A Joint Report of the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and Teamsters’ Committees for COVID-19 Safety Guidelines
Monday, June 15th, 1:12 pm
A Joint Report of the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and Teamsters’ Committees for COVID-19 Safety Guidelines
This document represents what we believe to be a path for employers to provide a safer workplace for their cast and crew members in a pre-vaccine COVID-19 world. Taking action based upon these guidelines is an essential and necessary element of any such return to work.
This document was conceived and initially drafted by a DGA committee of working members, based upon close consultation with infectious disease epidemiologists and other experts including W. Ian Lipkin, Larry Brilliant and Baruch Fischoff. SAG-AFTRA was simultaneously but independently working on its own protocols through its President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Safety, its staff, and expert consultants including Jonathan Fielding, Mark Katchen, and Monona Rossol. IATSE was also engaged in a similar process with experts including Letitia Davis, Gregory R. Wagner and David H Wegman.
SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the Teamsters all subsequently joined with the DGA in the effort to create this document.
These guidelines follow the Industry White Paper, developed by the Industry-Wide Labor- Management Safety Committee Task Force,1 that was recently delivered to the Governors
of New York and California. While that White Paper offered a foundation for the appropriate state agencies to examine the resumption of production and provides guidance employers must follow to provide a safe working environment, it expressly provided that the specific protocols regarding mandatory testing, personal protective equipment, and department- specific procedures would be the subject of further discussions and agreement between the producers and the unions. These guidelines are our recommendations with respect to testing and department-specific protocols related to employees represented by DGA, SAG- AFTRA, IATSE, Teamsters and the Basic Crafts (the “Unions”).
Not surprisingly, there’s been a wealth of smart and detailed work done by members of the industry all over the world on possible pre-vaccine safety guidelines. Some of that work is summarized and/or incorporated in Parts Three and Four of this document (by the way, if someone out there recognizes their work in these documents, THANK YOU VERY MUCH). What we are trying to describe and contribute is an organizing principle, an overlay; the granular detail that lies beneath can be tailored to each production.
1 The task force consists of representatives from the DGA, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Basic Crafts, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
PART ONE – GUIDELINES FOR A SAFE SET IN THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENT
The Unions’ members’ strong desire to return to work is obvious but comes with a question: Can it be done safely? As we contemplate and plan for resuming production, there are some important facts to keep in mind:
First, this is a truly dangerous, easily transmitted disease;
Second, scientists have learned in the early months of this novel virus that
it spreads in an uneven way, and many outbreaks have been traced back to “events and places” like markets, community gatherings, and musical events, which represent outbreaks that could have been prevented by planning with best practices. Given these facts, a working film set provides an exceptional opportunity for virus spread. (The “set” can also include any work space or place that a cast or crew member may be performing work);
Third, we still don’t know whether antibodies confer immunity, and if so, at what threshold and for how long (along with questions about the antibody tests themselves); and
Fourth, the nucleic acid tests are also challenging—false negatives endanger lives and false positives slow production.
Given these facts, and without a working vaccine, how does one mitigate the risk of people getting sick when they are violating every physical distancing guideline for hours on end, for weeks at a time? As you might imagine, it ultimately comes down to testing. A lot of testing.
TESTING IS THE CORNERSTONE
We believe strategic testing for the presence of COVID-19 is critical for a safe return to work. Without such testing, the entire cast and crew would be asked to work each day in an environment of unknown risk; a single confirmed case would lead to a quarantining of all who came into close contact with that person. This could potentially lead to shooting delays, and—should that person be a key actor/performer or director—to production shutdowns, not to mention the real possibility of illness and death. Our belief in regular, consistent testing is based on the best available public health science. The modeling in Part Two clearly shows how testing is the most effective option in preventing infection during production.
THE ZONE SYSTEM
The Zone System is the foundation of our safe set strategy. It is step one. All subsequent production decisions regarding safety should be engineered to fit its premise.
It proposes this: Production will consist of three ZONES: A, B, and C. Consistency in the terminology in this area could be helpful and reassuring to cast and crew.
