Life After Lockdown: Showbiz, celebrities go experimental as entertainment industry gasps for air

Jan Milo Severo - Philstar.com
Life After Lockdown: Showbiz, celebrities go experimental as entertainment industry gasps for air

Philstar.com's Life After Lockdown is a compendium of references on Filipinos' shift to a new normalcy during a coronavirus pandemic.

MANILA, Philippines — More cities and municipalities, especially in Metro Manila, are expected to reopen by June, and the past months of lockdown and strict social distancing to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus severely affected the once-bustling entertainment industry.

Guidelines are being drafted for the resumption of the production of movies and television shows, but widespread uncertainty is delaying production longer than entertainment bosses hope.

  • Filmmakers are unsure of how to proceed considering that theater producers have also halted operations, admitted Joel Lamangan, board member of the Directors Guild of the Philippines. Despite being given the green light resume shooting, Lamangan said it won't be easy with the COVID-19 threat still lingering.
  • Over the restarting of production, Lamangan has a battery of questions: “Ilang tao ang kailangan mag-shooting? Bibigyan ba ng test ang lahat ng sasabak sa shooting? Hanggang kailan ang shooting? Kailangan ba may mga kissing scene? Gaano ba kalapit ang bawat isa kapag nagsu-shooting na? Paano ang dating ng mga tinatawag naming mga equipment na galing doon sa kumpanya, lahat ba ito ay idi-disinfect? Gaano ba katagal ang tinatawag nating quarantine bago pumasok sa pagsu-shooting? Ang isang komunidad ba ay iku-quarantine kung iyon ang location? Saan ang location? Ano ang treatment sa location? Paano ang treatment sa mga manggagawa sa loob ng isang shooting?"

Networks are trying to beat the clock in finalizing protocols and exploring unchartered territory as they figure out how to resume shooting and taping of shows.

  • In GMA Network's case, production guidelines that are being crafted will entail "strict rules and measures" for cast and crew. "We are working out... what types of precautions we will need to reinforce to ensure the safety and well-being of our talents, production teams and employees,” GMA Corporate Affairs and Communication’s Marian Antonio told Philstar.com.
  • ABS-CBN is similarly finalizing its measures for production. Piolo Pascual, one of its most bankable actors, noted in a streamed discussion titled "Actors' Cue" how audiences and fans will adjust to how films and shows are shot, distributed and viewed.
  • "There will be a lot of changes in terms of how we’ll be working with each other. Film viewing will now be via livestreaming. It’ll be more intimate, because we can’t go to the cinemas anymore," Pascual said. "For me, it’s important to take on a character who is going through a journey, because I want to be able to embark on that journey with him."
  • Experimental film is being explored. The online success of Unconfined Cinema’s first Instagram film “Love Team” directed by Antoinette Jadaone and starring John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo has been encouraging.

The Philippines can follow guidelines for on-set social distancing abroad. Reports say that Australia has resumed filming “Neighbors” under strict guidelines. The studio space has been divided into quadrants, with three production teams isolated from each other and only three actors allowed to cross between the groups.

  • In case someone gets sick, only the group whose member is affected will be suspended and the shoot can continue with the other two groups.
  • There will be a nurse on set, and everyone entering the site will have their temperatures checked.
  • Male actors will have no makeup, female actors will not be touched up.
  • There will be no physical contact between actors including kissing, holding hands or intimate scenes.
  • Actors will also practice social distancing, with camera trickery used to make them look closer together.
  • There will be no outside extras, with crew members already on set doubling as background.


Crowds at live shows have become a distant reality and performers try to devise creative ways to reach audiences and earn at the same time without violating distancing protocols.

  • Mass gatherings are still prohibited under a general community quarantine, but it looks like international and local concerts are called of for the rest of the year or until the country is declared COVID-19-free.
  • Local musicians cannot expect gigs to to resume in an era of "new normal" as venues and restaurants close down or heavily invest in structures providing safe spaces.
  • Imago’s vocalist Kiara San Luis told Philstar.com that the government has yet to draw up guidelines for musicians. She said performers and artists try to engage fans through online interviews and pre-recorded performances for fans.






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