I do hope everyone had a restful and restorative Christmas and New Year’s break, because here we go again.
Like 2021, a false sense of security across the summer has been ended this year, quicker than last, with COVID bashing down the doors once more.Thankfully, production has been rolling in Auckland since the move to Orange and a number of shows are in production or have completed. We are all wiser about how to operate in a COVID environment, but the new strain means new adjustments for all.
The Government gave up on the elimination strategy last year and we are now faced with having to live with COVID in our personal and work lives.
At the Guild, we have conducted our risk assessment for the office and our events, which were severely impacted in 2021. A number of our workshops require close proximity between actors, whether it be Rehearsal & Performance, Directing In the Intimate Zone, or Rehearsal Dynamics. Others we are able to conduct in an online environment—not ideal but possible—like the Directors Masterclass, Director’s Toolkit, Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator, and the Table Reads that we do with NZWG.
We have reviewed all of these and our other one-off events and will be rolling out our Omicron-adjusted workshop and event programme from February. Keep an eye out for a new series of workshops that will look in detail at our template film agreements for directors (under development) and editors (already available), so that you can better understand and negotiate your contracts.
In the meantime, we all need to prepare for home isolation with the Omicron variant of COVID. If you haven’t already done this, you’ll find the Government’s information page on how to prepare your household for COVID here and the updated guidelines for life at Red here.
For those contemplating production, ScreenSafe continues to provide a comprehensive set of guidelines and advice for productions here. Continue to check regularly as this will update with Omicron and Rapid Antigen Testing.
We could well see for NZ productions the introduction of strict Zones on set with Omicron. If you want to understand what shape this could take, see the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and Teamsters document on COVID protocols on set, including how their Zone system works.
As always, the guilds are always contactable and ready to assist in these trying times. If you are having an issue, need some advice or assistance, or require some help, as members you can reach out to me or the ED of the organisation that represents you. So don’t hesitate.
Although we continue to be challenged by the pandemic we can still count our blessings that Aotearoa New Zealand hasn’t yet been as severely impacted as many other countries. It’s still summer. And with the acceptance that COVID is here to stay, we have more freedoms than in past systems used to control the spread.
Stay safe, stay well, and enjoy yourself wherever and whenever you can—it’s good for your wellbeing.