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'Too much money at stake': Extended production in Los Angeles is improbably halted

‘Too much money at stake’: Extended production in Los Angeles is improbably halted

The COVID-19 numbers in Los Angeles County are dire, and hospital beds remain alarmingly low, prompting Hollywood to delay when most of the Los Angeles-based TV shows return to production. At this point, most of the major studios – including CBS TV Studios and Warner Bros. TV, Universal TV, and Netflix from Monday – to return to work in mid-January.

But while rates of positive cases across the county are more bleak than ever, with 10,000 new cases of COVID-19 approaching or exceeding daily, the current content of the conversation across the city appears to be less focused on the full, spring-like lockdown. 2020 and more focused on assessing the situation cautiously on a daily basis.

“The lockers are bare and there is a lot of money at stake,” said one TV producer, who wished to remain anonymous. “We somehow convinced ourselves that we could do it safely. Are we doing it safe? We are motivated to believe that we are. So I think everyone will continue to take calculated risks.”

He noted, like many others in the industry, that strict safety measures have been implemented at a set point in time, regardless of the impact of demonstrating budgets. The protocols that have emerged over the past 10 months include routine crew and crew testing, COVID compliance officers, continuous masks in group wear, and designated areas to regulate contact, among others.

The past year has provided the entertainment industry with time to test and improve safety rules with a measure of comfort and confidence, although that has in no way eliminated the risks of contracting with Corona Virus On set. Mythic Mission: The Raven Banquet, Mr. Mayor, Lucifer, and Young Sheldon Some TV series that have recorded positive cases of COVID-19 In double digits, Such as variety I mentioned earlier.

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The producer added, “It doesn’t mean we should continue shooting, but at least there is that.”

On the agency’s side, suspending production this time does not lead to the same kind of anxiety caused by the shutdown that lasted initial months at the start of the pandemic.

According to the many talented and luminous actors they spoke to variety, The current situation looks like a flash on the radar. They said extending the one-week hiatus for some shows is not likely to materially affect the workflow of those productions, and everyone fully expects that both the cast and crew will receive their regular paychecks. In their view, the studios’ move is an effort to ease public concerns as production continues, given that the studios have invested millions in protecting COVID over the past year.

The only way they see things changing is for the unions and the unions to intervene in an important way; If labor groups formally call for a complete shutdown of physical production, the studios will have no choice but to comply. From an agencies’ point of view, it looks like there is almost no scenario in which it would shut down entirely and risk once again losing jobs and revenue.

On Sunday, SAG-AFTRA, the American Producers Guild and the Common Policy Committee issued a joint statement Recommend a temporary suspension of production“Patients are dying in ambulances waiting for treatment because hospital emergency rooms are overcrowded. This is not a safe environment for personal production at this time,” SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris assured.

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David White, SAG-AFTRA National CEO said variety On Monday that so far, the COVID measures in place are working but the Federation continues to monitor the evolving situation closely.

“We are monitoring the situation constantly and so far, our safety protocols are effective,” White said. However, assessment of the environment in which production occurs, including data points such as hospital capacity and sudden increases in local infection rate, is also critical. As everyone knows, at this time, we are all extremely concerned about these environmental factors. “

Netflix is ​​the latest studio to postpone their return to work date to fewer than a dozen shows filmed in Southern California until mid-January. (Filming on “Dear White People,” a Lionsgate show for Netflix, was suspended for an additional eight days.) CBS Studios was the first to make the decision, On December 29, to pause production after the regular holiday period, which was to end on January 4, and other major studios soon followed.

While industry insiders say minor adjustments may be made to schedules or production schedules, they largely do not anticipate the months-long shutdown that brought the city to a standstill during the spring and summer of 2020. The balance between keeping entertainment workers safe And preserved. Hiring them is risky.

“We want the industry to thrive,” White said. “We want the members to be able to provide food for their families.”