Camp Quarantine: inside Tyler Perry’s pandemic production

by L.A. White

There’s no doubt about it: this pandemic has been bad for the entertainment industry.

From postponed film shoots and premieres to the complete shutdown of Broadway, artists have struggled to stay afloat and adjust to a new reality. Even as dance companies rehearse over Zoom and musicians hold drive-in concerts, the majority of artists are all wondering the same thing: when can we get back to work?

The answer, according to Tyler Perry, is now.

The media mogul has just wrapped filming for the second season of ‘Sistas’ and began shooting the second season of his drama series ‘The Oval’ on July 30.

How did he manage to begin production despite the pandemic? After developing a 30-page plan that detailed strict protocols and procedures for operations, Perry and his team transformed his Atlanta studio into something new: Camp Quarantine.

“After losing a crew member to COVID that was on another production at the very beginning of this thing, clearly I understand the nervousness, I understand the trepidation,” Perry said in an interview with Dateline. “But I tell you, if you can’t test everyone every day, I don’t know how you do this unless it’s a quarantine bubble. I don’t know another way, because COVID could be among you and spreading and you not know it.”

With on-set living arrangements, food trucks, constant testing, and rigorous safety procedures, Camp Quarantine is a virtual bubble that’s perfect for production. Built to house a 360-person cast and crew, Perry’s reimagined studio is not only a success story, but proof that isolation and social distancing does work.

The success of the inaugural shoot has created new opportunites for other productions in the film industry as well.

“There is still another 200 acres of open land, several other camps can be set up here just like the one we set up; camps can be set up in no time — we set up ours in a month, month and a half,” Perry explained. “There are many, many more housing opportunities for other camps for sure.”

Perhaps the pandemic isn’t a sign of impending doom for entertainers— instead, it might be the pathway towards much-needed innovation.

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