This week: Film guidelines were promised but didn’t come, layoffs in media, and more practical tips for shooting under quarantine. Brought to you from KitSplit, the online camera and gear rental marketplace.
No Production Guidelines from California
No new production guidelines were announced this week from Gov. Newsom in California. I was hopeful to hear a plan that would lead the way for the industry as a whole here in the US, but I guess we will have to wait. That being said, California did lift restrictions on retail shopping and religious gatherings up to 100 people, and New York started allowing public gatherings of up to 10 people. In New Jersey that number is 25. Just as I’m about to hit send, it was announced that New York City is on track to begin reopening June 8.
These eases on restrictions come as nearly 50,000 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the greater NY region over the past two weeks. That same NYTimes article also reports that weekly hospitalization rates are down 86%, from 20,000 to 2,800 per week–a great sign but still a high number.
There is growing criticism against Gov. Newsom claiming that California is moving too quickly, but this hasn’t changed official policy. Time will tell how this affects the proposed film production guidelines in development.
In spite of no official word from Hollywood, in France
film and audiovisual guilds as well as labor unions have finally agreed a set of production guidelines for filming during the pandemic.
staffing, transportation costs, testing, security (masks, gel, etc.) and cleaning protocols will drive up the budget by 15% and add an extra hour each day to the filming schedule.
The End of the Video Department
It’s incredibly sad to hear that in spite of a surge in subscriptions during the pandemic, The Atlantic announced that they are laying off 17% of their company, including the entire video department. Vice, Conde Nast, and others have also recently announced large cuts.
According to the NYTimes, 37,000 news media jobs have been affected by layoffs, furloughs, and paycuts. In that article, Joanne Lipman, a distinguished fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, is quoted as saying:
News organizations have never done a better job than they’re doing right now. Their news has never been more in demand. They’ve been doing everything right from a news perspective. And yet here we are with these layoffs.
Ain’t it the truth. We’re sending our love to everyone affected and wishing you the best.
The Doc Society and Filming In The Time of Corona
The Doc Society has created this living document outlining guidelines for independent documentary filmmaking during the pandemic. It is one of the better documents (if not the best) I’ve seen outlining how to approach shooting at this time. It outlines a 3 step approach to determining whether or not to shoot:
1) THE BIG QUESTION: Should I be filming?
The document helps you answer this question and helps you assess whether or not you should even film. If the answer is yes, you can go ahead with:
2) THE RISK ASSESMENT: what are the consequences of going ahead?
There is a thorough checklist to help you step through legal, insurance, and practical considerations of moving forward with your shoot.
3) CORONA PROTOCOLS: What’s the safest way to organize the shoot?
Last, the document provides a list of issues to consider regarding the shoot itself. Going through the list should help you develop and understand the details required for you to shoot safely.
I highly recommend reading the entire document. You can find it here.
Our friends over at Seed & Spark have a couple upcoming virtual events. Today in a few hours is Finished in Four— A 4-Week Screenwriting Challenge with Academy Award-winner John Ridley (12 Years A Slave). Coming up on June 12 is Pitching TV in The Pandemic (and Beyond!) with showrunner Annabel Oakes and Paramount’s VP of Development Richard Gold.
Film distributor NEON has launched virtual screenings of select films, including the quarantine-appropriate Spaceship Earth, with half of all proceeds going to arts & cultural businesses impacted by Covid.
Here, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, The Tribeca Film Institute is shuttering operations. RIP and best of luck to the folks affected by this.
Sierra Pettengill, in her wonderful essay for Screen Slate, describes the film Mimi, writing that it “shows the ways that memories and places imprint on one another, and how the present tense can’t always manage the weight of the past.” You can watch it now as a part of Criterion Channel’s “Tell me: Women Filmmakers, Women’s Stories” curated by Nellie Killian.
How they made the pen float in 2001: A Space Odyssey
‘Milli Violini’: I was a fake violinist in a world-class miming orchestra
See you next week.