How does the coronavirus affect making feature films in Hollywood?

The coronavirus and its restrictions have impacted the entire world. Hollywood no less. A report from Ampere Analysis even states that the global entertainment industry, including TV and online advertising, will suffer a 160 billion dollar hit over the next five years (factcheck at the end). Yes, the coronavirus has a stranglehold on Hollywood and its filmmaking. But in what way? And will the effects of the coronavirus keep having influence in future Hollywood?

A production by Tringa Hasaj and Tijmen Schauwaert

Due to the coronavirus, filming in Hollywood has paused for several months now. Studios are closed and productions are temporarily shut down. All information concerning the closing and re-opening of Filmland can be read in the visual below:



What will be the restrictions on set? What will be different than before?

Film sets are heavily impacted by the restrictions concerning the coronavirus. Cast and crew members are required to keep a six feet distance from others. There shall be no more personal contact. Seems obvious, but it’s not practical at all. How about putting all cast and crew members in quarantine first? Producer Effie T. Brown (Dear White People) talks about this in the following audio interview:

effie t. brown – film and television producer

Will the restrictions be noticeable in the film?

Probably there will be no visible differences on film when cast and crew members are put in quarantine first. The film could be shot exactly as it was supposed to. But if the six feet distance-restriction is put to use instead, this could mean a temporarily change of filmmaking. Stories would have to be altered, according to Los Angeles-based film editor Nancy Richardson. She talks about her views in the following interview:

Nancy richardson – film editor

The making of films in Hollywood has been put on hold for about three months. Even now, the restart of shooting will not begin until at least June 12. People are already talking about the restart and the possible restrictions it will bring along. What are these restrictions and will they be noticeable in the final film?

“No kissing scenes, no intimate scenes, no hand-to-hand combat and probably no casting of people over 65 or anyone who is at risk healthwise”, says Nancy Richardson, a film editor (Twilight, Divergent) and a professor at UCLA (head of post-production). Changes as such are currently being discussed in Hollywood. People in the film industry are trying to figure out how to stage a scene where the actors have to be six feet apart. That is something for every writer especially to puzzle out.

However, that does not cover all of the changes. There can be no more scenes in dance clubs where everyone is close together, neither can there be scenes where twenty people are cramped into an elevator. These aspects of films will have to be altered. “You just have to re-envision every single scene for what its thematic content was”, Richardson explains. “But the trick is to try and capture what the point of that particular story is. Will these changes and restrictions be perceptible to the audience? Absolutely. It will be a complete revamp of what content normally is.” So that means no more vampires sucking blood off people’s necks. That is, for now.

According to Richardson, this experience will be different for everyone. Some can find it very stressful to work under these circumstances. But others can see this as an opportunity to delve further into their creativity and come up with something profound. Richardson: “And that will be groundbreaking. Throughout history, our creative storytellers have figured out how to tell fantastic stories in the greatest times of hardship. I have faith that that will happen now as well.”

Are the writers in for a challenge? Most certainly. Richardson adds: “But this is the way life is right now. You can still tell a love story of two people who can’t kiss. The stories are going to change. The trick is to find out how to strike a chord with the audience. And I think that a good storyteller will be able to do just that.”

Will the coronavirus influence the future of filmmaking?

The question is if there will be any elements of the coronavirus left in future Hollywood. Director, producer and writer James Kicklighter shares his thoughts on this subject in the video underneath:


Hollywood will proceed making films no sooner than June 12.

The coronavirus will be playing an active role. To keep the cast and crew members safe, two optional scenarios could happen: Either personal contact should be avoided with a distance of six feet (on-screen and off-screen), or all cast and crew members will have to quarantine at least ten days prior. Once they return to set, cast and crew won’t be able to leave until shooting is done. This second scenario is said to be much more practical than keeping six feet distance on set.

Following the second scenario, changes won’t be noticeable in the final film. Following the first scenario, they will: Films will have to change. Stories will have to change. If actors are not allowed to have physical contact, it will surely be visible in the final product.

The virus will have some of its influence remaining in the film industry, such as practicing hygiene. Where cast and crew members were rather careless about consumption and feeling sick, they probably will be more cautious about it in the future.

Despite all circumstances, one fact remains: The film industry will not give in to the coronavirus.

Unsplash. Unsplash.

Extra – Factcheck: Will the entertainment industry lose 160 billion dollars?

The article ‘Entertainment Industry’s Coronavirus Hit Estimated at $160 Billion Over 5 Years’ was uploaded by Hollywood Reporter on May 21. The loss of an estimated 160 billion dollars would have much impact on the global entertainment industry. Is the rather big statement made by Hollywood Reporter correct?

In the first paragraph of the article, Hollywood Reporter makes clear that the original statement was made by research firm Ampere Analysis. A report, written by Guy Bisson, would be the original source. Reports by Ampere Analysis are reliable. The firm is a ‘market-leading data, research and analytics firm, specialising in media, content and communications’. Their clients include leading Hollywood Studios and other organizations in the broadcasting industry.

Confirmation, but…
The report ‘The Cost of Covid-19’ confirms the statement of a 160 billon dollar hit. The concerning piece is for sale on Ampere Analysis’ website. Other news platforms, such as Fox News, confirm the statement as well. There is only one oddity: The website of Ampere Analysis itself links to an article by Advanced Television, which is titled ‘Analysis: M&E to take $160bn Covid-19 hit’. The headline of this article uses the term ‘M&E’, which stands for ‘Media and Entertainment’. But that industry is not what the original analysis and report are about. The 160 billion dollar hit only concerns the entertainment industry. Ampere Analysis’ linking to an article that goes by an incorrect headline is confusing. Terms in data analysis should be used carefully and consequently.

In conclusion, the information is reliable. However, Ampere Analysis’ linking to an article that goes by an incorrect headline might cause confusion among the audience.