Zone A is any perimeter within which activity occurs without physical distancing or the use of PPE. In most cases, this will mean performers working on set with no protection alongside crew. Zone A is a bubble encasing closely vetted vulnerable people. It can be as small or as large as necessary, can function only for a few hours if need be, and can include controlled points of access between different Zone As. It can also exist within a Zone B (and often will, if your set is on a stage with production offices).
Zone B is everywhere the production has a footprint that is not Zone A. Use
of PPE and stringent physical distancing practices are observed and enforced within Zone B, with variations and modifications specific to both general filmmaking demands and specific production needs. This could be a production office, base camp, a vehicle, a control room/truck, basically any work space or place that a crew member may
be performing work. Again, the goal is that people cleared to work in Zone A ONLY come into contact with people in Zone B who are rigorously practicing physical distancing. Think of it this way: from door to door, people working in Zone A travel along a cocooned path— sometimes involving multiple Zone As—laid out and controlled by people working in Zone B.
Zone C is the outside world: homes, hotels, wherever people employed in the production go when they’re not working.
No one can be allowed access to Zone A or Zone B for the first time unless
they have been tested and cleared within the last 24 hours. The reason is simple: People often begin to shed the virus before they’re symptomatic, and there have been no indications to date an infected person is shedding virus in less than 48 hours from initial virus exposure. (An argument for testing twice is that a false negative test, whether due to inadequate sampling or a technical error, could have devastating effects on a production.) Going forward from that initial test, there are several potential testing scenarios, with varying degrees of risk attached. We have modeled a series of these scenarios, ranging from
no testing at all (for those who think such a thing is an option) to testing every day. The
risks associated with each of these scenarios are discussed in detail in Part Two, and the modeling shows a clear variance between testing once a week and testing three times a week (the latter being safer). For this reason, Zone A personnel should be tested three times a week at a minimum, with the understanding that certain circumstances may require daily testing (such as performers and crew involved in production
of scenes that require close or intimate contact, or extreme exertion, etc.). Turnaround time for testing, which can range from hours to days, will be a key factor in determining when and how often tests are administered.
People working in Zone B are tested at least once a week, preferably on a Monday or Tuesday, but they too will have been tested and cleared prior to entering Zone B for the first time. Again, they adhere to strict physical distancing guidelines and use PPE at all times. Also, no one can be instantly “bumped” from Zone B to be permitted to enter Zone A; they would have to be tested and cleared 24 hours before entering Zone A.
Generally speaking, by staggering tests and tailoring them to each cast and crew member’s work obligations, a sourcing bottleneck and long testing lines at the end of a wrap day can be avoided.
To anticipate a question: if traveling by plane, cast and crew members must be tested and cleared within 24 hours of the flight. They will be tested and cleared again before entering Zone B or Zone A for the first time.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, enters through the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, and eyes. Accordingly, these surfaces must be protected by PPE. We consider N95 masks (subject to their availability) and either goggles or a face shield to
be the best available standard, while acknowledging face shields may make some jobs awkward or impossible to perform. Surgical masks, while not ideal, are still better than nothing for people who cannot wear N95 masks because of sizing or grooming issues. A reminder: a proper testing program shows you’re not spreading the virus; it doesn’t mean you can’t get the virus. For this reason, we support crew cleared for Zone A to use PPE as an added precaution until the evolving science provides more clarity.
For particularly close physical encounters between actors/performers, it is possible to implement a rapid CEPHEID test that can be completed on site in less than 60 minutes. These tests will also help the producer respond to (what we hope will be) the rare instance where the company needs to bring people from Zone B to Zone A without the usual prescreening procedure.
Like we said, it’s a lot of testing, and it still doesn’t guarantee a virus-free set (and people who are at high risk from COVID-19 should be made aware of the limitations of any plan). What the Zone System tries to limit is the possibility that someone contracts COVID-19 while at work, but it should be understood that as long as the cast and crew are going home at night and on the weekends, they are open to contagion, which is what all the testing is for. With the Zone System and regular testing, an employer will have put in place a robust system to significantly mitigate risk on set.
