Coronavirus. It has offset the balance of every single career throughout the world. Hollywood is no exception. It is a highly collaborative environment, with multiple artists that definitely need to get close and comfy in a lot of situations to sell the story. New protocols had to be put in place, and there has been an approximate increase of 10% to production budgets to be able to conduct business safely. Talents are isolated, and the busyness of the set has been replaced by video conferences. Craft services are not really group hangouts, makeup trailers aren’t gossip zones, you could say it’s lost its sense of fun.
As soon as you’re on set, there is a check in area. Most productions are hiring a COVID compliance officer. Multiple certifications are required for their roles. Actors will have to be instantly temperature checked. You must wash your hands, back, front, and between the fingers, as well as between the backs of the fingers, your fingertips, thumbs, and wrists. While the protocol has changed to make it a safe process to create the art, it has caused working on set to lose something.
The main point of COVID precautions is to isolate threats and make sure the virus will not be able to spread in any time that is devoted to the crafting of the film. To isolate threats, it becomes a part of the job to isolate individuals. The job has become a cold, and isolated place. Where conversations happen, and chemistry and relationships are built, those places are cleared out quickly and precisely to get the job done— but not bring people together.
In an art that is about bringing people together to create a masterpiece, from the script to the premier, this is a collaboration. Sadly, the energy, the fun, has to be shared in a different way. From different rooms, from through a screen, the “video villages” that are formed to create films have gone away for a time. The process has been completely decentralized, and social aspects are gone. There has been an increase in difficulty and loss of something with the adjustments to the pandemic. When people are there only to do their jobs, the set can become a lonely place. Through this pandemic, the world can be a lonely place. As you go into a project, be prepared for this. We are living in a very difficult time, where staying this safe is worth it and life changing. But no one is saying it’s not hard.
With all the regulations and red tape, creating our art as actors, directors, and writers doesn’t feel as much like art. It feels like work. Even worse than that, it feels like we’re working alone. However, we’re not alone. While there may not be as much time to gossip, play around, or socialize— While there may not be as many people to talk to, bounce off of, and work with— We are not alone. While there are added regulations, difficulty, and struggles with these trying times. The show must go on, and it’s not quite the most horrible thing in the world.