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Monday, May 10, 2021

No hugs & kisses, masks, gloves for all: Film, TV shoot guidelines

It has been over two months since film and television shoots came to a standstill. “Our biggest concern right now is how soon we can resume production work and how we can approach it responsibly with proper precautions,” said Nitin Vaidya of the Indian Film and TV Producers Council (IFTPC).

By: Express News Service Written by Alaka Sahani | Mumbai |
Updated: May 28, 2020 4:49:45 pm
coronavirus, covid guidelines for films and TV, film industry, bollywood films, film shooting resume, film shooting guidelines, editors guild of india, entertainment industry, indian express news Shammi Kapoor (left) with director Vijay Anand on the set of the 1966 film Teesri Manzil. The producers’ guild wants people on film sets to be at least 2 metres apart, and to not share cigarettes, among other things. (Express Archive)

🎥 Each crew member must wear a triple-layer medical mask and gloves during the entire shoot.

🎥 Avoid handshakes, hugs, kisses and other physical greetings.

🎥 Sharing of cigarettes should be stopped on sets/ offices/ studios.

🎥 2-metre distance between colleagues must be maintained.

🎥 Avoid crew and cast members over 60 years of age for at least three months.

THESE ARE some of the “general practices” in the 37-page “new working protocol” suggested by the Producers Guild of India, to be implemented when the entertainment industry resumes shooting.

This document, released two days after a video conference of some of the stakeholders with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday, suggests steps to be adopted for contagion prevention during shoots.

In its “Prepare to Prevent” section, it talks about carrying out a daily drill with the entire staff regarding precautions so that it becomes a habit; asking crew, artists and participants to report 45 minutes before the shoot; making floor markings so that people maintain social distancing; and giving priority to portable chairs over standard benches, among others.

The suggestions also include possible arrangements for bathing; portable wash-basins in all operational clusters; and dedicated help to ensure sanitisation and on-set hygiene (referred to as “Anti-Covid boys”).

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A key component of the guidelines is the “hair and make-up” protocol. It recommends single-use or disposable items; cleaning of hair wigs/ extensions before and after use; use of own make-up; and, most importantly, using a face shield, rather than a mask, once make-up has been applied. This apart, hair and make-up personnel will wear masks and gloves, which will be mandatory during the entire shoot.

The guild has also suggested that production units should avoid crew members above the age of 60 years for three months from the date of shooting, as and when it starts.

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Although the guild has made these guidelines public, some other film organisations have submitted their own SOPs (standard operating procedure) to the government, while others are still working on it.

Speaking to The Indian Express, actor Amit Bahl, senior joint secretary of Cine and TV Artists Association (CINTAA), said: “We have already submitted our recommendations along with SOPs of 20 countries regarding restarting production work. This includes the one framed by America’s Screen Actors Guild (SAG).”

T P Aggarwal, president of the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association (IMPPA), said the guild’s guidelines do not address all the concerns of middle-rung and small producers. “The guild has producers who make big-budget movies. We will be looking at the concerns of producers of smaller projects. We will suggest a reduction in the fees of actors, technicians, and workers,” he said. Last week, IMPPA had appealed to the producers to clear all pending dues.

Some key concerns are waiting to be addressed even as talks among various stakeholders seem to have intensified to resume production work. “We are still figuring out who will bear the onus of medical claim in case someone falls sick during a shoot. In principle, we have agreed to try for bulk insurance. The guidelines may seem good, but we will know how practical they are only when work resumes and they are implemented,” said Bahl, adding that “intrusion of outsiders” on the sets is a worrying factor.

In Pics | Producers Guild of India releases recommendations for filming amid COVID-19 pandemic

For those working in the television industry, one of the biggest challenges is to shoot reality, game and talk shows, as they have an audience. The guild has said the audience count on such shows should be reduced by 50 per cent and each audience member should be seated at a distance of one metre.

“Any outsider on the sets is a big risk. In fiction shows, producers have already asked their writers to avoid big scenes. There should be no wedding, puja or dance sequences,” said Bahl. “There will be some trials and errors when the shoots begin with all these precautionary steps,” he added.

It has been over two months since film and television shoots came to a standstill. “Our biggest concern right now is how soon we can resume production work and how we can approach it responsibly with proper precautions,” said Nitin Vaidya of the Indian Film and TV Producers Council (IFTPC).

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