It is also recommended that all employees maintain up-to-date status with influenza, pneumococcal and pertussis immunizations to reduce possibility of misdiagnosis.
While we support the use of temperature monitoring, it is neither sensitive nor specific. First, someone could be running a temperature for any number of reasons; second, many people shed the virus and are infectious before they become febrile; and third, temperature testing has historically led to a false sense of security.
It’s important to remember that performers are the most vulnerable people on the set. While it’s terrible we’re surrounded by a lethal, highly transmissible virus, that is our current reality, and unless all stories in a pre-vaccine world portray every character wearing PPE and standing six feet apart behind plexiglass, the Zone System is how we believe we can stay as safe as possible.
AND THIS WILL WORK HOW, EXACTLY?
We fully understand and acknowledge the practical and perceptual implications of the Zone System.
On a practical level, sourcing the tests, the personnel, and the equipment at any sort
of scale will be an enormous task, not to mention the interactions with multiple city and state agencies regarding coordination and waivers. Fortunately, our expert consultants believe testing scarcity will be resolved in the near future, which would address the primary question of testing availability.
Also, this is an industry with a long history of solving logistical problems creatively; why not use those powers to work back from a starting point of maximum safety?
Perception will play a significant role in any proposed safety plan, and we cannot be viewed as poaching supplies and personnel from the public sector during a time of perceived testing and resource scarcity. This issue will require continual close attention to ensure the results of our approach are objectively transparent and perception is aligned with reality.
The volume of testing required will prompt a deeply critical analysis of who really needs to be in Zone A and how often. Think about it this way: who really needs to be within six feet of an unprotected performer as part of a normal workday?
There are currently several apps available to monitor cast and crew testing status, along with contact tracing capability in the case of a confirmed positive test. Also, we have verified an easy-to-use app could be developed based on factors used to create the models in Part Two to allow each production to assess its risk regarding COVID-19 exposure and test accordingly.
At present we are recommending nasopharyngeal testing because it is the gold standard for sensitivity. We are nonetheless closely tracking developments in saliva and anterior nares testing for COVID-19. In the event that these less invasive methods are proven to be as reliable as nasopharyngeal testing we would adjust our sampling strategy accordingly.
These protocols would necessitate the creation of a Health and Safety Unit solely dedicated to their execution. This unit would be supervised by qualified professionals and technicians in the requisite field to ensure compliance and accuracy.
We believe the approach outlined herein provides a vigorous set of protections under current conditions to have a safe set. What we are in the dark about is the real-world emotional effect on the cast and crew. Early projects that share information transparently will provide key, live data in a timely, public fashion, so the entire industry can take advantage of the real-world knowledge being accumulated. Of particular value will be contemporaneous how-to postings that illustrate the myriad ways cast and crew are adapting to our new way of working. Success in a safer return to work will also depend on cast and crew being willing and able to engage in good safety practices when at home and in areas throughout Zone C.
Part Three of this report, A VIRTUAL TOUR THROUGH THE ZONE SYSTEM, gives examples of how this approach would work and what it would require in a much more specific way.
Also, except for Part Two, this is not a static document; it will likely never be “finished.” We intend for it to be improved by the industry as production resumes. Occasionally, you will see questions—both practical and philosophical—asked aloud that have no solutions (yet). We felt they were important to retain for their contextual value (of particular interest is the effect on small-scale independent projects of the resources required to stay safe).
Remember that all things related to the virus will improve over time—better, faster, cheaper testing, a clear understanding of immunity, a drug that helps fight the virus, etc. The Zone System is a plan to get us started today. With it, we can move forward safely and learn a lot in the process.
PART TWO: TO TEST OR NOT TO TEST...IS NOT A QUESTION, IT TURNS OUT
Jeffrey Shaman of Columbia University modeled the effectiveness of various testing protocols. The key factors were: the community infection rate in the area contemplated for production, equal to the percentage of individuals with active infections; the community transmission rate, equal to the number of people infected by each newly infected individual (known as the R-naught, or R0); the number of daily crew members working in Zones A and B (100 was used for the models); the number of shooting days; and the accuracy
of available testing, measured in terms of sensitivity (the percentage of people with the disease who test positive) and specificity (the ability of the test to correctly identify those without the disease).
