• Erol Mehmet

The Coronavirus and the TV & film industry


Medical staff around the world are superheroes fighting the Coronavirus. Globally, we are beginning to win the battle and our lives are starting to return to the new normal. Cinemas are due to reopen this month in the UK, cobwebs will be removed from the camera rolls and the popcorn machine will start popping once more.


Health and safety will be at an all-time high in movie theatres and it will be the hottest topic in production meetings. After all, the film company owners and the Producers are the first port of call that are accountable for accidents and some illnesses (due to negligence).

There’s been no lights, no camera and no action for months…

The Coronavirus bought TV and film production to its knees back in March, the cameras stopped rolling, film production companies and actors retreated to their homes.

Some battened down the hatches, others turned to online platforms such as Tik Tok to keep in touch with their fans and followers. Favourite shows did reruns and golden oldies graced our TV screens once more.

The rich and famous aren't ammune to the virus...


The deadly virus isn’t prejudiced, it’s a cruel, invisible disease and even the rich and famous don’t get special treatment. At the end of March Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson revealed that they had contracted the virus whilst working in Australia on an unnamed movie. Thankfully they both made a full recovery and Tom Hanks is now in the news reiterating to everyone how important it is to wear face coverings because of the virus.


The Box Office has been closed...

The much anticipated James Bond movie ‘No time to die’ was left sitting in the Box Office with fans all over the world very disappointed that it wasn’t released earlier in the year. However, the good news is that it should be on the big screen in November, fingers crossed.


There's been no cake to have and eat it...

Much loved TV programs got postponed here in the UK – The Great British bake off, Britain’s got talent (I've been in a hot situation on that show) and The Voice UK (you won't catch me singing anything but Elvis songs). Disney live action films like 'The Little Mermaid' have been frozen in time.

But.. we have seen the first steps of hope…

The sound on the underground is that things are starting to move again in our industry. Recently we saw the Producer Jon Landau Tweet from New Zealand. He shared a photo of him and James Cameron with face masks and visors on telling the world that they were about to begin their 14 day isolation period.


Why?


Avatar is back! We will see the very blue Jake Sully, Neytiri and Dr Grace Augustine return to the big screen once more.


And, there’s more exciting news...


The latest Jurassic World movie will begin filming at Pinewood Studios and with the next Mission Impossible due to be released in 2021 plans are being put in place to start filming in Italy later in the summer.


‘The Batman’ was progressing nicely before lockdown but the caped crusader is on freeze-frame for the moment. Having worked on both 'No time to die' and 'The Batman', I’m looking forward to their eventual release.

Has romance died on set now?

Non!

We should all be following government guidelines with social distancing and a passionate snog between strangers is not permitted at the moment in the UK.

However, France has said that French kissing will be allowed in productions as long as those involved are tested for the virus first. We may see more love stories filmed in France this year.



How is social distancing going to work when filming action movies?


Actors and Stunt Performers in action movies will work close together at different times in filming where shouting, cursing and an impressive punch is the norm for some scenes. It is going to be interesting to see the developments with regards to that and many other challenges Producers and Directors will have now. There will be adjustments to budgets taking into consideration the extra costs of the cast being in isolation in hotels for some time and there will be a need for PPE equipment etc…


It’s going to be tough at the top and we should all play our part…


Producers have had huge amounts of pressure making sure health & safety procedures were in place in past productions.Taking into consideration that in most cases different scenes will have different risk assessments now they have the added stress of adapting for the very contagious virus. We should all play our part and adapt accordingly to make life safer and easier for all.


This is a temporary challenge, we must all remember that extreme measures won't go on forever.



The good news is that The Oscars have been delayed to allow for more films to be released that have been held up due to the virus, the new date is now April 25th 2021.


Who thinks that Stunt Performers should have the opportunity to win an Oscar? Who would you nominate and for what production?


Stay safe guys!




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Copyright 2020 Erol Mehmet