News & InfoEP StoreAcademySupportCommunityProducts 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

contracting-in-a-covid-19-world-LC

Contracting in a COVID-19 World  

5/3/2022
The pandemic has affected how UK production companies contract crew. Here’s how to reduce the impact of...
Topic: COVID-19
More
EP Blog-proud to support-square

Proud to Support: Celebrating Client Nominations at the 94th Academy Awards

3/22/2022
A look at the evolution of the Oscars and the notable films powered by Entertainment Partners technology.

Film Commission Report Highlights Covid Costs as Production Ramps Up

12/6/2021
Covid-compliance measures impact production budgets, estimating $90 million or more
Los Angeles Times logo-sq

Explaining Hollywood: How to get a job as a production accountant

8/10/2022
Mark Goldstein speaks to the LA Times about the high demand for production accountants
Compliant crew contracting panel-square

Compliant Crew Contracting in the UK

8/1/2022
Learn how to ensure your crew contracts are compliant with UK regulations and why the Production Portal is...
Topic: UK
Watch

Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Festival 2022 Winners Include ‘Please Baby Please,’ ‘Mars One’

7/27/2022
‘Please Baby Please’ and ‘Mars One’ among winners of the 40th Anniversary Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film...
Blue graphic with map of UK and title ICO penalty following ransomware attack

ICO issues £98,000 penalty following ransomware attack

7/13/2022
Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) imposed penalty on a leading UK law firm for breaching the UK...
Topic: UK
More
Cabinet Office fined for disclosing addresses

Cabinet Office Fined £500,000 for Disclosing Addresses of High-Profile Individuals

7/9/2022
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined the Cabinet Office £500,000 for accidentally...
Topic: UK
More
Blue graphic with map of UK and title ICO fines charity for GDPR breach

ICO Fines Charity £10,000 for UK GDPR Breach

7/9/2022
According to the ICO, the charity failed to apply appropriate organizational and technical security...
Topic: UK
More
EP Blog_SQUARE_filmmaking in new mexico

Forging the Future of Filmmaking in New Mexico

6/29/2022
As the film industry expands in the Southwest, New Mexico leads the region as top destination thanks to...
EP Blog_SQUARE-Pitching Reality Tv-2

Pitching and Financing Unscripted Television

6/7/2022
Ready to sell your big idea for a reality TV program? This guide will help prepare you for the road ahead.
AMPTP and  Unions Update  the Industry  Return-to-Work  Agreement

AMPTP and Unions Update the Industry Return-to-Work Agreement

5/25/2022
AMPTP and industry unions revised the Return-to-Work Agreement, effective May 1, 2022
EP Blog-World Revenues-2

The Beginner's Guide to World Revenues, Foreign Sales, and Senior Debt

5/17/2022
Learn how shopping your project around the world to secure funding commitments for distribution rights can...
EP Blog_SQUARE_Fighting Hollywood Stereotypes-TTEI

Fighting Stereotypes and Rethinking Representation

5/10/2022
How TTIE is advancing authentic storytelling in Hollywood by empowering historically excluded writers and...
uk-gdpr-compliance-for-productions

UK GDPR Compliance for Productions: Q&A with Sheridans

5/4/2022
Special category data, liability, data transfers and reporting - Sheridans answer your questions on the UK...
Topic: UK
More
terms-to-include-uk-contracts-LC

Terms to Include in UK Crew Contracts

5/3/2022
Common terms which studios and production companies include in their UK crew contracts.
Topic: UK
More
uk-gdpr-and-how-productions-reduce-exposure-LC

The UK GDPR and how Productions can Reduce their Exposure - Q&A with Sheridans

5/3/2022
Sheridans’ Associate Krishan Neelendra answers key UK GDPR questions from production companies and...
Topic: UK
More
KJ Lamb and Simon Donovan

Empowering the Next Wave of Production Accountants

5/2/2022
The EP Production Portal team was delighted to participate in the biannual Netflix Assistant Production...
cell phone with sticky note stating sign here

Six e-Consent Myths (and Why They’re Not True)

5/2/2022
Sheridans Associate, Sarmad Saleh, debunks some common e-consent myths.
Topic: Legal
More
six-elements-for-uk-contracts-LC

Six Elements for Enforceable UK Crew Contracts

5/2/2022
Although parties to a crew contract can largely enter into whatever terms they choose, certain elements...
Topic: UK
More

