We are surprisingly crazy busy. But we're the only group. A few of our productions are committed to finish what they started earlier this year. But the majority are afraid to start a show with a possible lockdown in the near future.
We started june 22nd. Loaded out Holey Moley 2. Fortunately, the US completed our segment before COVID hit. But all the international segments were canned.
The week after we resumed Card Sharks 2 and finished the season. Audience areas turned into scenery. They had production, pa's, and family fill in the few seats that remained. The loophole shows are working at the moment is family members don't have to social distance so they can fill little clusters for audience.
That same week we also packed up Family Feud to move to Atlanta where Steve Harvey resides so that they can finish the season. We shot 12 out of 50 shoot days (3 episodes per day), so a lot left to shoot. I was lucky to escape having to go to Atlanta... they start installing in Atlanta next week.
The next show started after July 4th... Haute Dog for HBO. It's a dog grooming show LOL. Don't need talent! Just bring the puppies! Production was creative with this one and shot it in a random studio in Simi Valley... aka ventura county so they aren't threatened by LA county rules.
This same week we revamped the Big Brother set. The last set sat for 7 years! It was time for a new look. They're on season 22 yikes!
This week we actually started a new show -- A reboot of Supermarket Sweep. There was a lot of drama, as we originally planned to do it on a Disney Studios stage back in March. The week before we were scheduled to go back in, Disney back tracked and said they weren't ready for post covid yet. Production was committed to see this through, so despite all the engineering and rigging design that was done, we started looking for a new stage. The show's footprint is massive (we're practically recreating a grocery store), so it was a struggle as there are only a limited number of large studio stages in LA. All the stages that could've worked were unavailable. We ended up deciding to go into an airport hanger 4 days before the scheduled install, so we had to scramble. Airport hanger was good and bad.... good is it's not a studio lot so we can't get "shut down" on unless the governor deems full lockdown. Bad in that a studio hanger isn't a sound stage... it's hard to hang a show, it isn't sound proof, and it doesn't have the infrastructure needed for TV. So 4 days before install, we rushed a new rigging and production plan, created new schedules, and put together in 2 days what normally takes 2 weeks. We're 4 days into install and it's been challenging as everything takes twice if not 3x as long to install in a hangar, but we're allotted the same time frame to deliver.
Next week we were suppose to start Nailed It season 4, but we received word today that they are postponed until further notice. The other shows that were lined up for later in the month also postponed -- Legend of the Hidden Temple Reboot, Making It season 3, and a few random pilots.
The next few shows that haven't pulled the plug yet unfortunately are in Atlanta, so I'm not sure I can avoid traveling entirely if I want to keep working. The Go-Big Show scheduled for late august is asking all locals and traveling crew to agree to quarantine for 6 weeks at on campus housing near the studio -- 2 weeks quarantine, and 4 weeks of no going out while working. All meals will be provided. Tyler Perry Studios is new and was built on a military base and have on campus housing. Currently we cannot find any local crew that will agree to these terms haha. The other Atlanta shows are Family Feud, Biggest Loser 19, and Steve on Watch.
In regards to COVID, we're getting tested 3 times a week. Every production is doing their own testing, so it's not a centralized effort yet. I've been swabbed 18 times since going back to work... i'm the safest guy out there! Tomorrow morning will be #19 The job site is broken up into pods to contain a breakout if it were to occur. With the amount of testing we're doing, i feel super safe at work. Everything is locked down. But it's easy to do now since almost no productions are back. But once the episodic shows start pushing in september, i probably won't feel the same as it will get much busier on the lots. I honestly don't see how sustainable this will be when everyone is back.
That said there are 5 productions that I know of that have had an outbreak on set. Only 1 was local to us, and they were the first first back and didn't establish testing and covid rules yet. The other 4 were traveling shows, so it was inevitable.
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