Gov. Gavin Newsom to release guidelines for TV, filmmaking to resume

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- In a virtual roundtable discussion with members of the television and film industries, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he'd soon be releasing guidelines to slowly reopen those sectors of California's economy.

The roundtable guests included:
  • Ava DuVernay, writer, producer, and director

  • Jon Huertas, actor and producer

  • Stacey Morris, hair stylist and barber

  • Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix

  • Danny Stephens, key grip


All of them expressed eagerness to get back to work as soon as safely possible. Production has been largely put on hold to avoid breaching social distancing requirements. Film releases have also been pushed back as movie theaters have been ordered to close.

Newsom said he'd be releasing guidelines on Monday, May 25 for TV and film production to resume in counties where it's safe. However, the governor said Los Angeles County would likely be several weeks behind more rural California counties, as the COVID-19 cases and deaths there continue to climb.

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The panelists brainstormed ways their industry may be able to creatively adapt to the new normal. Director and producer Ava DuVernay said her crew was considering implementing a system of rotating pods to reduce the number of people on set. Normally, she said, everyone tends to gather on set in case they're needed. But for the time being, people who work on hair and makeup or lighting may need to leave the area and just come back in as needed.

Netflix exec Ted Sarandos said certain types of content would be quicker to bring back online, like an outdoor documentary shot by only one or two people, and edited remotely. Similarly, shows that feature a panel of guests could resume with chairs spaced out.

But others, like hair and makeup stylists, may not be able to do their work without coming into close proximity with others. Hair stylist Stacey Morris pointed out it's impossible to apply makeup to an actor if he or she is wearing a face mask.

"To me, if we're returning to work and we're wearing hazmat suits, then it's not time to go back to work," Morris said.

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DuVernay emphasized that safety was everyone's number one priority.

"I lost a family member close to me. I lost a crew member. And that can't be in vain. We can't slide back," said DuVernay. "There are too many lives lost and too much we have to learn so those deaths aren't in vain."

Former presidential candidate and San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer, a member of Gov. Newsom's economic recovery task force, Secretary of Labor Julie Siu and Public Health Director Dr. Sonia Angell were also in attendance.

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Newsom held the roundtable discussion in lieu of his formerly daily press conference; the governor announced last week he would no longer hold those press briefings every week day.

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Past roundtable discussions have focused on COVID-19's economic impact on the retail sector.

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