Film Makers

Film Makers - back to work check list

These are ideas - possibilities - questions.  You'll need to make sure you conform to your countries guidelines, but this list will perhaps give you more ideas that perhaps they haven't thought of...


All scenes planned and risk assessed just as you would a stunt scene in the context of the state of development of the epidemic.

This will constantly be changing.

Risk assessments for each department must outline how they're mitigating the risk of SARS-Cov2 spread and contraction, as well as their normal considerations for risk

Apply for relevant permits where you are and be prepared to show your plan

Legal and insurance considerations

Consider who your high-risk employees are, and decide whether to use them at this time

Cast and crew to sign agreements that they'll observe safe sets practices as laid out by production and the assigned safety officers/Covid Guards, and accept the responsibility they have to endeavour to keep themselves and others safe by not exhibiting any reckless behaviour, on or off set - or risk termination of contract

Budget to cover wage bills while cast and crew might be forced to isolate due to illness or relocation (there will unlikely be insurance available to cover SARS-Cov2)

Add 20% to your budget!

Develop your plan

Implement your plan

Maintain and revise your plan

Train a member of production or employ a dedicated SARS-Cov2 'safety officer/Covid Guard'

Establish your PPE protocols - issue, exchange and storing

Face masks (protects others), respirators (protects the wearer, but can spread the infection) - plan for 4 masks per 1 crew member over a 12-hour day

If using cloth masks, you'll need to provide appropriate facilities to boil wash

Rubber/latex gloves are ineffectual if worn across multiple tasks and throughout the day

Pre shoot SARS-Cov2 tests for all - followed by 2-week isolation, followed by daily screenings (see below)

Have medical teams on standby to support cast or crew who may get sick

Book mental health specialist to manage cast and crew wellbeing - stress and anxiety

Provide someone (HR) for crew and cast to voice their concerns to without fear of reprisals, who can relay anxieties and concerns - establish a feedback loop

Pre-production meetings to be held remotely

Non-essential/administrative crew/production team set up to work remotely

Perspex screens between desks, edit and vfx stations

Avoid 'hot desking' and sharing computers

Hard copy documents to be destroyed after use

Consider how you can still maintain your green credentials

Employ waste professionals that can handle contaminated waste

Arrange delivery of supplies off site where possible to avoid additional workers/personnel on to set

Content considerations:

Can you still make dramas?

Think about creating alternative product such as documentaries, nature programmes, experimental film, international films to new audiences, archive shows and films, virtual reality and animation

Script modifications

Working with social distancing -

Building the moment before the moment of contact - hold the tension

Do you show a SARS-Cov2 world?

Do you show people in restaurants and bars, and walking through crowded streets?

Does art reflect our SARS-Cov2 reality or disown it?

How do you show intimacy/violence?

Work with intimacy coordinators and stunt coordinators to develop creative ideas

No live audiences - so what's the format?

Plan smaller productions with smaller casts and crews now, and bigger productions later in the year

Be prepared for actors to say no, and be ready to adapt - write an a, b and c version

Plan to write and produce work to be performed by non-vulnerable groups whether due to age, having previous medical or underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes or cancer

Get scripts out early so everyone can plan effectively

Auditions and Casting:

Castings, ideally online or self-tape,

If in person

Sanitise on arrival and departure

Wearing visors - made available on arrival

Space considerations for waiting and performing

Space considerations between actor/director and camera operator etc

Have a second-choice actor on standby in case one drops out or gets sick before production starts

Book a body double/lookalike who can be on standby if artist gets sick during the shoot. (Long shots could be captured and closeups/pickups completed at a later date)

Book actors early so that costume sizes can be acquired in advance

Efficient scheduling to book actors in blocks - workflow groups - numbers kept low

Set and Crew preparation:

Preparing shooting schedules and organising crews and space:

Consider working with smaller crews/skeleton crews/2nd Unit crews

Plan for pod/bubble-based shooting

Working in different areas or on different days


Plan coloured armband system or equivalent

Limit numbers wearing specific colour

Limit areas where each colour can move

Work out time different colours need to arrive/be on set

Certain colours have access to all areas or can move between 2 or 3

Different rest areas set up for different cast/crew pods

All crew to have own kit/or own assigned kit/or sanitised kit

Cast and crew communal isolation for shooting period

(Most practicable if shooting in a remote location, and would be isolated anyway)

Camera, Light and Grip material, if hiring in, must be disinfected on arrival, and whether hired or owned, should be sanitised and after each use, with alcohol by authorised personnel

Have one person put up and take down all location signs

Consider large heated/air-conditioned tents rather than trailers - sectioned and space to socially distance

Location planning and prep:

Location scouting to be carried out by one person, interacting with one person, wearing suitable PPE

Shoot on exterior sets rather than actual streets - control your environment

Shoot in remote locations - outside

Shoot is studios that have interiors and exteriors and limit access to all but essential


