EP NowStoreAcademySupportProduction LotProducts by Country
Newsroom Home

British Production Sector Moves Forward Gingerly as Filming Resumes

British government gives the green light for film and TV production to resume, but how can this be done safely?
June 17, 2020

As seen on Variety

Earlier this month, the British government gave the greenlight to film and TV production to resume, but how can this be done safely?

During a panel discussion on Wednesday, moderated by Joseph Chianese, executive VP at consultancy Entertainment Partners, three prominent figures in the British production sector spoke about how the industry is figuring out how to implement the guidelines issued by the British Film Commission, “Working Safely During COVID-19 in Film and High-end TV Drama Production.”

Jamie Christopher, a first assistant director on movies such as Marvel’s “Black Widow,” urged “patience” as the guidelines were put in place and he cautioned against any complacency.

“The biggest changes I see coming are in the amount of crew and cast on set and the balance of what that will be and still maintaining an efficient workplace,” he said.

“Another massive challenge will be maintaining these guidelines [until a vaccine arrives],” he said. “We can all be led into a false sense of security once it’s all working.”

Matt Spooner, a production safety consultant whose recent credits include “Mission: Impossible 7” and James Bond movie “No Time to Die,” said that the changes amounted to “an enormous structural change.” He said the greatest challenge would be “gaining crew confidence” that they “are going to be safe in this environment.”

Samantha Perahia, head of production at the British Film Commission, said the BFC’s guidance “is a living thing – it is a live document,” as it would be constantly updated. For example, further guidance on hair and makeup would be added soon.

The guidance for the public around “mass gatherings,” she said, did not apply to the production sector, and that the BFC’s guidelines had been “created specifically for our industry.” That said, the core things for people to remember is social distancing as well as the regular washing of hands.

Spooner said that the biggest focus was around training and “empowering the crew” to allow them to “make the right decisions.” He said a middle tier of management would then need to support the crew and to “make judgements” regarding how procedures are implemented, and what “risks are acceptable.”

Christopher said that implementing the guidelines would be led by a “COVID manager” – a new role that has been introduced by Disney – who would “concentrate on everything COVID.” There would also be a supervisor working alongside this person.

That said, Christopher underscored the point that it would be about “teamwork” and that communicating the guidelines was key. He added that he was finding that “the crew themselves and the heads of department are also wanting to be extra cautious.”

Testing would be key, he said, and if someone was found to be suffering from COVID there would be “isolation areas” where they would be moved to, and bespoke transport would be on hand to take them home or to hospital. He added it was important to “keep everyone calm” in such a scenario, and not have a “knee-jerk reaction,” leading to a production being shut down.

Spooner said he thought a COVID “compliance officer” would need to have a health and safety background and would need a management background as well. “You are going to be launched into a situation that could be very emotionally charged. It could be complexed. You could be dealing with difficult matters within a department,” he said. They would also need “an understanding of budgeting and how to manage costs.”

Spooner spoke about the need for “resilience planning” and “scenario planning” to ensure the show could continue if a member of cast or crew, or an entire department, became sick. Having alternative stage space or an alternative location was also worth considering in case the first option was closed down. This would increase costs, but “it will save your bacon in the long run,” he said.

Christopher said that an approach adopted by Tyler Perry in Georgia with the crew confined to a compound during the shoot, rather than going home or traveling to accommodation off-site, was not desirable, in his view. “It is something I am very dubious about,” he said. “I question putting everyone in one basket.” He asked: “How do you police that?” People would “sneak home for the weekend.”

He added that his production was lucky to be based at Longcross Studios, where there weren’t any other productions, so there was no danger of “cross contamination.” “We can control our areas,” he said.

When discussing the costs associated with guarding against COVID, Perahia said that a key consideration when designing the guidelines was that it should be “scaleable” so lower budget productions would be able to implement the guidelines.

She added that the cost of COVID precautions should qualify for the U.K. tax relief. Insurance was also a key issue. “A lot of smart people are working on it,” she said. Regarding the U.K.’s 14-day quarantine period for those entering the country, she said they had applied for an exemption for the industry. She added that the BFC was looking to learn from other sectors, such as professional soccer, which is restarting this week, having implemented a rigorous testing and safety regime.

Ending on a positive point, Spooner said: “We can build back and we are going to build back better.”

Related Content

Cameraman filming outside in a field

HMRC Announces Changes to Claiming UK Creative Sector Tax Incentives

4/26/2024
What productions should know about the increased disclosure requirements under the UK's Audio-Visual...
More
Entertainment Partners Logo Thumbnail-square

NFTS and Entertainment Partners (EP) Establish Partnership to Support the Future of Film and Television Production

10/5/2023
By supporting the National Film and Television School through this new partnership, Entertainment Partners...
Newsroom-Advanced-Television-Logo-Thumbnail

NFTS, Entertainment Partners establish partnership

10/5/2023
EP the entertainment payroll and production technology company joins as a prominent new Patron of the...
British-Cinematographer-Logo-Thumbnail

NFTS and Entertainment Partners (EP) establish partnership

10/5/2023
The National Film and Television School (NFTS) announces a new partnership with Entertainment Partners...
Woman looking at a laptop

20 IR35 Terms Every Production Worker Should Know

5/28/2024
Find out how to apply the UK’s IR35 rules to your film and TV productions with this helpful overview.
Master Series Thumbnail–UK indie film tax credit

Boost Your Budget with the Independent Film Tax Credit

5/9/2024
Learn how to maximize UK incentive dollars with the new IFTC!
black and white filmmaker logo

Credits Where Credits Are Due

5/7/2024
Scott Macaulay looks at the state of film tax incentives in 2024.
Fully Focused-Thumbnail-480

Entertainment Partners and Fully Focused Partner to Support the Future of UK Production

5/7/2024
New partnership aims to foster the next generation of UK production professionals and break down barriers...

