In recent weeks we have seen a sharp increase in the number of productions returning to set. Productions are implementing vital health and safety protocols as a response to COVID-19, ensuring that health and safety of all cast, crew and artists remain paramount. This week we spoke to some of our SAs who have recently worked on productions filming around the UK, to give you an insight into what to expect on set amid COVID-19.

Name: Kent, Production: London Film, Date: July 2020

Tell us about your experience in the run-up to the shoot dates?

I was booked for a Covid test 3 days before I was required to go into self-isolation. I then had another COVID-19 test while isolating and another follow up test 3-4 days before the first shoot day. There were more forms to sign than usual, including a Covid declaration and some health and safety documents.

How was your experience on set compared to pre-COVID-19?

It was slightly different! I would arrive on set and undergo a COVID-19 test every 2 days and had my temperature checked every day. On this occasion, my face was fully painted, and I had to wear prosthetics so I could not wear a facemask, but I was provided with a Perspex shield to hold to my face instead. The costume area was more spread out than usual and there were only three SA’s to a room. There were also several one-way systems at the location which everyone adhered to. 

Overall, I respected the crew for the measures they had taken because I can imagine the additional cost! They took it very seriously and It was a positive experience.

Can you describe your lunchtimes?

The production hired a hall with tables all spaced 2 metres apart. There was ample hand sanitiser dotted around and screens were put up around the food. Where you would usually help yourself to items like salad, this was individually boxed instead so nothing was left out.

Do you have any advice for other Artists?

Expect to wear a mask and follow health and safety protocols.

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Name: Anna, Production: TV Soap, Date: July 2020

Can you talk about your experience before the shoot date?

We were all required to sign a declaration form stating that we were in good health and showing no signs of COVID -19 meaning that we were fit and able to film. On arrival, we were asked to stand in front of a machine that measured our temperatures from a distance –  It was very high-tech!

How was filming compared to pre-COVID shoot dates?

There were marked lines on the floor to establish safe social distancing protocols and all tables were spaced out in the dining area. In between takes, each group would rest in a different indoor location away from other SA’s and crew and everyone always kept their distance.

What were your final thoughts about returning to set?

During filming everyone observed distancing rules and there was no socialising. Overall, we had a great experience and it felt very safe.

Name: Paula, Production: BBC Soap, Date: July 2020

What was your initial feeling before attending the production?

I was nervous in advance because I wanted to get it right and not put anyone at risk. I needn’t have worried as we were very well looked after and now, I think I would feel much more confident about being on any set. It is a very different environment that what Ive been used to and it’s possible people may get things wrong from time to time, but we are all still learning to adapt.

By the time the shoot was over, how did you feel about the experience?

From the minute we arrived until the time that we left, everything was well organised and everyone was doing their best to get it right. Even down to not touching or sharing coat hangers, we were well separated in the holding areas and social distancing was made easier because we were mostly outdoors. For me overall this was a good experience.

Name: John, Production: Film, Date: June 2020

What was the lead-up to the shoot like for you?

It was a simple exercise of reading all the information provided, so I had a general understanding of what to expect and all the requirements of the day.

What happened when you arrived on set?

On arrival we had our temperatures checked by security and were given and pass and directed to the meeting area. There was ample hand sanitizer available in the canteen and clear markings on the floor. All of their measures were to make sure you followed social distancing.

What was your experience like in comparison to pre-COVID shoots?

There was no hair or makeup provided on set, the team would check your appearance and ask you to correct any issues yourself to ensure social distancing. Filming took longer than usual but this was understandable as there is an increased duty of care and safety precautions.

What advice would you give to SA’s due to attend set soon?

You need to be observant because you may be asked to perform an action which might breach the 2-metre rule, you should consider how to do this safely, without of course breaching 2 meters.

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Bookings and protocols

If you are one of our Artists who is currently on a pencil or are booked onto an upcoming production and have queries about COVID-tests, health and safety regulations or topics not covered above, contact us to address any potential concerns. Our Artist Support team will guide you through your enquiries to ensure that you are well versed in what can be expected on set in the current climate.

If your production is seeking supporting artists click here to contact us today to discuss your brief!

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