The community in this case is Zone C, the world to which cast and crew return each evening.
The model predicts the risk for a production in two ways. The first is the expected number of new infections during the shoot (on the left in the figures below). The second is the probability that there will be at least one new infection during the shoot (on the right in
the figures below). The first measure allows estimating the resources needed to deal with infections (e.g., health care, contact tracing). The second measure allows estimating the chance that a production will be shut down and attract negative publicity because someone tests positive.
Each model was run a hundred times with a randomizing element to mimic real-world x factors. We looked at four possible testing protocols:
Testing once per week
Testing three days per week
Testing every day (7 days per week)
We have run these analyses for various scenarios. The figures below show one set of scenarios. The bottom-line conclusions are similar for other scenarios.
The models assume a 30-day shoot, with 10-hour workdays, with 100 cast and crew working in LA County. We look at community infection rates from 0% to 0.35%, a plausible range over areas in the County, at various future times. We look at community transmission rates ranging from low enough that the disease is slowly dying out (R0 = 0.96) to high enough that it is exploding (R0=3.0). We assume a very accurate test (99% sensitive and specific) and a low transmission rate on set (R=0.96), given the many precautions taken to avoid it (PPE, etc.).2
2 These models can be run with alternative assumptions, regarding each element (e.g., shorter shoots, less sensitive or specific
tests). They provide a way of evaluating different ways of managing productions, in terms of costs and risks. They provide a basis
for communicating those risks to cast and crew, investors, management, and insurers. By way of illustration, we show analyses
informing one production decision: the length of the workday. 7
The figures on the left show the expected mean number of infections acquired on set during the 30-day shoot for the three scenarios. The color code gives the number of expected infections, ranging from 0 (blue) to 4 (yellow). For example, if the community infection rate
is 0.2% (x axis) and the community transmission rate is 2.0 (y axis), then we would expect 2 infections on set (medium green, in the column on the right).
The figures on the right show the probability of at least 1 infection acquired on set. With the same assumptions about community infection rate (0.2%) and community transmission rate (R0=2), there is about a 50% chance of at least one infection (light green on scale on the right).
The four figures in each column show the analyses for the different testing protocols. The text inserts give the story that the figures tell. With no testing (top figures), the shoot should expect at least one case, and likely more, unless conducted in an area (Zone C) where
the community infection and community transmission rates are low. With daily testing (bottom figure), the risk is very low in any Zone C. Weekly testing (second row) makes a big difference.
In layperson’s terms, deep blue is the desired result.
With no Testing there is a Much Higher Risk of Infection Acquired in Zone A
in Infections Acquired on Set with Testing Once Per Week
3 Times per Week there are Few Infections Acquired on Set
Effect: Virtually NO Infections Acquired on Set with Testing Every Day
Increased testing frequency reduces the risk of acquiring infection on set. Weekly testing makes an enormous difference, taking the risk from it being almost certain that if someone comes to the set with disease, additional cases of COVID-19 will occur on the set to a high chance of avoiding them. Testing every three days reduces the risk further
still. Daily testing largely eliminates it. We see the cost and logistics issues associated with testing coming down, to the point where such testing should not be prohibitive, by the time the productions are ready to begin.
Community infection and transmission rates make a big difference. If public health measures are successful, these rates will come down over time, reducing the need for testing; if those measures fail, the opposite will be true.
PART THREE: A VIRTUAL TOUR THROUGH THE
According to William of Ockham, in problem-solving, “Entities should not be multiplied without necessity.” In other words, don’t make things harder than they need to be.
That being said, the transition to safer production procedures requires a methodical approach, based on the best information from scientists as well as experienced production professionals. The responsibility for providing a safe workplace always rests with the employer, and we realize that employers may need to expand these protocols to ensure their effectiveness in particular applications. So, here are our protocols, in granular detail, with examples of how they might work in practice.
