Lights! Camera! Masks? TV and film production are ramping up
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For months, filming in Hollywood has been mostly halted due to the pandemic, but production is slowly starting to rev up again.
Los Angeles has seen a notable uptick in film permit applications. There’s a lot of optimism, but the billion-dollar question is: As the pandemic rages on, how can Hollywood balance the new safety protocols and production?
It’s hardly back to business as usual. COVID-19 safety courses are often required before arriving on set, locations must have enhanced ventilation, shooting days are limited to 10 hours — and lots of other precautions.
“If you have a prop and you have to give it to another actor, they disinfect it before you give it to the other actor,” comedian Kiki Melendez said. “You have to take a COVID test every couple of days. They’re doing everything in their power to make it work.”
That’s good news for California, where more than a quarter of a million people in the arts have filed for unemployment assistance since the pandemic began.
From July to August, film permit applications in the city were up by 40%. Most of the uptick in filming is for commercials. For a lot of actors with TV and film roles, the wait continues.
Ada Luz Pla is an actress on shows like “Sons of Anarchy” and “On My Block.” She has work lined up on a show right now, but it just keeps getting delayed.
“Pandemic hit, we were postponed until May,” Pla said. “Now we’re postponed until October.”
She said the vibe in Los Angeles is “hurry up, but wait.”
There are still a lot of starts and stops. Some productions that were ramped up were shut down again due to COVID-19 cases, and that has prolonged the mood of uncertainty.
Just last week, filming of “The Batman” came to a halt because star Robert Pattinson tested positive for COVID-19. That is scary for people in the industry, said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, chief operating officer with the screen actors guild SAG-AFTRA.
“But what I would say is it’s also a sign that the system is working,” Crabtree-Ireland said. “The testing was conducted, the test results came in and the people in charge made appropriate decisions.”
So for Hollywood right now it’s lights, camera and some action.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
What do vaccines mean for economic recovery?
COVID-19 is not going anywhere anytime soon, according to expert witnesses who testified at a recent hearing held by the Joint Economic Committee. Put simply, we can’t eradicate the virus because it infects other species, and there will also be folks who choose not to get the vaccine or don’t mount an immune response, according to Dr. Céline Gounder at NYU School of Medicine & Bellevue Hospital. “That means we can’t only rely on vaccination,” Gounder said. She said the four phases of recovering from the pandemic are ending the emergency, relaxing mitigation measures, getting to herd immunity and having long-term control.
Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?
As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.
What do I need to know about tax season this year?
Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.
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