COVID-19 Infects Entertainment Production

Filming will have to adapt to new methods due to COVID-19


Photo Illustration by Sarah McMeekin

Throughout the pandemic, theaters have been closed to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Sarah McMeekin, Entertainment Editor

COVID-19 has put into question the futures of many aspects of people’s lives, and television and movie production are no exception.  Entertainment creators are having to find new ways to continue filming and releasing new movies to the public while maintaining COVID-19 regulations.  

The television and movie programs that are being released during COVID-19 face unprecedented social distancing restrictions. A few challenges entertainment creators have had to overcome are the inability to have large crowd scenes and film in foreign countries where travel is restricted. Another threat to production is that the budget may increase due to filming time being extended because of quarantine instances. More space for cast and crew is required to maintain social distancing.  

A large question looming in film and television writers’ minds is whether to incorporate the pandemic into the storyline of television shows and moviesOn one hand, the writer doesn’t want to ignore the reality of COVID-19, but on the other hand viewers might not want to watch actors interact through masks and social distance. A trend that could be foreseen is writers setting television show or movies in the past to avoid the question altogether. 

On a discussion panel hosted by the Television Academy, Krista Vernoffexecutive producer of the well-known medical drama Grey’s Anatomy stated that the show will include COVID-19 in its upcoming season.  

There’s no way to be a long-running medical show and not do the medical story of our lifetimes,” Vernoff said. “We’re going to address this pandemic for sure.  

The release of new movies including Wonder Woman 1984Mulan, and A Quiet Place Part 2 have been postponed from their original release date in late spring or early summer to now being released this fall. Some production companies, like Marvel, have postponed the release of new movies to October in the hopes that they will be accessible in theaters by then. Others have decided to use streaming services, like Disney Plus and Hulu, to release new movies that often have to be purchased along with owning an account to the streaming service.   

Film Studies teacher, Katie Cockrell, approves new movies release on streaming services due to economic concerns of film production. 

“I think the choice that some studios have made about releasing films directly to streaming services is a necessary step in keeping the public safe, but also a way to ensure that the film is still able to produce revenue for those involved in its production,” Cockrell said. 

In order to follow stay at home orders, many talk shows, like The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and The Ellen Show, switched from producing their show in a studio with an audience and rotating in person guests to filming in their own homes and video calling guests. This gives viewers a new look into the lives of talk show hosts and often a more comfortable feeling to the show, as children and dogs can often accidentally make an appearance.   

The second season of the popular Netflix shows The Society and I Am Not Ok With This have been cancelled due to COVID-19 related production concerns. Concerns include an unexpected budget increase and difficulty of managing a large cast like The Society. Both shows had been scheduled to air a second season in 2021 and I Am Not Ok With This already had a written script.  

Sully Hammond (11) watched the first season of The Society on Netflix and was disappointed when it was cancelled.  

They’re cancelling a show with a very diverse cast…I think it’s a bad decision on Netflix’s behalf because they’ll lose lots of money,” Hammond said.