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Kansas City USA: A Safe Return to Film Production

The Film Office of Kansas City has published its safe filming guidelines, which continue to be updated as the situation evolves. Visit the COVID-19 Response Center on the KC Film Office website for the latest updates.


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The safety of every person involved in bringing production to life is top priority of the KC Film Office. This preliminary guide will remain in place until industry standards are communicated. We find ourselves working to adjust to significant changes in our routines and now we must work in new ways. Your teamwork and collaboration are greatly appreciated. Thank you for considering Kansas City for your production.

Dear industry professionals,


The safety of every person involved in bringing production to life is top priority of the KC Film Office. With the assumption that production will return with vigor, we want to equip production companies and other producing entities with guidance to safely and effectively work in the Kansas City area. This preliminary guide will remain in place until industry standards are communicated. It was produced in concert with a certified health professional, as well as several local, state and national industry professionals. (Thank you to all who lent your expertise to this document!)


As you know, things continue to evolve daily, so our team plans to keep this document updated and accessible on our website.


Now is a challenging time for each of us, both personally and professionally. We find ourselves working to adjust to significant changes in our routines and now we must work in new ways. Your teamwork and collaboration are greatly appreciated. Thank you for considering Kansas City for your production.


Highest Regards,


Stephane Scupham

KC Film Office Director

AFCI Certified Film Commissioner


*Please read this ENTIRE document before beginning a project

**This document is meant strictly to provide guidance and to share best practices


6 Recommended Must-Do's:


  1. Establish an Infection Prevention Compliance Supervisor role

  2. Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  3. Demonstrate Routine Cleaning and Disinfection

  4. Adjust timeframes and budgets to accommodate safety practices

  5. Stagger start, lunch, and wrap times

  6. Take Temperatures


Reminders


Always adhere to the most current Federal, State,Tribal, Local, and/or Territorial Guidance on Set:


REFER to Interim Guidance for Businesses andEmployers to Plan and Respond to CoronavirusDisease 2019 (COVID-19) and/or ReopeningGuidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting PublicSpaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, andHomes


REFER to Missouri, Kansas, Kansas City information on re-opening


MAINTAIN

Maintain social distance (at least 6 feet)


WASH

Wash hands well and often (at least 20 seconds) using soap and water –

hand sanitizer is NOT a substitute


WEAR

Wear surgical- or homemade-type masks; Wear single use gloves


AVOID

Avoid touching your face, nose and eyes


PRACTICE

Practice respiratory etiquette – cover your cough and sneeze


STAY

STAY home if your experiencing ANY symptoms


SECTION 1: SETTING EXPECTATIONS


Establish a New Role on the Team - Infection Prevention Compliance Supervisor (IPCS)


  • Industry best practice includes establishing a dedicated Infection PreventionCompliance Supervisor (IPCS), a new and necessary role given authority to intervene when necessary to ensure the safest known practices are maintained throughout the day in every department. The IPCS is essential because Production Companies are not infection control specialists and have many other things to keep an eye on in the course of a job.

  • This role will enforce guidelines across all departments in addition to taking actions that support infection prevention. As certifications become available, this role ideally should be certified or be taken on by a health professional. Do the best you can here –there needs to be one person dedicated to this on every set until there is a vaccine and/or tests are more readily available.

  • The IPCS should participate in pre-pro to help Production Companies prepare appropriately. In addition, a log needs to be maintained (for at least 30 days) of all people who will be on set and their temperatures


Budget / Time / Planning


  • Plan for and allow more ample time for preproduction and your total project taking into consideration the areas where time and budget will need to be adjusted for safety.


Medical Personnel / Set Medic

  • Medical Personnel or Set Medic (as needed, not all sets require) in addition to regular duties should be expected to take temperatures of the cast and crew and be watchful for signs of illness in addition to their regular duties.Log needs to be maintained (for at least 30 days) of all people who will be on set and their temperatures.

  • This role could also act as the Infection Prevention Compliance Supervisor(IPCS) or work in partnership with that person. At the least an IPCS should be on the job.


Minimize people / Maximize distance

  • The number of crew on set should be kept to the minimum required [seeInterior Shooting in Section 2]. Right now, KCMO is limited 10 people or 10%of regular capacity indoors and 50 people outdoors. Agencies and clients are likewise encouraged to send the fewest possible number of representatives.

