As Hollywood begins mounting an industrywide effort to create protocols for films and TV shows to safely return to production, there will be a test case to draw upon.
Australia’s long-running soap Neighbours will resume filming next week after a monthlong production shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is believed to be the first suspended TV drama in the English-speaking world to restart production.
Here are the safety guidelines that are being put into place by Neighbours‘ production company Fremantle Australia, which, in success, could be a road map for other shows and for reopening Hollywood.
— The studio space has been divided into quadrants, with three production teams isolated from each other and only three actors allowed to cross between the groups. “There will be no more than 100 people a day in any area, we’ll implement the four-square-metre rule and the one-and-a-half-metre social distancing rule,” Fremantle Australia boss Chris Oliver-Taylor told Australia’s ABC. Because of that setup, if someone gets sick, only the group whose member is affected will be suspended and the shoot can continue with the other two groups.
— There will be a nurse on set, and everyone entering the site will have their temperatures checked;
— Male actors will have no make-up, female actors will not be touched up;
— There will be no physical contact between actors including kissing, holding hands or intimate scenes;
— Actors will also practice social distancing, with camera trickery used to make them look closer together;
— There will be be no outside extras, with crew members already on set doubling as background performers.
Hollywood is currently in its sixth week of production shutdown.