it was a learning curve," said actor Rick Pasqualone.

The learning curve extends to auditions as well. Actors are needing to get creative, and self-taping auditions, which had become common even before it became a necessity.

"Just the way the business was going, things have to be turned around more quickly and people were saying, 'it is pretty simple these days with a smart phone and a ring light,' you can do things that weren't even conceivable five years ago, let alone this year," said Pasqualone.

"I had my first commercial audition over Zoom which was a weird experience," said actor Michael Patrick McGill.

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McGill resumed shooting on the series "Shameless" this week, and says the producers are going above and beyond to ensure the safety of all involved.

"Regardless of whether the actors are working or not we're gonna be tested three times a week for the duration of the season," said McGill. "I know they've got lots of safety protocols in place to put not only the cast, but the rest of the crew at ease."

Because of requirements by public health order and agreements between the unions involved, they will work in shifts.

"They're gonna do a dry run with crew only to get a feel for things in the post-COVID shooting world, and then once that's satisfied and they feel good with that, then we'll start shooting," said McGill. "I've been jonesin' for six months to get back to work, so I'm feeling pretty good about it."

Numbers show Hollywood is progressing in the right direction.

"We've been told by the major producers of television to expect a large return at the end of this month and into October," said Paul Audler with LA Film.

From nothing for 3-4 months to about 44% of normal volume for this time of year... writers are also writing more scenes for outdoors more than they have in the past.

"Contrary to the norm, we're seeing more than half of our film permits are exclusively for outdoor work," said Audler. "I think that's the need to be distant and safe in those environments."

Film LA is getting inquiries from other parts of the country; at least two films originally set to shoot in New York, will come here to L.A.

"New York is just sort of getting ready to reopen to filming and they have incredible levels of restriction that are gonna make it very tough," said Audler. "Our public health department spent a lot of time learning about the film industry and how it works... and how it can work in a COVID environment and developed a faithful relationship with each other about how to move forward."