I came up with ideas and suggestions for actor safety/distancing on set. I thought of these ideas and suggestions as I rewrote my latest feature script. They might be useful for you all. Some of these ideas and suggestions are simple. Some are outside of the box. Some are cheap. Some might cost more to do.
I've rewritten the script for actor safety/distancing (because of the virus and new production guidelines). I've done a separate rewrite where I went through the entire script focusing on actor safety/distancing. The ideas and suggestions below will decrease the spread of the virus.
There is no hugging, kissing, or sex in the script.
There are scenes that only have one actor.
The script has fight scenes, but:
1. The actual fighting in the fight scenes is short, so the actors won't be close to each other for long;
2. Most of the fight scenes only have two actors (the main character and the monster);
3. I've rewritten some of the fight scenes so it'll be safer for actors. I've replaced knives and brass knuckles with a Katana sword and a long spear (so actors will be farther apart in the fights). The Katana sword is about three feet long, and the spear is eight feet long. The weapons can be disinfected during and after scenes;
4. There are only five punches, one elbow, and a few kicks in the entire script;
5. I've figured out a way to have the monster (an actor; not CGI) bite characters without the actors being close to each other: make props of the hands and the legs that the monster will bite, then use camera shots so it looks like the hands and the legs are attached to a body. The same thing can be done when an actor punches, kicks, uses a sword, touches another actor, etc. The props can be disinfected during and after scenes.
Suggestions for actor safety/distancing on set:
1. In certain scenes, film actors separately, then use camera shots so it looks like the actors are in the scenes at the same time;
2. In certain scenes, put a board (or something) between actors so they don't spit, cough, sneeze, and breathe on each other. The board (or something) can be disinfected during and after scenes. The board (or something) can be removed in post-production;
3. In certain scenes, actors can wear medical gloves. The gloves can be removed in post-production;
4. In certain scenes, you can use large plastic boxes or large glass boxes (made of sugar glass, which is used in movies). Actors can perform inside of the plastic boxes or glass boxes, then the boxes can be removed in post-production. Plastic and glass are clear, so it might not be hard to remove them in post-production. Add breathing holes on the boxes for actors. Using plastic boxes or glass boxes will allow actors to perform scenes together. Note: I don't know how fragile sugar glass is, so adding breathing holes on sugar glass boxes might be difficult. Maybe add breathing holes as the sugar glass boxes are made;
5. If something needs to be filmed but it will put actors at risk, use CGI or come up with a creative alternative.
What ideas and suggestions do you (directors, actors, writers, producers, crew, etc.) have for actor safety/distancing on set?
Photo of gloves by Clay Banks (used with permission through Unsplash.com)