The Joint Policy Committee (JPC) has issued FAQs to provide additional information on the joint statement it released yesterday with SAG-AFTRA and the Producers' Guild of America (see this post) that recommended a pause in commercial production in Southern California.
A few highlights:
- Commercial productions are not prohibited by the statement. Instead, the statement includes a recommendation that there be a pause in production in SoCal, due, in part, to "the current lack of hospital capacity" in the region and the danger that this could pose to cast and crew who get injured or sick during a shoot.
- If you have a production scheduled for January that previously was cleared to go forward by the JPC and the union, the union will not shut down the production although it "prefers that production be paused."
- The union will not instruct its members not to work on any production that has been cleared. The FAQs note, however, that "if a performer does not want to work, you may not compel him or her to do so."
- If you have a production scheduled for January that previously has not been cleared, "the union and JPC will review the safety protocols for the production, but the clearance will be deferred pending the continued evaluation of the ongoing situation in Southern California." The statement does not specify the duration of this deferral.
- The recommendation in the statement applies to production in Southern California only, with Southern California defined as the "state hospital zone system that includes LA, Orange, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Imperial counties." The recommendation to pause production does not apply to any other locations.
- The recommendation applies to in-person filming only; self-filming (e.g., actors filming themselves in their own home) is not impacted.
- The FAQs state that "the union understands that people are doing the right thing by pausing production right now." So, if you cancel or postpone a shoot based on this recommendation, and if a performer or the union makes a claim for a cancellation fee, the JPC recommends you contact it to discuss the matter.
Bottom line: the FAQs clarify that the statement embodies a recommendation to pause production and is not a prohibition on production. An important caveat: the FAQs indicate that clearance by the union/JPC of new productions in January will be deferred for the present. However, if we have learned anything during the COVID era, it is that things can change quickly, and the situation on the ground in SoCal is being monitored closely by local authorities, JPC, the union and the entire production community. Stay tuned for more updates.