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Vancouver Film in a Covid World

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

Getting back to Film and Television in BC, and adapting to the ‘new normal’.

For Film and Television production workers here in Vancouver BC it’s been slow and patient approach to restarting the industry. As productions prepare for shows to go to camera there are guidelines that need to be followed in order for us to feel safe and for shows to make it through their entire shooting schedule without being forced to shut down again.

If you are anything like me you have been scouring the internet looking for articles that give you any kind of inclining about what is happening and when we can all go back to work. It was a fruitless search for quite some time as all the articles I read seemed to say the same thing. Production comapanies are trying to figure out how so many people can be on set together, whats the most effective way to test all these people? How often would they need to be tested? Would we get paid sick leave if we were to get the ‘Rona? Would the hours stay the same? We’ve all dreamed about going home from work earlier on a Friday, but we do all love those pay checks don’t we? Are we going to have to sign COVID Waivers? Are makeup artists going to have to wear full space man suits to get near their cast?! The list goes on. So I stopped looking. I was exhausted worrying about how long it was all going to take to get sorted. Makeup is just one department out of so many, there are so many things that need to be considered. So I decided to concentrate on washing my hands and not going near anyone.

’Are makeup artists going to have to wear full space man suits to get near their cast?!’

Cut to...some time later and a garden full of vegetables..(who knew I had a green thumb!?)

The IATSE 891 Makeup Department Zoom meeting. Not sure about anyone else but I was just as excited to see the attendee names come up, the closest we’d all been to our work families for some time! I was quite miffed I couldn’t see any of your faces tho, but grateful nonetheless.

This was a great opportunity for us to listen and ask questions about our concerns. I was very grateful for this meeting as I felt a little closer to everyone and knowing that the industry was coming back even if we didn’t have any dates set in stone. Also knowing that there was some excellent people on the COVID-19 Task Force, spearheading the way for us to get into our trailers safely and researching the best ways for us to do the jobs we all love to do. So thankyou to those people.

So here I am now, helping on a union production, and I feel safer here than I do in the grocery store. Every effort is being made to maintain the health and safety of the crew and the cast. Now i’m only here for a week, but I’ve had my COVID test twice, once for the gallery and once for shooting crew work. It was a non-invasive nasal swab. No swabs to the brain thank goodness!

I know every show will have it’s own set of rules to follow, but I’m hoping they will all be in the same vane, and no production out there lets us down. I’ve had a great start back, the makeup dept has a great leader at the helm so I knew it would always be successful. Lots of the things we do as makeup artists already fall into the sanitary procedures they would like us to follow...we are taught how to be clean at makeup school. We just have to go the extra extra mile now. And I’m ok with that.

We are all going to get really good at applying cream products, as compact powders/shadows could be staying on the shelf for a while. I’m personally a big fan of cream products, and doing a bit of research on what‘s new in that world excites me...(GEEK!)

I’ve not been allowed on set on this production and I do miss that, but I’m hopeful that it won’t always be this way. And if it reinforces safety measures I’m into it.

To conclude, it’s been a great first week back for me, and I hope all your experiences are the same. If you don’t feel safe on your set talk to the union reps, it’s a big decision to come back into this environment with all these people, a decision which should not be made likely. I look forward to seeing all these faces I’ve missed over the last 6 months. Stay safe folks.


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