These protocols are for all types of sets and studios/stages including any work space or place that a crew member may be performing work that falls under the Unions’ jurisdiction, and are meant to be global for production, so alternate job titles are added in for clarity where appropriate. Additional protocols applicable to other settings (e.g. edit bays, sound houses, recording studios) will be released separately.
The following assumptions, some of which we have discussed in the first section, form the foundation of our recommended approach:
There will be regular testing of the cast and all crew involved in the day’s work and over time it is expected that tests are being developed that will become less and less intrusive.
Testing is not infallible. Thus, physical and social controls will be essential to ensuring a safe work environment.
The Zone System will be in place, carefully guarding against contact between those in the main company and other untested individuals.
There will be closed sets so that only those people required to be in proximity of the filming will be present.
There will be a health safety team in a discrete unit to oversee the production process.
Strict physical distancing guidelines and the use of appropriate PPE at all times will be in effect except where not possible due to on-camera performance or
in circumstances where the individual’s job function does not allow for physical distancing, in which case appropriate PPE will be worn at all times.
There will be reduced shooting hours, preferably a 10-hour shooting day, to allow time for monitoring, cleaning and protocols that reduce transmission risk, and to keep the cast and crew well rested.
In the previous sections we have focused on testing and discussed the use of PPE, before we go much farther, let’s focus on the health safety unit.
THE HEALTH SAFETY TEAM
Executing the Zone System will require the creation of one new position and one new department. First, there will be a dedicated Health Safety Supervisor (referred to in the Industry White Paper as the “COVID-19 Compliance Officer”), and second, there will be a Health Safety Department, with a Manager and staff.
The Health Safety Supervisor (HSS) will be the final authority on COVID matters and cannot be overruled in their efforts and activities to enforce COVID-19- related safety practices. In other words, the HSS can hit the pause button on the production. The Unions and the Employers will work together to create criteria that ensure this key position is filled by individuals with the experience and knowledge commensurate with this high level of responsibility.
The Unions and Employers will work jointly to develop and provide industry-specific training for the HSS and the Health Safety Manager (HSM) as well as industry-specific COVID-19 training for workers. This training will include programs to accomplish the necessary training outlined in the Industry White Paper and its addendums. Also, an individual worker’s rights and responsibilities will be described, along with the benefits available to them should they be exposed to COVID-19. Occupational medicine and infectious disease professionals shall be available to the production for consultation and advice as well as updates of health and safety plans and oversight.
The Health Safety Supervisor (HSS) hires and coordinates the necessary COVID- related medical staff and is responsible for COVID-19-related health safety for the production. They have the authority to pause the production in event that a breach threatens the health of the cast or the crew.
The HSS would consult with the production on the hiring of the Hygiene Crew and the Security Unit (which we will describe shortly).
The HSS primarily works with the Producers, UPM (Line Producer or equivalent on multi-camera productions), 1st AD/Key SM, Department Heads and the Health Safety Manager (HSM).
The HSS is in charge of the testing process (assigning medical personnel to posts, gathering biological material for transport to the testing lab, collecting/maintaining all related paperwork), and is among the first recipients of the test results, which will be kept confidential except as permitted to be disclosed and used. The HSS will be responsible
for notification of positive COVID-19 test results to all individuals entitled to notification under these protocols.
The HSS ensures that all cast and crew complete a daily attestation form that screens for symptoms and potential exposure to individuals who may have symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
The HSS, with their team, monitors the cast, crew, catering and craft service for compliance with Zone protocols.
The HSS ensures that all sets, locations and workplaces are prepared for and managed during use which shall include an assessment of ventilation, air filtration and circulation, and the disinfecting of surfaces, property, equipment and tools.
The HSS also works with the HSM to coordinate placement of handwashing, sanitizing, and disinfection stations and any medical posts.
