Shorter shooting days will lead to longer shooting schedules; casts and crews will be put in quarantine; there will be added breaks for temperature checks and accurate COVID testing; there will be more extensive visual effects where extras once stood; newly trained personnel dedicated to health and safety will need to be hired; medical-grade cleaning equipment and PPE — and insurance if producers are lucky enough to secure it — will balloon the hard costs of production.
Variety spoke with dozens of studio executives, producers, directors, actors and below-the-line artisans in the U.S., Canada and Europe about what the new normal on set might look like as productions begin to start up again. While everyone’s working on some kind of plan, most (at least, in North America) are not actually proceeding until the impending release of highly anticipated guidelines spearheaded by the AMPTP [Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers], which is based on input from studios, epidemiologists and public health officials, as well as sensitive negotiations with the various trade unions.
What’s emerged is a moving target that no one quite has a full grasp of but everyone understands is heading in only one direction: The costs of production, already sky-high, are going to get even higher.
Extras on $et: Inside Tinseltown’s Pricey Plans to Restart Production