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California Governor Wants to Restart Movie and TV Production, but Hollywood Players Aren't Ready Yet

By Anders Bylund – May 21, 2020 at 10:30AM

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Gavin Newsom prodded his panelists for a positive response to his quick-restart ideas, but the producers, actors, and crew representatives focused on safety.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to roll out a framework for restarting movie and TV production in the Golden State, planning to publish the rules on Monday, May 25. Newsom made the announcement on a public video conference with eight representatives from the production side on Thursday morning. None of the panelists were excited about the prospect of a quick restart, often pushing back with COVID-19 safety concerns and calls for continued patience.

Not so fast, governor

The video conference included luminaries such as Netflix (NFLX -4.49%) content chief Ted Sarandos, Stacey Morris from the production crew of many NBCUniversal movies and TV series, and Ava DuVernay, writer and producer of Netflix hit When They See Us.

Sarandos agreed that production work has restarted successfully in places like Iceland and South Korea, but he didn't want to conclude that the lessons learned there would apply to California right away.

"The choices that we have to make today are not staying home or not," Sarandos said. "It really is, how do we get back to work safely?"

Photo of a cameraman and a film set clapboard in heavy fog.

Image source: Getty Images.

Key grip and union representative Danny Stephens said that his group is putting together safety practices that could put film crews back to work, tapping virology experts and gathering ideas from success stories like the international Netflix productions along the way. But he wasn't interested in rushing the schedule, either.

"We're going above and beyond [with these safety recommendations] because the last thing we want to do is have our industry shut down again," Stephens said.

Newsom signed off from the call on a positive note, promising to consider the cautious views of the video panelists in Monday's production restart recommendations.

Anders Bylund owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends Comcast. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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