BURBANK, Calif. – In anticipation of stay-at-home orders being lifted soon, Bob Bekian has revamped his entire production facility at Loyal Studios with new safety measures to encourage TV and film production companies to ramp up again.
He says finding new ways to adapt all starts with something the entertainment industry has in abundance - creativity.
“One thing that's interesting about the production community is we're super creative. I mean, we get on set and we're figuring things out all the time in real time. We know how to make adjustments happen, we know how to solve problems. So that's what we'd like to do, and we're ready to get back to work,” said Bekian.
Loyal Studios had to cancel 28 productions due to the coronavirus. Including shows like Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Below Deck, and Storage Wars. But Bekian and his team have come up with a number of on-set protocols to allow for more social distancing. Starting in the talent suite.
“Here we have a demonstration of how makeup can be done safely. The artwork of doing hair and makeup can be done from a distance by the talent doing it themselves but by a professional guiding them through the process,” said Bekian.
In the dining room tables have been marked to ensure people are spread out while they eat and work. And there won't be any more buffet style craft services.
“The food is all prepackaged and then it's in containers as well so nothing is out in the open,” said Bekian.
Loyal will also have new production methods in place to further ensure safety sound stages are usually filled with production staff and crew, but now these chairs will remain empty and equipment will be operated remotely.
“That keeps our talents safe and socially distance from the crew. And it creates a soundstage that's a completely isolated environment for our people that come in here,” said Bekian.
Loyal’s facilities are used for VFX, animation, multi-camera, and virtual reality production projects. And Bekian says all of this can still be done by creating a smaller, more strategic footprint, including the use of the latest technology.
Producer Maria Calleia says the new setup is both safer and more efficient. “We have fewer distractions. There aren't as many people on set I'm working with the director and the talent. I don't have to go near her. It's the only way to go at this point. And we want we want to get going.”
While production has not been specifically mentioned in the governor stage to a reopening lower risk businesses. Bekian says it needs to be.
“We are an important part of the economy. There's a lot of good people waiting to get back to work and there's a lot of content that needs to be created.”
Re-opening Hollywood will be a slow process. But getting people back to work and bringing some entertainment back into our lives will hopefully happen sooner rather than later.