2020 has already been a life changer for most of the world as everyone was forced into quarantine and had to reconstruct the way we live around COVID-19. Now, walking through the streets, we see it littered with people wearing masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer bottles clipped to the side of their jeans so they can whip it out any second like an old western movie. We spend more time locked away at home, streaming movies rather than going to the movie theater to avoid large groups of people. This quarantine has changed how we consume movies and it seems we may have lost the communal aspect of experiencing movies in a dimly lit theater with a crowd of moviegoers laughing and screaming together. Many more aspects of the film industry are going to have to change as a result of the recent pandemic. What long term effects could COVID-19 have on the movie industry? One of the few aspects of staying indoors that are keeping everyone sane is watching new content. However, many production companies are closing their doors in order to keep their employees safe and helping stop the spread of COVID-19. According to sources, many are waiting to begin filming until 2021 to hopefully wait out the pandemic and resume business at a safer time. This begs the question of what will keep peoples’ minds occupied during the infamous Coronavirus? The entertainment business has always been a source of happiness for many Americans during the hardest of times, and being locked in our homes, we will need it more than ever.
The answer comes down to Tyler Perry’s new production studio that was built just last October. Tyler Perry has amused many of us with his character Madea and put Atlanta on the map as the new Hollywood. He’s a pioneer in the industry, and he has come forth again to save us from the boring and repetitive lifestyle of quarantine. He is one of the first people thinking about how to bring people back to work without putting them in harm’s way and is even planning on hiring new people. This will most likely comfort people in the industry who are concerned about finding work, especially since he will be offering extra pay due to the circumstances. Tyler Perry, whose production facility was a former military base, wants to re-open the studio but with some new rules implemented. Every cast and crew member will have to be tested before walking onto his 330-acre studio and will be required to stay on the site for the duration of production. While this seems like it could be terrible to be quarantined at work, there are many options for every staff member to have their own space and facilities that will take care of their every need. He has fully functional houses that were used as sets in previous productions and sources mentions that there are old houses that were kept on location after Perry bought it that remain useable. He also kept the 141 barracks from the location’s previous military cite that can be used by staff members. There is a restaurant for the hungry, a bar for the thirsty, and a luxurious gym for the athletic crew member. The old military base could be more comfortable for them than being locked up in their own homes while remaining secure in the fact that their health is safe. Perry also has big plans to reconstruct an old hospital set used for previous television shows into a real medical facility. This will ensure that no crew member must leave for a medical emergence and that there can be regular check-ups to monitor peoples’ health as they continue working. He plans on bringing a doctor and a couple of nurses on facility grounds that the crew can feel free to contact at anytime if they feel something is amiss.
Of course, this would mean that they could only open-up to a limited number of productions and will probably only be open to Perry’s six television shows. No other production will be allowed to film during this time to avoid the accumulation of too many people in one area. Perry plans on keeping two hundred staff on facility grounds which is a major cut back from his usual crew. Everyone, including himself will always have to use masks and gloves unless they are on screen. Sources indicate that each television show could take up to two and a half weeks to film, making the crew and Perry stay on site for three weeks total. After three weeks, they will be allowed back home for one week and then are expected to return to Tyler Perry’s studio to continue filming. The change in operation could be the new norm for many working in the filming industry. Crew might experience being away from their regular lives even more than usual. Being confined to the site makes sense to keep everyone safe but also could be a strain on the staff’s personal life. There will have to be many adjustments made for people to get back to regular life and work during such troubling times.
Since Tyler Perry is the first to consider re-opening, there are still many problems that have not been solved. Concerned people are asks some major questions about the effects of opening such a large facility. What happens when there are not enough testing kits for the crew members? As many of us are aware, getting tested for COVID-19 has been a difficult task because of the lack of reliable testing methods. It could become difficult to test the two hundred people that are required for the production of his television shows. The second question focuses on what staff might do when there is a family emergency or something that requires them to leave the production site. Would they have to be retested or would they have to lose their job to keep the production site quarantined? And will scenes that require actors to touch intimately, such as kissing or hugging, be used? These are interesting questions that Tyler Perry is trying to find the answer to. It is important to note that Perry is not trying to open his production studio as fast as he can. He trying to approach this situation with caution and creativity in the wake of a pandemic. These problems will be solved before the opening of his facility and will be just as prudent as the rest of his ideas for the reopening. He is trying to work with the Mayor of Atlanta and the CDC to make sure everything will be done safely and responsibly. They will have every base covered before opening to ensure the safety of their crew while being able to bring people back to work and providing entertainment to the quarantined masses. Perry is the first in the United States to begin this process of re-opening production and it is only natural that there will be kinks to work out. This will pave the way for more production companies to slowly begin work again and they will gain their knowledge about how to do that safely from people like Perry.
Tyler Perry gives us a glimpse at how our new world after quarantine will resume. There will have to be new rules implemented in every aspect of life to keep everyone safe. It could be a while before we can throw away the masks and gloves and actually get close to another human without being fearful. Until then, everyone is trying to figure out a way to work with the new safety precautions and the filming industry is no exception. It does beg the question of what will be the long-term effects on the industry? How could this affect the crew members and actors’ careers? What will be the new way we consume and produce films and television shows when movie theaters are not open? These are the questions that everyone is trying to figure out and it is comforting to know that someone is working on bringing that normality back when everything seems at a standstill. One day, this will be a distant memory and people can contribute major changes to the movie industry to this historical moment in time. Now we can look forward to Tyler Perry’s new work and know that this is going to be a new beginning for all of us.