Along with the 1st AD/Key SM, the HSS gives instructions at the daily safety meetings. The HSS can ask the 1st AD/ Key SM to stop any time during the day for a meeting to give further or revised health safety instructions.
The HSS shall be provided with the resources and staffing necessary to oversee or to provide directly adequate, daily attention to the many exposure control activities. Examples of this include attention to ventilation (including the use
of foggers or atmosphere), PPE selection, fit-testing, and maintenance, and appropriate surface cleaning and disinfecting practices.
The premise is that whereas the HSS understands epidemiology, the Health Safety Manager understands production. Clearly this will be a close collaboration, but ultimately the Production will have to work back from what the HSS declares safe practices.
The DGA team and Department Heads will consult with the HSS and the HSM, in determining who needs to be tested, and when and where they will be tested.
3. The Health Safety Manager (HSM) oversees the execution of HSS directives in conjunction with the UPM, 1st AD/Key SM, and other relevant department heads. The HSM has a staff who together:
Set up and maintain the hand washing, sanitizing and disinfectiing stations (overseeing the Hygiene Crew).
Set up Medical Checkpoints. Remember, this would apply as soon as Production begins to occupy ANY physical space. The Checkpoint could be an office, a truck/bus/RV or pop-up tent.
Bring whatever the Health Safety Supervisor requires, such as tables and chairs. Production will provide PPE at the Medical Checkpoint.
Coordinate the placement of catering and craft service. They place Bio-Hazardous Material trash cans and oversee their proper use.
Assist the HSS in stocking, restocking, and distributing PPE. The Health Safety Department is also in charge of disposing of Hazardous Materials (testing waste and discarded or damaged PPE).
Coordinate the Security Unit (more below) regarding the Zone System. This would include the implementation of requisite badges, IDs, and app technology (if utilized) to identify and, when necessary, track cast and crew members.
Purchase and place bottles of hand sanitizer through the set, as well as giving bottles of sanitizer to the departments or any crew member that needs them. (Hand sanitizer stations should be placed around the set including any work space or place that a crew member may be performing work with an emphasis on entrances and exits.)
Stock the bathrooms with soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, toilet tissue, and paper gaskets for toilet seats.
There is a dedicated Hygiene Crew. The HSM (working with the UPM and/or the Location Manager) coordinates and supervises the Hygiene Crew (which may have multiple arms). They will be responsible for:
Overnight sanitizing of all production spaces, either at the studio or on location. This crew will have access to top-level gear, like fogging systems.
Working with Transportation regarding sanitizing any vehicles (especially cast-related vehicles) used by Production for any purpose.
There is a Security Unit. The HSM also oversees the Security Unit, which is responsible for:
Keeping outsiders from entering Zone A without a testing clearance.
Providing security for the equipment that is dropped off by vendors for use on set in a staging area for cleaning by the Hygiene Crew.
Other tasks that may arise involving security for cast, crew, locations and equipment.
The Company provides PPE. Face masks, gloves, goggles, and face shields. The crew can get their PPE at the Medical Checkpoint at the start of the day.
There is consistent monitoring. Prior to starting and during production:
The Production and Health and Safety team should monitor country, state, and local centers for disease control and implement/communicate local and national regulations.
The Production and the Health Safety Team should research local medical providers/hospitals. What is the access
to emergency rooms, respirators and other life-saving equipment? This information should be shared with cast and crew.
Testing considerations. We also need to think through the effect of false positives. No test is 100% accurate, so a production with 50 people lasting 50 days could have 2500 tests, and a 2% false positive rate means at least 50 awkward at least or real moments of concern. Immediate re-testing would hopefully resolve this, as two false positives in a row is, mathematically speaking, extremely remote. If a cast or crew member does test positive, that person is put into immediate self-quarantine for two weeks, and a second test will be run to confirm or refute the diagnosis. In the event of a discordant result, a third test will be run and the decision on how to proceed referred to the director, producers, and the HSS. Contact tracing will be employed to identify the source of infection and any close contacts within the production. Local health authorities should also be informed to minimize transmission in the world outside the production. Production should be prepared to medically monitor the infected person closely and use all available methods of care.
