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COVID requirements for SAG films

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Kevin Machate's picture
Joined: May 2020
COVID requirements for SAG films

I started the SAG paperwork for Milton yesterday and while I knew there were additional measures in place, I didn't realize the scope.

Long story short, there are A LOT of new requirements (This is my 3rd SAG short film) that weren't an issue prior to the pandemic. I guess we were all thinking things would have loosened up a bit, but that hasn't happened, and there's no telling when it will.

As of now, every set requires a COVID Compliance Officer (CCO) to be on set at all times. Luckily this person can have another role, so I went ahead and took the certification course and I'll do it myself. 

Another unexpected hurdle was not just mandatory testing (Even for vaccinated individuals) but also if you're using one of three specific tests if you are doing rapid testing on site. Luckily I was able to find some (most are sold out) but at ~$11 per test, it definitely makes me want to keep the crew very small.

I don't think it's terribly difficult or complicated, but as the producer, it's $500 more added to the budget plus all the extra actual tasks involved.

If anyone else is dealing with this, I'd be interested to hear how you're managing. 

Steve Garry's picture
Joined: Sep 2016

I didn't realize it would be this involved - maybe just daily testing, but not the bureaucracy.

Over the last year and a half I thought I had just the project to beat this situation:  A single-character art-house end-of-worlder.  I even joked in the pitches that the young woman in front of the screen can't get infected by any co-actors; meanwhile, the crew behind the camera could all be in biohazard suits.

I guess it wasn't funny, as I got almost no hits on the script.

Kevin Machate's picture
Joined: May 2020

I didn't either. I wasn't aware that weekly testing (starting day 1) was still required, especially if there's a vaccine mandate. (Which you can instill if you want to). All in all it cost me about $500 more in unplanned expenses, including the certification. Hypothetically I might be able to get that back if I were to get hired as the CCO for someone else's set. Still, with only 3 brands of tests being authorized, it puts a huge burden on the producers.


As for no reads, that's pretty normal. It partially depends on length. This one gets a fair amount because it's 7.5 pages but my 30 page award-winning horror gets almost none. I have a 33 pager that only gets read now because it was a semifinalist at AFF last year. Otherwise I don't think anyone would read it. With more than 10k scripts on this site alone, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle.

CJ Walley's picture
Script Revolution Founder
Joined: Jul 2016

Cost us an extra $20K on our last film because employing CCO's and testing was so expensive. We also had to rent special air fiiltration machines for indoor locations that didn't meet certain MERV standards. Santiser we can get for free.

Also meant I couldn't be on set due to the travel ban. 

Student Filmmakers Magazine did a piece on our production and what we went through. Check out Page 18 here.

Shane also does a webinar on the topic over on Stage 32.