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Locations shoots, end of May, how is it going?


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Shoots of some scale have started up again in the SF area, most of what I've heard about are large corporate type gigs with commercial style crews and resources (not entertainment productions).  I have not been one yet, so I'd love to get some bulletins from the front, from folks who are back doing similar scale shoots to what they were doing before the shutfdwn.  How is it going--what is working, what is not working?  What is the fear level on the job?  How cavalier are people being about all the precautions?

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I had my first few days of work since early March this past week. It was a multi day corporate interview job with some broll for a client I have worked for in the past. The crew was just myself and the dp. Production rented a large home for us to have multiple interview set up options and the ability for each of us to have our own restroom to use. Ample PPE was provided and outside on the porch of the home we had hand sanitizer along with masks for subjects to wear until we were ready to roll if they didn't have one. We had the producer on one laptop to interview along with the agency/client on a group zoom call to listen after each block of questions the producer would mute herself and then talk to the agency folks. Everyday when we were done someone would come clean the bathrooms and common areas of the home. The DP and I rotated waiting for them to finish to lock up this was all within our normal 10 hour day. Client provided us with $35 a day each of per diem for a walkaway lunch and to buy our own crafty since none was provided. 

Overall it was very enjoyable as we did not have anyone trying to micromanage us during shoot and were never rushed. This job would have normally been a full crew so I had to help the DP out more then usual but we had ample time to do so. 

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I had my first shooting project since Feb 17 on May 14-15. Commercials with a US Senator. I provided wireless paks and lavs all dissenfected with Hydrogen Peroxide and bundled into new ziplock bags.

 

I instructed her aid on how to place the lav, knowing i was going to mainly rely on my boom mic, and heard clothing rustle from the git go. After three takes of a walk and talk i couldnt stand it any longer and asked to rewire her myself. We were all wearing masks and she didnt object.

 

 No seperate toilets, no gloves provided. Seperate boxed lunches, bottled water, no crafty.  Day two was a 13 hour day with five locations.

 

The three producer/director/writer, flew in from the East coast. No grip, no gaffer. DP, AC and me sounding. Minimal lighing and we all chipped in.

0514201444_HDR.jpg

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Wow!! I read almost the whole document  ---  incredible amount of work went into this. If even half of these guidelines are put into practice, everything that we have been doing on sets will be dramatically affected. Many of the guidelines I believe will be impossible to implement. We're in for a wild ride I think when we cget back to work (well, not me actually since I'm, retired).

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Yes.  I have to say that it reads like something DPs would write.  I'm not ever part of big episodic shoots anymore, so I am not sure what their compliance could be, but the smaller sorts of gigs I do (have done so far) a lot of that stuff is probably not going to happen as written.  On small jobs so far the whole PPE+sanitize gear thing has been on the crew, and its been up to the crew to distance as they can.  I can tell you that the many quick conversations that often need to happen on a set where raising one's voice to the level needed to be understood thru a mask 6+ feet away would be uncool and counterproductive are still happening, but without the 6 ft away part....

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On 6/8/2020 at 7:07 AM, Jeff Wexler said:

Wow!! I read almost the whole document  ---  incredible amount of work went into this. If even half of these guidelines are put into practice, everything that we have been doing on sets will be dramatically affected. Many of the guidelines I believe will be impossible to implement. We're in for a wild ride I think when we cget back to work (well, not me actually since I'm, retired).

Yeah,  If productions follow all the rules laid out I can see that budgets will have to be modified to extend production to about 2 times the number of days used previously.  Also while they are trying to minimize contact between humans,  they are calling for a lot more work with all the sanitizing and isolation (crew distancing) which may require extensive additions to staffing requirements.  Sound crews that use to have to fight for the 3rd person may have to employ 2 or 3 utility positions just to keep serial interaction between humans limited.  (I.E. if you have to sanitize or wash your hands between each contact with talent and change masks after you touch them to eat or drink you may have to double up on crew otherwise the productivity will drop by a large percentage. By the time you  get everyone wired it will be lunch.  They are also calling for shorter days which seems like it would not be possible especially shooting on location where you may not have access 24//7 and the sanitizing crew will have to work over the set before anyone gets there and starts work.

 

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This is from an article written for a general audience (from the main newspaper/site for the San Francisco area) and focuses on waivers we might be given at restaurants, barbers, and the like. But perhaps worth a quick look. These paragraphs stuck out to me:

 

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Just because you sign a waiver, it doesn’t mean a business would be immune if there was a COVID-19 outbreak that could be traced back to one specific restaurant. If the customers can prove gross negligence, like the servers weren't wearing masks and there was no hand sanitizer, for example, the waiver may not do much good if challenged in court. If the restaurant took all the necessary precautions and the document was specific and worded properly, they may be waived of liability.

 

Liability attorney Richard C. Bell said these are the ways such cases are typically judged, but there have yet to be any examples we can point to. “This is going to be very interesting because we're in uncharted territory,” Bell said. “The courts have never ruled on this before.”

 

He said the wording in the waivers is extremely important, especially in California. The language used needs to be extremely specific about the virus and the circumstances, very easily understandable to anyone and have highly readable text (e.g. no small fonts).

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Rest of the article:

‘This isn’t Captain America's shield:’ What you need to know about COVID-19 liability waivers

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Los Angeles County is officially now able to resume Film and TV Production.   As long as they adhere to the guidelines put forth by the Health Dept.

https://covid19.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/HOO-Appendix-J-Reopening-Protocol-for-Music-Television-and-Film-Production.pdf

 

Each worker will receive this checklist/instruction booklet to inform them of what their responsibilities are.

 

Has anyone on this forum gotten a call back to work?   Just wondering how fast any type of Studio production will resume considering COVID-19 infections are still rising and at an all time high in Los Angeles County...  I understand Atlanta has already approved restarting in Georgia.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Been working all month on, from what I understand to be one of only a few features approved to film — Lots of sanitizer masks and distance. All day-players tested before arriving and receiving a phone call for a follow up interview of compliance.
Location in remote area with no confirmed cases. Crew of 3 or 4. 

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7 hours ago, NPZ said:

Been working all month on, from what I understand to be one of only a few features approved to film — Lots of sanitizer masks and distance. All day-players tested before arriving and receiving a phone call for a follow up interview of compliance.
Location in remote area with no confirmed cases. Crew of 3 or 4. 

Thanks for the check-in NPZ.   I haven't heard of any features or TV shows starting back up in Hollywood proper. Perhaps they are operating on the Down Low.

When you say Crew of 3 or 4 I assume you are referring to your Sound Crew and not the total crew.   It would be easy to slip under the radar with a total crew of 4 but only shows like Michael Moore documentary crews can get by with that small a crew.  And with new record infections showing up today and rates trending upward, I am afraid we are headed back into complete lockdown.

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