If shooting in private establishments, they must be sanitised and only one person present from the location to arrange/negotiate/manage the facility being used

Consider what can be done with Green Screens

If shooting on location -

Entire site to be sanitised - and locked down to all unauthorised people

Public to be kept at a safe distance

Minimise crew and cast on location shoots

If shooting abroad

PCR Testing of travelling crew before departure and within 72 hours of arrival

Plan for whole crew quarantine period on arrival

Use local crews and try and avoid flying people in

If accommodation is to be provided, accommodate people with other members of their pod


Space organisation:

Use of separate casts and crews for different scenes

Studio split up into different quadrants - people allowed in each area dependant on current legal restrictions and consideration of size of space versus 2m social distancing

Small working spaces to be regularly aired

Have social distancing markings and zones taped onto floors on set and at base camp

Designated isolation area should someone develop symptoms and not be able to leave set immediately

Arrival on set:

Test, Inform, protect!

Have a system for anti-body testing

PCR (polymerise chain reaction) testing before production and every 14 days

Rapid Antigen testing that test both SARS-Cov2-19 IgG and IgM - TBC

Arrangement for blood work to be done by an accredited private company off site

Non-contact temperature Checks - and daily logs kept and checked.

Health/wellness questionnaire - at beginning and end of each day

Any person displaying symptoms to be sent home to self-isolate

Symptoms include, but are not limited to:

Cough, breathlessness, runny nose (cold) or sore throat, sudden changes in the sense of smell or taste, headache or body aches

Any person feeling unwell at home, can call in sick without a sick note and can self-isolate until they feel better - or are confirmed as SARS-Cov2 free as a result of testing - if available, or until after 14 day quarantine, or when symptoms subside (as decided by on set SARS-Cov2 H&S policy)

Hygiene training - hand washing including wrists and up to elbow if arms exposed, sanitising, social distancing, blowing noses in disposable tissues, sneezing into crook of elbow, avoiding touching of eyes, nose, and mouth

If possible, avoid wearing contact lenses, keep hair tied back, and keep nails short

PPE for the day provided on arrival, either new or laundered at appropriate temperature and sanitised

Specific/individual/pod call times to avoid over-crowding on arrival

Cast and crew transport limited to safe occupancy and distancing while in the vehicle, or to travel on/in own transport - car/bike etc.

Frequent airing and cleaning of transport throughout the day and between journeys

If travelling by public transport, travelling in effective PPE is advised


Health and Safety

Nurses/paramedics and or doctors on Set

SARS-Cov2 'Guards/Supervisors' on Set

(can be a professional or assigned by production - could be the producer!)

Patrolling set, proactively connect with all staff, seeking out anyone who may look or feel ill

Have procedures in place to deal with person presenting symptoms

Being empowered to control social distancing

Can halt work if the set is deemed unsafe

Toilets to have running water, liquid soap, disposable towels, closed bins and capacity so as to avoid queueing and cleaned every 2 hours (6 times a day)

Environment and surfaces to be cleaned/sanitised regularly throughout the day, including but not limited to: door knobs, tables, furniture, handrails, light switches, floors, telephones, computers, kitchen areas, rest areas, changing rooms, hangers etc.

However, if possible, avoid surface touching

Doors without handles/swing doors

Hand free water dispensers

Hand free soap dispensers and hand dryers

Foot operated sanitisers available at regular intervals and in all areas, or personal sanitisers assigned to each person if more practical

Foot operated closed bins to dispose of single-use items, such as PPE and drinking bottles etc.

Hand washing is more effective than wearing a single pair of gloves all day

Director's chairs exchanged for wipeable plastic chairs

No guests on set

Signs outlining safety guidelines clearly displayed in multiple locations on set and at base camp

Props that are handled to be sanitised between uses


All catering staff to wear PPE - regular hand washing or glove changing paramount

Heightened hygiene standards and screening of catering personnel (social distancing is incredibly difficult while working in a kitchen)

No shared foods or communal condiments at Craft/Dinner Service

Staggering lunch breaks - and time limited per person (French System/CWD)

Individual chairs rather than benches

Food ordered in advance and collected - no queueing

Or, food queueing socially distanced - served - no spoon sharing

Food and drink can be served in sealed disposable eco-friendly containers using disposable eco-friendly cutlery, or

If re-using cups, plates and cutlery - clearly labelled and assigned (where practicable) and washed at >60° throughout the day

Principle actors and key crew could have a separate space for catering, toilet facilities and rest areas

Shooting Considerations

Temporary clear barriers between actors to set up shots

Close ups, side by side, and over the shoulder rather than 2 in the frame face to face

Fewer takes/more rapid shooting/less standing around

Stunt doubles, stunt performers, precision drivers, stand-ins, body doubles etc., must undergo testing just like the actors and follow same rules and protocols


Utilise boom whenever possible, keep a safe distance from artists and disinfected after each shot

If personal/radio mics necessary, assigned and labelled per artist, and disinfect after use

Any plastic protective covers to be changed after each scene

Actors to learn to connect mic packs and feed mics through costume and attach according to the instructions by the sound department

If not possible, sound team with full PPE

Radio's assigned to individual crew members - or sanitised between users

Headsets disinfected after each use


Check country specific guidance as to whether intimacy is prohibited

If allowed:

The actor has the right to refuse intimate contact

If one actor says no and one yes, it's a no!