  • Don’t allow visitors and keep a minimum of 6 feet distance between people.


Young Talent

  • If young talent is cast, consider making special arrangements for them if needed prior to production including PPE that fits a child.

Promoting Hygiene on Set

  • At a minimum, ALL individuals on set are required to adhere to Federal, state, tribal, local, and/or territorial health guidance (whichever takes precedence) regarding personal hygiene and healthy practices which contain the spread of the disease.

  • In areas where hand washing is not readily available, hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol content) must be made available, especially at points of entry and common areas. Again, this is NOT a substitute for proper hand washing.

  • Larger shoots, when possible, should supply hand washing stations. For shoots with no running water, hand washing stations should be installed.

  • Part of basic info to be posted around site: Information on how to maintain proper hand hygiene supplied to all people present on set - both in the form of official print material(s) posted and in digital form from health authorities and as part of the morning safety briefing [see Stop the Spread of Germs inReference Section for link to printable form].

Cleaning Requirements

  • Production Companies with the help of their IPCS should be responsible for frequent cleaning of touched surfaces (or responsible for having these cleaned). High-touch surfaces include: 1. tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, sinks, faucets, any equipment handled by more than one person, etc.

  • Any workstation or equipment used by more than one person needs to be cleaned between each user. Reduce or remove those items not needed within the shoot area or gathering areas, especially porous items, such as: 1. upholstered surfaces or furniture, area rugs, etc.

  • Frequent cleaning does NOT mean using a wet-wipe and walking away. Below are some proper cleaning and disinfection methods: 1. First, CLEAN the surface or object with soap and water (in a pinch a wet wipe/baby wipe willsuffice). 2. Then, DISINFECT using an EPA-approved/registered disinfectant (refer tohttps://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2; or contactt he local health department for more information, ink below) 3. FOLLOW the instructions on the product label to ensure safe and effective use. Most products require: 1. A certain amount of dwell, dry or contact time (see label) 2. Safety precautions such as wearing gloves and providing good ventilation [refer to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/disinfecting-your-home.html]

  • NEVER mix chemicals together especially throughout the cleaning process.

  • Clean and disinfect high-touch areas once an hour. Clean and disinfect equipment at the beginning or end of a shoot day. Some equipment if touched by only one person, could be cleaned and sanitized between jobs.

Regarding Illness

  • Anyone exhibiting mild or severe symptoms of COVID-19 is not permitted entry to set. As of the writing of this guidance, the CDC lists the following as main symptoms: 1. cough 2. shortness of breath or difficulty breathing OR At least two of these: 3. fever 4. chills 5. repeated shaking with chills 6. muscle pain 7. headache 8. sore throat 9. new loss of taste or smell

Posting Information

  • Information regarding the risk(s) of spreading COVID-19, and what behavior is expected from everyone on set is to be made visible in common areas.This includes members present from the agency and client

Creative

  • It should go without saying during this unprecedented time, that creative should take infection control into consideration when writing the script so it can be safely accomplished by production companies, crews and actors.

Travel


SECTION 2: PRODUCTION GUIDELINES

Individual Responsibility

The Infection Prevention Compliance Supervisor (IPCS) and everybody on set has an individual responsibility to prevent transmission of COVID-19 by doing the following: REFER to Stop the Spread of Germs and/or the How to ProtectYourself and Others handouts


Locations

  • If the scene is being filmed in a small space (< 75 ft2) only essential crew should be allowed: 1. Camera Operator 2. Focus Puller (although remote may be an option) 3. Sound recordist, etc.

  • Production companies must provide remote viewing capabilities for all other people(script supervisor included).

  • Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be provided (i.e., masks, gloves, etc.) in all locations where people are present.

  • An awareness that location scouts and managers will need ample time to secure locations, and support to educate location owners of the Production Company’s safety and infection prevention playbook. Disinfection budgets will likely be necessary as a part of this reassurance for location owners. A location owner could approve an “On-Site Manager”(possibly a member of their family, friend or health official) to be present for the entirety of filming at the location.

  • Likewise, for wrapping a location, there will need to be time to clean and disinfect a location properly before turning it over to the owners. This will likely take more time and budget than usual.

Director's Scout / Tech Scout

  • Whenever possible do a virtual streaming tour.

  • Keep numbers to a minimum with social distancing in mind.

  • Individuals should drive separately when possible, otherwise keep passengers to a minimum and always wearing PPE.