Producing with Purpose

4/27/2022
Creative Producer, Kimberly Goodman ('Selling Sunset', 'Project Runway') shares insights on creating...
recycling conversation

Sustainability in Production: Q&A with Nikki Saunders

4/22/2022
Nikki Saunders on sustainable filming practices, COVID-19, and why carbon offsetting isn’t a...
Master Series Panel-Solving the crew shortage

Solving the Crew Shortage

4/13/2022
Learn how EP Academy, the Georgia Film Academy, Reel Works, the New Mexico Film Office, and others, are...
EP Newsroom-Thumbnail-480-the olympian

More Movies Could Soon be Filmed in WA as Inslee OKs Film Incentives Passed by Legislature

4/5/2022
The law will provide tax breaks for filmmakers looking to make movies in Washington

Georgia Proposes Capping and Prohibiting Sale of Film Tax Credits

3/30/2022
The changes, if signed into law, would cap the amount Georgia hands out in film and TV tax credits at $900...
EP Newsroom-Thumbnail-Portland Business Journal

How Oregon’s updated film incentive law could boost the local economy

3/29/2022
A new Oregon film and media incentive law could draw more movie productions to the state.
International Film Financing panel-featured

Film Financing Explained: International Financing

3/10/2022
International production experts discuss how producers can utilize financing systems outside of the US,...

Russian Invasion Hits Ukrainian Production Industry Just Starting to Go International

2/24/2022
"Ukraine was just starting to open up to the world, now everything has closed up again."
EP Blog_Uncovering Treasures_IndieCollect

Uncovering Lost Treasures of Independent Film

2/23/2022
How IndieCollect is preserving Black independent films to reflect a more honest view of America and of...
Crew contracting in the UK-panel

Quick and Compliant Crew Contracting in the UK

2/9/2022
Neisha Glynternick and Sarmad Saleh from UK-based entertainment law firm Sheridans discuss crew...
Topic: Legal
Watch
Site Selection Magazine logo-sq

The Stage is Set

2/8/2022
Puerto Rico Beckons to Film & TV Production Industry
New York City Requires Paid Time Off for Parents/Guardians to Vaccinate Kids Against COVID-19

New York City Requires Paid Time Off for Parents/Guardians to Vaccinate Kids Against COVID-19

2/4/2022
New York City enacted a new law that requires employers to provide four hours of paid leave to employees...
California Updates Requirements for COVID-19 Exposure Notification and Reporting Requirements at the Workplace

California Updates Requirements for COVID-19 Exposure Notification and Reporting Requirements at the Workplace

2/4/2022
On October 5, 2021, California enacted AB 654, which immediately updated the COVID-19 exposure...
Cal/OSHA Readopts Emergency Temporary Standards, Effective January 14, 2022

Cal/OSHA Readopts Emergency Temporary Standards, Effective January 14, 2022

2/4/2022
While the readopted ETS still incorporates a myriad of the same safety protocols that appeared in the...
New York City Vaccine Mandate on Private Employers

New York City Vaccine Mandate on Private Employers

2/3/2022
Effective December 27, 2021, New York City implemented a new mandate on private employers to require all...
EP BLOG_Gucci

How Costumes, Hair, and Makeup Tell the 'House of Gucci' Story

12/28/2021
Talented production crew leaders Marco Alzari, Federica Castelli, Stefania Pellegrini, and Romina Ronzani...
New York City Imposes Mandatory Vaccination Requirement On Private Employers

New York City Imposes Mandatory Vaccination Requirement On Private Employers

12/22/2021
Starting December 27, 2021, workers in New York City must provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to...
2022 Budgeting-sq

Budgeting for 2022: A Production Accountant's Guide

12/15/2021
EP's Payroll Tax, Production Incentives, and Business Development experts explain how inflation,...
Master Series: Budgeting for 2022-1

Budgeting for 2022: What Productions Need to Know

12/10/2021
From unemployment taxes and worker's compensation to the price of labor and materials, production costs...

Payroll & Finances

PayrollResidualsSmartStartNew SmartTimeProduction PortalEP On LocationSmartAccountingEP LiveSmartPOCASHétPayPaymaster Rate GuideEP Residency

Manage Multiple Productions

AssetHubSmartHubSmartHub Vault
Subscribe now

Be an industry insider with EP's
newsletters and alerts

LegalPrivacy NoticeSecurity
© 2022 Entertainment Partners. All rights reserved.