Consider working with actors who are related

Work with space, minimise time in close proximity

Isolating actors for entirety of shoot - or duration of filming intimate content

If quarantining actors, shoot intimate scenes once beyond the 14 days and then in a block

Anti-body testing - post infected actors only (ethically questionable and not actually known to be 100% safe!)

Or, actors can prove that they've tested negative - and can show results

If working with restrictions, maintaining social distancing

No kissing, touching, holding hands or intimacy

Consider techniques such as:

Camera trickery and creativity

Body shots, implied moments, cut before touch

Think stunt techniques for faking contact


Body parts - not face and sanitising before and after

For all actors who will be working without masks in close proximity:

Constant/daily anti-body testing of actors if available or advised - but definitely every 14 days

Constant and reminded hygiene practices

Ideally test, isolate (2 weeks), test, shoot all scenes requiring close contact in a block, then continue to shoot following standard procedures (masks and SD)


Wardrobe to plan extensively to avoid unnecessary buying, hiring or making

Costume fittings carried out remotely

Costumes on rails to be bagged up per performer and labelled

Actors having costumes left in trailers and dressing themselves

Consider actors bringing in own clothes and arriving wearing them, or

Actors being assigned costumes, and if they are used repeatedly, treating like own clothes, ie: taking them home, washing them

Use PPE when looking through items in storage, rental or retail - props/costumes etc.

If wardrobe laundering; then disinfecting as well as high heat used

Costume props to be disinfected between use

Hangers, irons, sewing machines, tape measures etc., disinfected between users

Request permission for actors to keep purchased costumes after use

Only wardrobe to handle costumes and then just the actor wearing them

Hired costumes to be disinfected before use by a specialised laundry service

If using body doubles, a double wardrobe to be provided

If re-using PPE, laundering masks etc., at appropriate temperature to render them sterile (generally 100 degrees), or using/hiring specialised disinfecting laundry facilities

Make-up and Hair

Make-up and hair face shields and masks and wearing gloves (ideally non-latex) or exercising hand hygiene methodologies

If wearing gloves they must be changed with each cast member

Alternatively, one Makeup artists/Hair dresser assigned to each performer

Disinfect chairs and surfaces between artists, and throughout the day

No sharing of make-up brushes, hairbrushes etc.

Makeup and hairbrushes being disinfected after each use or disposable

Palettes for mixing makeup - disposable or washed in between each actor

Consider: Actors applying own make up, doing own hair

Jewellery sanitised between uses, or actor's own jewellery

Make up stations 2m apart

Avoid touch ups unless absolutely necessary

Supporting Artists

None or consider how few you can work with?

If using and working with principle artists, must be able to prove their SARS-CoV2 status

Casting directors and agents to work with Supporting Artists to maintain regular SARS-CoV2 screenings ensuring their safety to work

Provide adequate space in holding for the SAs to practice social distancing

Have separate holding areas for SAs working with principle artists and SAs who don't

Possibly, film crowd scenes separately and green screen actors in

Provide pen for each SA to fill in paperwork - or use their own

Consider crew members doubling up as background artists

Employ 'Acting' supporting artists who can embody different characters, so they can be used repeatedly and become embedded in the production (perhaps with additional duties such as PAs or Covid Guards?)

If using SAs, consider them bringing own costume, arriving made up and having done their own hair


Avoid working with minors at present if possible, however, if you have to:

Consider who is chaperoning the minor and their additional responsibilities to the health and well being of the child at this time

Minors can struggle with social distancing, so establish clear rules

Think about how to set up socially distanced schooling and holding areas

Make sure there is PPE to fit minors and educate minors how to use it

No makeup unless absolutely necessary

Outside of the workplace

Cast and crew to limit contact with others when not on set

Remembering to exercise social distancing and hand washing while not at work

To avoid any high-risk situations, ie shopping, socialising

Practice as much as possible self-isolation when not at work

Possibly isolate yourself from your family during the shoot

Have work clothes and at home clothes

Must have a suitable storage space at work for personal PPE to be housed when not being used, or a space outside of the home where you can change safely - ie a garage/shed

Be creative with personal intimacy - dating and new relationships in the conventional sense are off limits