Getting Back to Work in the Art Department: Part 3

Updated: Jul 15


ART DEPARTMENT COVID PROTOCOL

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An addendum to:

Media Production During The Covid-19 Public Health Emergency


Last update: 7/14/2006

Prepared by Eva Radke

in collaboration with the ArtCube Nation community.


Mission Statement


This document serves to extend COVID protocol recommendations to include filmmaking activities on and off set within Art Department roles in Film, Television, and Commercials.


We support the addition of a new and autonomous position for COVID oversight, known as Compliance Officer (CO) as the existing demands on the Art Department would not allow the time to perform consistent safety protocols and attend to regular duties.


We have formatted the addendum based on NYPA's Interim NY Production Requirements & Suggested Practices for easy integration.


New items will be indicated by date as productions encounter specific situations that lend to the evolution of these recommendations over time.


Contact eva@artcubenation.com with additional suggestions.

Physical Distancing:


Off Set Work Spaces:

The current guidance states that Responsible Parties must ensure that a distance of at least six feet is maintained between all employees.


This should include sites rented for the purpose of being worksites away from physical production such as set dressing, fabrication and scenic shops, storage units, and office space.


Responsible Parties must ensure employees are fortified to sanitize hands before and after transferring assets (set dressing/props/greens) at sites rented for the purpose of being worksites away from physical production. This includes set dressing, fabrication and scenic shops, storage, and office space.


Off set spaces should be supplied and maintained by CO on a regular weekly schedule, have hot water, hand soap, refrigeration, microwaves, sanitation stations, wipes for shared equipment, ample PPE (like gloves), and waste/recycling receptacles.


New York State mandates that only essential personnel be on site, therefore, for commercial productions, we suggest the agency and client be accommodated remotely.


Pre-Production:

Remote work and virtual meetings whenever possible for pre-production Art Department activities including, but not limited to:

  • Set Dressing shopping and selects

  • Production Design meetings

  • Work from home option as often as possible for Art Department Coordinators, Shoppers, Graphic Designers, Art Directors, Renderers, etc.


Sourcing:

NYS states Responsible Parties should minimize handling cash, credit cards, and mobile devices, where possible. To that end, expenditures by set decorators, shoppers and assistants should be purchased with an assigned, pre-paid debit card instead of petty cash.


Set Decorators and shoppers will not be required to enter any retail space. Online shopping, by-appointment locales, and stores with curbside pick up are preferred.


Prop Houses who operate by appointment only with a COVID Safety Plan in place on the floor and the bay are preferred sources.


Building:

Where prep requires a build, rigging, dressing, etc. at a studio/location, production should schedule enough days for departments to work alone and to hand over the set between departments when necessary.


Build and Conduction Grips, Carps, and Scenic Artists could be considered one pod given the intersection of their work.


Pick-Ups:

Where departments require trucks, one member of a pod should be assigned to work on the truck at a given time. A helper with a vehicle should travel with the truck if more than one person is required for lifting.


A dedicated space, an empty Cube truck, for instance, for Health Management decontamination or other designated area, is recommended so they might not hinder or delay the on-going set needs from the Art Department



Post Production / Wrap


Set Sales

  • Conducted online or by appointment only.

  • No cash or check sales. Payments should be made via by credit card link provided by the production or contactless payment method.

Returns

  • Only purchases in the original condition and packaging should be returned.

  • Returns should be conducted via mail or contactless method.


Petty Cash

  • Petty Cash and Expenses should be submitted online and paperless.


Workplace Activity


The current guidance states that Responsible Parties must take measures to reduce interpersonal contact and congregation, through methods such as: limiting the in-person presence to only those staff who are necessary to be on-site; adjusting workplace hours; reducing the on-site workforce to accommodate social distancing guidelines.


The above should be taken into account when scheduling builds, pre-lights, and wrap days as well as shoot days.



II. PLACES


A. Protective Equipment.


The current guidance states that Responsible Parties must ensure that all employees, cast, and crew wear face coverings at all times within the worksites away from physical production.

This should include set dressing, fabrication and scenic shops, asset storage, and office space.


It is recommended that producers have at least 20 sets of adequate disposable gloves on hand for each Art Department crew member for each day in addition to face masks and shields.


Procedures for shared objects should include:


Equipment

  • Rental Houses used should have their Business Safety Plan on file with Production and Art Department

  • Fabrication Shops hired should have their Business Safety Plan on file with Production and Art Department

  • Hand Props and Set Dressing should be disinfected by the CO team after actor handling. Multiples on stand-by are highly recommended for continuous takes.

  • A designated area or Rubbermaid cart sequestering used items must be provided for Art to transfer to CO.

  • For those crew in close contact with talent, where distancing may not be possible, Prop Masters should have an abundance of gloves, face coverings and face shields.

B. Hygiene and Cleaning


The current guidance states Responsible Parties must provide and maintain hand hygiene stations throughout media production facilities. This should include all locations rented for the purpose of being worksites away from physical production.


Responsible Parties must ensure air circulation and ventilation on sites rented for the purpose of being worksites away from physical production. This should include set dressing, fabrication and scenic shops, storage, and office space.


Responsible Parties must ensure that all locations being prepped for filming are first disinfected for dressing, and equally disinfected for wrapping the location before the Art Department can enter.


Responsible Parties must ensure that all props, costumes, and set materials are cleaned and disinfected between each use by CO and stored in sealed containers between uses as specified by the particular department head.


Responsible Parties must put in place measures to limit the sharing of objects, gear, and equipment by renting equipment from the crew as much as possible, many of whom own the equipment required for the job. An additional kit fee may be required.


Production should engage a specific disinfection crew whose sole job it is to clean and disinfect the set, set dressing and hand props. There should be one dedicated to the On Set Art Department to reduce wait times and exposure from talent to the crew and vice versa.


The crew should be able to opt-out of provided meals for a per diem.

C. Communication


Any crew member who clearly does not wish to comply with COVID protocol, must not be allowed to enter the media production facility or location, reported and replaced immediately.


The Compliance Officer should have the authority to stop the roll, halt production, or require a crew member to be immediately removed from the production.



Suggested moratorium on gags, hand props or dressing that require:

  • A sensitive chain of possession or special knowledge, as in weaponry.

  • Anything that would produce infected liquid waste, such as spit takes, feigned regurgitation, or discharged food from multiple takes.


Getting back to work in the Art Department: Part 1 // Four Main Concerns

Getting back to work in the Art Department: Part 2 // All written survey answers

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