Cover image provided by: Tyler Farr from the set of Avocado Toast.
What does each film department look like in a world with COVID-19 precautions? As new set safety norms start to settle in, we’ve been gathering feedback from productions and crew members on how these changes have evolved their job duties.
We spoke with one crew member who shared her experience in the Hair & Make-up Department. Kathy Lynch is a Head of Hair Department for film and series productions that started working in the Utah Film Industry in 2014. When COVID-19 shut everything down, the Utah film industry was on pause until things slowly started to reopen in May. Most recently, Kathy just finished working on a three-week Hallmark film called, The Christmas Bow, which premieres on Sunday, November 8th on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.
Kathy Lynch, Head of Hair Department
How have your job duties evolved/changed in response to the pandemic?
Pretty much everything about the Hair & Make-up Department has changed in response to COVID-19. The Department Heads can now only do a couple of the main cast and can’t touch anyone else. Our Key Hair & Make-up Artists do the next few actors on the call sheet. We wear face masks and shields whenever we are in direct contact with our actors since they can’t have their masks on in our chairs or on camera. Our job is to keep them safe. We take extra time to wipe our stations down between actors and have complete set bags and tools for each person. Other crew members are not allowed in our trailer and all departments limit interactions with others to minimize possible exposure.
What day-to-day precautions are new normals on set?
Our production had saliva COVID-19 testing twice a week. Each day, we begin with a temperature check, and each person is given a new different colored wristband to show we’ve been cleared. There are HEPA filters in our trailers and around set to help with air quality. Craft services have a hand-washing station and hand sanitizer to use before touching coolers and everything is prepackaged. Our lunches are ordered on a spreadsheet each morning and one person from each department picks them up. We have two medics on set and a COVID-19 Production Assistant who is constantly wiping down common surfaces and handing out hand sanitizer.
What advice would you give to those who aren’t sure what to expect returning to set?
It feels really nerve-racking to go from social distancing in your day-to-day life to back to being in close contact with people, but once you get into the swing of all the set safety protocols, it definitely feels better. The biggest thing is to remember that if you want to work you have to protect the production on your time off by not coming in contact with people that aren’t being safe. No one wants to be responsible for their whole department getting let go. It is possible to work and be safe.
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This interview has been slightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Allie Russell is the Marketing Coordinator for the Utah Film Commission. For any press and media inquiries, contact the Utah Film Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.