  • Keep conversation outdoors where there is airflow.

Stagger Arrivals and Entry to Set

  • Call times should be staggered so that each department is given access at timed intervals, to prevent crowding upon arrival to set. Limit set access to essential personnel only.

  • We highly recommend a check-in area with the Infection PreventionCompliance Supervisor (IPCS) for crew and cast to receive/verify their safety equipment for the shoot day, fill out a check-in form (temperature, symptoms in the last 14 days, travel outside of the Metro, etc..) and a waiver/signed statement from the production companies if applicable.

  • We recommend obtaining some kind of signed statement or waiver from talent and crew for your documentation. You are prohibited from asking individuals about their specific health condition(s).

Optimizing Workflow


  • To the extent possible, work should be coordinated in such a way that a minimum number of people are given access to a space at any one time. For example – Grip & Electric should not start work until the Art Department is finished and has exited, so forth and so on. This applies to meals and breaks as well

  • It is recommended that departments or clusters of departments stay in the same group throughout the production – call time, lunch time, wrap – in order to limit cross-contamination and so that if an infection arises it can be easily traced/tracked.

  • Time matters. Directors need to make sure every shot is planned carefully ahead of time minimizing takes to save time. If you worked on a set where film was loaded into a camera, then you will remember this well!

  • An 8 to 10 hour corporate or 10 to 12 hour TV/film workday should be adhered to. Things can get sloppy when people are tired, and we need everyone on top of their game to act with care for infection prevention. This may mean additional shoot days will be required.


Interior Shoots


  • People should still maintain a social distance of 6 feet while working on the job – this includes breaks and/or meals.

  • The maximum amount of crew allowed onsite at any one time is based on the size of accessible space at the shooting location. Each person requires a minimum of 15 feet2 for unfurnished space and 20 feet2 for furnished space.In KCMO the City currently requires 10 persons or 10% of capacity in an indoor space and 50 persons in an outdoor space. For all shoots, the maximum amount of people allowed on set in total is 50 (or based on current local guidelines).


Communications

  • We recommend individual crew members purchase their own headsets.When this is not possible, walkie talkies and headsets should be cleaned, disinfected, labeled and bagged daily for use by assigned crew person.

  • Sanitize replacement batteries in between uses. No one should carry replacement batteries for others.


Scene Restrictions

  • ALL of the following should be considered carefully on a case-by-case occurrence. Social distancing should be adhered to and practiced as much as possible.

  • At this time, it is irresponsible to shoot a large group scene based on the risk of exposure. For example, scenes in or at: a bar, crowd, sporting event, political rally, etc. A small group scene may be permitted with reasonable distance between actors.

  • Scenes requiring a larger number of people, whether interior and exterior scenes, may be permitted if social distancing can be maintained – extras in the background, etc.

  • Should physical contact between principle talent be required, good hand hygiene should be maintained – hand washing and hand sanitizing throughout the scene. More than light physical contact is strongly discouraged (i.e.,kissing, hugging, sexual encounters, etc.).


On Screen Talent


  • At this time, casting should be conducted remotely via video conferencing or like means

  • If a family is required for a scene, consider casting a “real” family or members of the same household to restrict any physical contact to within that family unit.

  • At this time, anyone within a high-risk category should not be cast until specific health restrictions are lifted by Federal, state, tribal, local or territory authorities. Those at highest risk are people: > 65 years of age, nursing home or long-term care residents or those suffering from chronic lung disease, asthma, heart conditions, immunocompromised, with severe obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, or liver disease. Note: the ADA places restrictions on employers when it comes to asking job applicants to answer medical questions, take a medical exam, or identify a disability. https://www.eeoc.gov/pre-employment-inquiries-and-medical-questions-examinations

  • When casting, you may want to have backup talent on hold for principal roles.Work with the casting director with this in mind – cast a role + backup.


Hair and Makeup

  • If required by creative, Hair and Make-up should be reserved for principle talent only. By its nature, Hair and Make-up’s job requires very close proximity to another individual. Therefore, masks, face shields and gloves should be worn diligently. Talent can wear a mask through much of their hair and makeup application and should do so.

  • Before and after hair and make-up applications, both talent and the make-up artist are required to wash or sanitize their hands.

