Paper scripts could go away under production guidelines

(CREDIT: Tina Carbone)

California is preparing to reopen the film production industry on June 12. The Illinois Film Office is preparing to issue film permits again. Oklahoma and Minnesota are open for filming. In other words, we are not far away from production again. But it won’t be production as we know it.

Since March, production has come to a standstill due to the COVID-19  outbreak, putting hundred of projects on hold and thousands of industry people out of work.

Last week, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers outlined, in a 22-page white paper, recommendations for reopening production to California Gov. Gavin Newsom and to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health.

Reel 360 has obtained this report and we will be looking at highlights all week.

Virus on Surfaces

Concerns about the virus lingering on surfaces, specifically paper, is a concern of production. The AMTPT report suggests lowering the possibility of potential transmission of COVID-19 among cast and crew by, “minimizing the use of paper whenever possible.”

The AMTPT suggests exploring alternatives such as electronic scripts and electronic sign-in/out for cast and crew. “When paper scripts are unavoidable, they should be assigned to a specific individual, clearly labeled with their name, and not shared between others.”

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Other recommendations include:

• Consider alternatives to petty cash to minimize the need to handle paper money, such as purchase cards.

• Crew lists, call sheets, production reports and other similar documents should be electronic whenever possible.

• When use of shared paperwork is required, such as blueprints or editing binders, hand hygiene before and after handling is recommended.

Will writers continue to appear on set – especially when television is such a writer’s forum? The document suggests moving the actual TV writers’ room to a virtual room.

ALSO READ: Guiding principles for reopening film production

However, when virtual writers’ rooms are not possible, the report suggests maintaining 6 feet of distance, use face coverings, and perform hand hygiene before and after the meeting. Minimize use of paper.

The changes reflect what might possibly be a temporary normal. Or it could be THE NEW NORMAL.


Colin Costello is the West Coast Editor of Reel 360. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @colinthewriter1