Compensation for those that test positive. It is important to emphasize that if
a cast or crew member tests positive for COVID-19 or is required to self-quarantine, they will be paid until they can return to work or until their planned work on the project ends, whichever is less. These payments may also be covered by federal, state, and local laws.
10. Commitment to protocol. Prior to production the HSS will lead a training discussion with the cast and crew to delineate strategies for reducing risk. The director and producers should be present as an indication that they are committed to the safety of every member of the production team. Every member of the production team will sign an attestation that they have participated in protocol training and committing to the principles and practices described therein.
GROUND LEVEL: IN ACTUAL PRODUCTION
SO CAN YOU WALK ME THROUGH THIS, STEP-BY-STEP?
The following is one example that anticipates the real-world process of using the Zone System.
This is a CLOSED SET. Absolutely NO VISITORS. All crew must adhere to the Zone System. Limits will apply to producers, writers, studio or network executives and location contacts. Important parties should participate virtually.
Union representatives exercising their rights to visit work spaces will be subject to the safety guidelines applicable to the Zone they will be visiting.
Virtual Viewing/Remote Monitors. As we limit the number of people on the set, the electronic transmission of sound and images must be carefully managed to protect the creative process on the set and at the same time avoid cumbersome procedural delays. The DGA has guidelines which have been negotiated and are part of the Basic Agreement (most recently revised in its 2020 agreement), and we also suggest some preferred practices for use during these extraordinary times.
On feature films and long form television programs (90) minutes or longer, video assist (including any transmission from the set) may not be used without the director’s permission. If the director elects to use video assist, he or she shall determine the number and the placement of the monitors to be used.
In episodic television, no images or sounds may be transmitted from the stage
or control booth without first informing the director. In addition, the continuous, unrestricted electronic transmission of images and/or sounds throughout the workday (e.g., a fixed ‘open mike’) from the set, stage or control booth to a location outside the production area is prohibited. This includes the unauthorized use of iPhones or other recording devices on the set unless such recordings or transmissions are approved and made for publicity or marketing purposes.
For intimate scenes, special care should be given to limiting the number and placement of monitors to ensure that only those individuals who would be authorized to be present during the recording of the scene have access to any monitors. The expansion of use of remote monitoring for COVID-19 prevention must not result in an expansion of the number of people with access to monitors during intimate scenes.
Testing prior to Day 1 or after a weekend/break. This could be the production office, but it is highly recommended that a dedicated room off the stage, a trailer at base camp, or, if numerous cast and crew are sharing a hotel, the mobile unit be utilized.
Shooting hours. We recommend a 10-hour shoot day from crew call to camera wrap. Limited crew pre-calls and early makeup calls are allowed. Wrap
and testing may go beyond those hours. Consider having a rigging crew load in equipment ahead of time. This is all about the effort to maintain good health and strong immune systems. To avoid unnecessary crowding, meals will be staggered or taken during work hours.
Protect performers. Since performers will not be wearing PPE while performing— unless scripted, of course—it’s essential to reduce clusters of crew around them when they are unprotected.
THE PRODUCTION OFFICE
Many of the traditional ways of working in a production office and what the office does will change. This section covers both preproduction and production phases, and most of these guidelines apply if the main production office includes space for the Art Department and/or the Costume Department. Those departments will also have specific requirements.
Office Setup. Whether rented at an office complex or on a studio lot, deep cleaning and disinfection must be done. There should also be good ventilation.
Cleaning and disinfection should take place each night by the Hygiene Crew or an outside contractor.
Health and Safety Staff. The Health Safety Supervisor and the Health
Safety Manager are engaged as the offices are being set up. They will arrange
with the UPM to schedule the Hygiene Crew hours. The HSS will assign an HSS staff person to the office for testing and daily check-ins.
Testing and Medical Checks. The testing protocol will begin in pre- production at the production office (or the designated central testing space) and all company facilities. Office staff and crew will check in every day at their start time with the medical person assigned by the HSS.
Safety Briefings and Written Guidelines
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