  • Any type of applicator (i.e. sponge, Q-Tips, mascara wand, lipstick, etc.) must be discarded after each make-up session. Make-up artists must take care to plan accordingly. A dedicated set of brushes and combs for each principle talent should be considered.

  • If principle talent can do their own make up, Hair and Makeup are encouraged to have a video conference with them prior to the shoot.

  • All background talent should be asked to come to set “make-up ready.”

  • Workstations must be cleaned between each user and spaced a minimum of 6 feet apart.


Wardrobe

  • Assisted styling is allowed for principle talent only. Before and after styling, both talent and stylist are required to wash or sanitize their hands.

  • When possible, all background talent should arrive on set wearing their own clothes. If this is not possible, Production Companies should provide dressing facilities where social distancing measures can be upheld.

  • As an extra precaution, all talent may want to consider changing in and out of their travelling clothes on set in a dressing facility.

  • Wardrobe may need extra time and support to ship clothing items to talent for fittings prior to the shoot. Wardrobe is encouraged to do videoconferencing for fittings with talent.

  • Seek permission from Clients to allow actors to keep purchased wardrobe.

Sound Department

  • PPE must be worn when in the presence of others and especially when inclose contact placing mics.

  • Clean and disinfect equipment before and after each use. Consider using boom audio whenever possible.

  • If using lav mics, make sure each is dedicated to a specific talent and labeled as such.

  • Disinfect Comteks (or other monitoring device) before and after each use and individually label these as well.

VTR and Digital Imaging Technicians

  • VTR & Digital Imaging Technicians will be more important than ever. The number of monitors on set will need to increase for key crew.

  • Budgets need to consider prep/testing day for these roles especially adding in the remote/live stream viewing element needed to keep agency & clients away from set.

Video Village

  • Encourage the use of a remote video village whenever possible. If not remote, the Video Village should be set up outside or at least in a separate area within the facility to maintain social distance. Keep the area ventilated.

  • To the extent possible, interactions between agency/client and crew should be kept to a minimum with dedicated “runners” reserved for this purpose.Notes and comments will need to be given to a dedicated runner who can deliver it to the AD who can then deliver it to the Director for consideration.Or even better, text, email or use another non-contact method of sending the information.

  • Chairs in all areas, including client areas, should have easy-to-clean, non-porous surfaces such as plastic or metal chairs.

Holding and Common Areas

  • If possible, all common areas and holding for talent should be set up outside or at least in a separate area within the facility to maintain social distance.

  • Seating should be arranged in such a way as to promote distancing. Consider assigned seats to help maintain and minimize social interaction between departments. This will help limit individuals to their respective work group during breaks.

  • Chairs in all areas should have easy-to-clean, non-porous surfaces such as plastic or metal chairs.

Craft and Catering

  • Buffet-style operations should not be permitted. All snacks and meals must be packaged or prepackaged off-site. Nothing can be prepared on-site. These items should be served in a way to avoid surface- and/or cross-contamination.

  • ALL drinks must be in single serving containers (bottles, cans, etc.) and served to crew by one craft service person.

  • Common areas in a serving area are not permitted: - Coffee station with self service - Snack bowls or unpackaged foods - Fruit that is not individually packaged

  • Mealtimes should alternate in shifts and social distancing should be maintained.

  • Any individual involved in the handling of the food or drinks should thoroughly wash their hands before wearing single-service gloves, change gloves between tasks, and repeat these steps until service is complete. Consult Federal or local food code regulations for more information.

Grip & Electric

  • Gear and equipment should be cleaned and sanitized prior to a job. This should be done by a rental house for any equipment rented. But confirm on your own as well. Clean and disinfect gear before or after the workday. If equipment is handled by only one person, you could consider cleaning and disinfecting between jobs.

  • Reduce the number of people touching equipment and/or have people assigned to touch specific equipment within the department.

Camera Department

  • Camera equipment should be cleaned and sanitized prior to a job. This maybe done by a rental house for any equipment rented but make sure on your own as well. Clean and disinfect before or after the workday. If equipment is handled by only one person, you can consider cleaning and disinfecting between jobs.

  • Reduce the number of people touching equipment and/or have people assigned to touch specific equipment within the department.

Art Department


  • Keep in mind porous materials are not as easy to clean as other material. As much as possible use easy to clean items.

  • Allow the appropriate amount of time to achieve pickups and drop-offs.

