On July 2nd (we’ve updated for July 6th), Mayor Eric Garcetti announced beaches, piers, and beach bike paths throughout Los Angeles County will be closed from Friday, July 3rd to Monday, July 6th. As of Thursday, July 2nd, 2020, the most recent available data shows there have been at least 107,667 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 2,204 new cases added in the last day. The total number of COVID-19-associated deaths is at least 3,454, with 55 new deaths recorded in the last twenty-four hours.

In a July 1st press conference, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new closures designed to slow the disheartening rate of coronavirus spread in 19 counties totaling close to 70-percent of California’s population. He said indoor operations must close at restaurants, wineries, zoos, museums, movie theaters, and other entertainment venues. Bars must close completely. This order applies to counties that were on a watchlist for three consecutive days. They are Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Merced, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Solano, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Ventura counties. Gov. Newsom also said parking lots will be closed at state beaches around Southern California and the Bay Area for the July 4th weekend. State beaches will close in counties that close local beaches, including Los Angeles. 

This is all well and good, but when’s production coming back?! There were many experts who predicted the virus would slow down in the summer months. According to Contagion Live, “Sunlight was found to inactivate severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in a new controlled environment assessment.” And the Journal of Infectious Diseases published a study which maintained, “Sunlight appears to rapidly inactivate the coronavirus.” It’s summer—plenty of sunshine—so when are we getting back to work?

Not so soon, it would appear. While a few projects are cautiously moving forward, a network producer recently confessed that although production had been scheduled to start up in August, now those plans have been put on hold due to the current COVID-19 surge. It’s expected that shoot times could essentially double as routines are implemented to protect cast and crew from infection.

On any given shoot, the whole idea is to “make your day.” Not in the Dirty Harry sense but rather in the getting all your shots and coverage in on time and on budget. The pace and intensity of a typical TV or movie shoot is something to behold. But with the current conditions of social and physical distancing, food and beverage requirements and strictures, and the face-mask mandate, making your day becomes tremendously challenging. So, production companies and directors are forced to scale back the scope of their productions and to cut down their budgets, as the COVID-19 strictures of screening, testing, and disinfecting tend to inflate appropriations. Studios are delaying the release of many of their films; films that are already in the can! Being they can’t even get out the content they currently have, it stands to reason they’ll be reticent to begin new work. 

Does this mean it’s all doom and gloom? Of course not. The movie industry will never die. There is too much history, talent, and momentum to upend such locomotive breath. However, it would behoove anyone who desires a future in this great industry to find a way to hang on for the time being, because this too shall pass. It’s been a long haul, but the game is long. Get creative, create your own work, broaden your skillset, and develop new and innovative strategies for your career.

Think of the Olympic athletes who trained for years to compete in the summer games, only to have the dream dashed by a crafty, insidious, and highly contagious disease. Do you think they’re going to give up and discontinue training? Stop lifting, throwing, running, and jumping? Not a chance. Approach your career like an Olympic hopeful, be full of optimism and ingenuity, grit and determination. But make no mistake, you’ll need to adjust your expectations and alter your approach. Find corona-safe productions; pursue self-tape auditions like crazy;  zoom conferences with other actors and filmmakers; create your own content; learn new monologues; write a script. It’s a brave new world, tailor-made for bold new actors and actresses.

In the midst of an unprecedented and unpredictable global plague, it’s important to have a short-term as well as a long-term plan. After all, 2020 has been absolutely baffling, and we have no idea how the worm will turn in the coming days.

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