Spotlight: Lloyd Gunton, UK Tax Credit Expert

5/7/2024
Meet the creative sector tax expert helping EP clients from indies to major studios maximize incentives...
EP Blog-Bob Clarke-Mama Youth

Celebrating (Almost) 20 Years of MAMA Youth Project

4/17/2024
UK charity’s founder, Bob Clarke, shares how this unique initiative is breaking down barriers to...
Producer and actor standing on a film set

How to Prepare for an Audit: Tips for UK Productions

4/16/2024
Discover key strategies UK film and TV production companies can use to effectively prepare for an audit.
Topic: UK
More
Camera man and production crew on a film set

Curious About Co-productions? What Producers Need to Know.

4/9/2024
Discover the advantages, requirements, and strategies for successful co-productions in the film industry.
Entertainment Partners Logo Thumbnail-square

BSO and CMPA Launch New BSO-CMPA Black Producer Accelerator Program

4/2/2024
New Black Producer Accelerator Program focuses on increasing representation and supporting the career...
National Film and Television School

Entertainment Partners To Provide Funding For Future Assistant Directors And Floor Managers

3/28/2024
Two new scholarship opportunities are now available for those looking to train in the field of assistant...

Japan's Latest Film Tax Incentive Sets the Stage for Global Productions

3/13/2024
From Miyazaki to Godzilla, Japan is entering a cinematic renaissance and poised to attract international...

What Does the UK’s New Independent Film Tax Credit (IFTC) Mean for Productions?

3/7/2024
As the UK government strengthens its support for productions, find out what the latest changes to the...
Four panelists discuss co-production-square

Unlocking the Myths and Benefits of Co-Production

2/15/2024
Learn the difference between an official co-production and PSA, and how to leverage these opportunities to...
EP Newsroom-Thumbnail-PGGB

Million Youth Media Wins The Duke of Edinburgh Film & TV Inclusion Award 2024 at PGGB Talent Showcase

2/14/2024
The Duke of Edinburgh Film & TV Inclusion Award presented to Million Youth Media, an organisation offering...
Blue square with white letters and UK flag: Changes to UK Paternity Leave Regulations

Changes to UK Paternity Leave Regulations

1/19/2024
Effective March 8th, modified paternity leave to provide more flexibility for UK fathers.
Topic: Alerts
More

Do the Math: Production Accountant Shortage Equals New Hollywood Careers

1/17/2024
“Accounting is usually not the way in” to the film business, says Nancy Rae Stone of the California Film...
Big Ben, London

5 Things to Consider Before Transitioning to the UK’s New AVEC Regime

1/16/2024
A comprehensive overview to help determine if you should use the UK’s new incentive regime to fund your...

Production Incentives Update: December 2023

12/20/2023
Notable dates and modifications to production incentive programs in California, India and Spain.
Blue tile stating UK announces minimum wage updates

UK Government Announces Minimum Wage Updates

12/5/2023
National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates increase for 2024.
BBS-Radio-TV-logo

The Cathy Durant Show: Featuring John Hadity

11/9/2023
Cathy interviews guest, John Hadity, EVP of Incentive Operations who oversees the film financing...

Production Incentives Update: October 2023

10/26/2023
Learn about recent legislation changes boosting tax incentives in Colorado, Florida, Virginia and ...
Master Series Thumbnail Square UK Productions

UK Production: Sites, Services and Studios

10/20/2023
Learn about UK incentives, infrastructure and production innovation spanning from London to Wales,...

Entertainment Partners Makes Commitment to UK Production with Film & TV Partnership Programme

10/12/2023
Find out how EP is partnering with the leading UK training organisations to close the skills gap, increase...
Film crew on location filming outdoors

Production Incentives Update: September 2023

9/27/2023
Insights on recent changes to production incentive programs in D.C., Kentucky, Montana, Ohio and Ontario.
UK Right to Work Penalties to Triple in 2024

UK Right to Work Penalties to Triple in 2024

9/26/2023
Find out how your production can prepare for the increased penalties for employing a worker who doesn't...
Topic: Legal
More
EP Blog_SQUARE_Spread of UK Production

Outside of London: How the UK Production Industry Spread Beyond the Capital

9/21/2023
Film and TV production outside of London (OOL) is now an integral part of the UK, with world-class media...
Topic: UK
More
Expert Advice_Sam Collett

Spotlight: Sam Collett, UK Production Accounting and Incentives Expert

9/19/2023
Meet the Senior Partner at FLB Accountants, an Entertainment Partners company specializing in UK media and...
Master Series_UK Incentives Panel_Square

What's Changing in UK Production Incentives

9/15/2023
Learn about the recent changes to the UK Creative Sector Tax Credits and how they might impact your next...
EP Blog_SQUARE_UK cultural test

Understanding the UK Cultural Test

9/12/2023
Find out whether your film or TV show will pass the UK’s Cultural Test, a key step in qualifying for the...

Payroll & Finances

PayrollResidualsSmartStartSmartTimeProduction PortalEP On LocationSmartAccountingEP LiveSmartPOCASHétPayPaymaster Rate GuideEP ResidencyMoneypenny

Manage Multiple Productions

AssetHubSmartHub

Additional Services

Academy
Subscribe now

Be an industry insider with EP's
newsletters and alerts

LegalPrivacy NoticeSecurity
© 2024 Entertainment Partners. All rights reserved.