  • Make decisions on the tech scout and get approvals from the Agency / Client as early as possible.

  • Consider potential value of prep and strike days. This may be combined with location cleaning requirements.

  • Allow for time to switch out and sanitize props when necessary.

  • Coordinate between Art and Wardrobe departments regarding the handling of jewelry, bags, etc.

Production Office

  • Limit the Production Office to essential personnel only. Limit the number of people in the office at any one time. Ask yourself, can any of this work be done from home/remote?

  • Keep the space properly ventilated, to help reduce or remove airborne particles.

  • When using a shared printer make sure to use gloves or finger caps and disinfect the areas you touched after use. Regularly clean and disinfect keyboards, phones, monitors and office supplies. Remember to clean high-touch areas (doorknobs, light switches, toilets, etc.) well and often.

  • Ask deliveries to drop at the door or text upon arrival and then meet you outside of the PO.

Paperwork, Timecards, and Money

  • It is time to go paperless for timecard payroll if you have not already! If you need resources for this, let us know at KC Film.

  • Everyone should do as much paperwork offsite as possible.

  • Contactless payment is preferred over cash going forward – using Venmo, PayPal or prepaid debit/credit cards. Consider giving departments that need to make purchases their own credit card or prepaid/reloadable debit card.

  • As much as possible, use digital forms and email to transfer documents.

  • Be very mindful with handling paper, mail, packages, etc.

Transportation


  • If needing to transport multiple people, consider small busses.

  • Assign individual drivers to each vehicle and keep the windows open for airflow.

  • With less people to a vehicle, expect multiple trips.

Animals / Animal Wrangling


  • Even though rare for humans to contract COVID-19 from animals, it canspread on an animal’s fur.

  • Any actor interfacing with an animal needs to be evaluated and should be overseen by an Animal Safety Monitor and the IPCS.

SECTION 3: PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES

In addition to the health recommendations and requirements to limit the spread of COVID-19, we have provided the following information to further reduce the risk of exposure for those on set.


Masks and Gloves

  • Production Company will provide masks for all people on set (paper or cloth– refer to the Face Coverings document below). We strongly recommend their use while working inside and whenever other people are present.Likewise, production companies should provide single-use, latex or nitrile gloves for essential crew.

  • We recognize that there may be a temptation to reduce social distance when wearing a mask and gloves, but distancing will be enforced by IPCS and the Production Company. Refer to the Face Coverings document for proper wear and removal of masks.

  • Although we discourage this, we understand some Production Companies will allow crew to bring their own PPE (masks, gloves, face shields, etc.). These masks must be clean and must cover the nose, mouth and chin. Note:Production Companies will still need to have PPE on hand.

  • Production Companies should take the cost of PPE and the time it takes to acquire PPE into consideration when budgeting and planning.

  • Make sure that PPE is properly worn, regularly inspected, maintained, and replaced, as necessary. Refer to Face Coverings document.

  • Resources for purchasing PPE in Kansas City https://www.kcppe.com


Ventilation

  • Indoor air circulation is an important measure in reducing airborne particles.When possible, increase ventilation within the facility by opening windows/doors, using portable fans, running the HVAC system, etc.

Staffing / Hiring Talent

  • Consider hiring cast and crew who have not travelled outside of the Metro KC area in the last 14 days. As much as possible keep the same people on the entire job.

  • Keep backups in mind or on hold for talent and crew in the case that someone falls ill or has a sudden need to be quarantined.

Links and resources appendix provided in the attached PDF.


DISCLAIMER: This information has been compiled from several Federal and local agencies and adapted from other film industry resources that consulted their respective government agencies. The COVID-19 pandemic remains a fluid situation. The most up-to-date information was provided at the writing of this document. In the days to come, some of the material(s) may become outdated. This document is meant strictly to provide guidance and to share best practices.


About the Authors

Eric Bowles is a Nationally Registered Environmental Health Specialist and Registered Sanitarian (REHS/RS). He has more than 20 years of environmental health experience (regulating, inspecting, assessing, licensing, educating, investigating, etc.) for private, public and non-profit organizations. He is currently employed as an Environmental Hygienist at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. Stephane (Steph) Scupham is the Director of KC Film Office and serves as Kansas City’s Film Commissioner. She is certified by the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) and has worked in the film and commercial production industry for more than 20 years. *This document was reviewed by industry professionals who offered feedback in three rounds.

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