Most casual movie watchers and TV bingers don’t realize exactly how much time, effort, money and manpower it takes just to shoot one scene let alone a whole movie or series. Television and film sets can be the most chaotic places on the planet. Most of the films you’ve watched on Netflix probably have a set with a range of 10-100 people depending on the scene itself and what it needs. These large gatherings of people are all running around doing different tasks trying to make each shot perfect. Whether it’s the actors running in and out of costumes, the PA’s running errands and grabbing coffee for the director, or even the production designers maintaining the continuity of the set between each shot. Film sets are indeed stressful places and in the middle of a pandemic, they could be even more stressful which is why most films and production were shut down. However, since businesses are opening back up, more and more questions are being directed to how exactly Hollywood will handle the continuation of certain productions that were postponed. Last month, during a virtual interview on the late night talk show, Desus & Mero, actor and activist, Jesse Williams answered some questions about the uncertain future of the set of popular drama series, Grey’s Anatomy, and if the series will have any production going on this year. “It’s a big mystery… we don’t know if we’re going to work again this year.” Williams later followed up about the status of Broadway, which has also taken a major pause of production during the pandemic, and whether or not the Broadway revival of Take Me Out will continue. “It’s one thing to put together a production with all of the crew members… but then you got to invite hundreds of people to come sit next to each other- it’s hard to imagine how we’re gonna work anytime soon, which is a little scary, but we’ll figure it out. I got faith.”
With the entertainment industry as a whole coming back from it’s hiatus, one can only wonder how it will respond to COVID-19 concerns and social distancing standards. The NBA has responded by continuing it’s season along with the playoffs by having all qualifying teams stay in a “bubble” in Disney World’s Orlando resort, isolated from the outside world. They will be practicing and playing games with no fans in the seating area and very limited media. Some Broadway shows have released filmed versions of their productions, such as Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton which has released via the streaming service Disney+. Spike Lee’s film Da 5 Bloods was released exclusively on Netflix and many films that were in post production prior to the U.S. COVID-19 pandemic have been delayed, like Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, or released via a streaming service. It seems with technology like the conferencing app, Zoom, many forms of entertainment will take a further step toward distancing and keeping the amount of people in a single space very limited. In the near future we may see more and more cinema filmed mostly through webcam. Movie theaters and venues on broadway may begin to shut down as streaming services take a leap. Mass gatherings may be held online rather than in person. No one knows exactly what the future of entertainment may look like but one thing is for certain, it will be different from what we were used to. So please wear a mask.