How Tyler Perry Successfully Filmed A Television Show in the Time of Corona
By Allyson Vannatta, Senior Writer
What’s the key to making television during the pandemic? Tyler Perry said it’s testing, masks and entertaining his quarantined cast and crew when work is finished.
“Camp Quarantine,” the nickname for Tyler Perry Studios while Perry films his television shows. His system seems to be successful as SISTAS wrapped without a single case of the novel virus.
With production about to start on the next show, THE OVAL, Perry plans to take the same approach with health and safety precautions.
“I made sure that the cast and crew and everybody wore their masks when they weren’t on set” Perry told Variety. “And everybody adhered to that, even though we were all testing negative. I just didn’t want someone to be incubating with [COVID-19] for three to 12 days, and we not know it.”
Even though everyone had to wear the masks for 12 to 14 hours a day, Perry was strict.
“Listen, I was the mask police. Every time I saw something I was screaming about it,” he said. “It’s summer in Georgia so credit to the crew — it’s burning up here and they were still doing the right thing. So, I gave a lot more breaks for people to have water because we had a couple people that got dehydrated from all the heat, and the water breaks were actually the ‘breath break’ where you can pull your mask down, drink some water and get some fresh air.”
Perry also had Emory University’s Dr. Carlos Del Rio, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Colleen Kraft on site to handle testing.
The cast and crew were tested as soon as they arrived and every four days after.
Upon arrival, four people tested positive for COVID before they entered quarantine and were sent home immediately for medical attention. After that, no one tested positive again.
“I felt this wave of relief after the last test results, where everybody was negative, I was like, ‘Okay, we pulled it off,’ so I’m so proud of my crew,” Perry said. “I don’t know how any other production, if you’re not in quarantine, I don’t know how you do it, but testing is key.”
Finally, Perry knew he had to provide some entertainment for his hardworking cast and crew, which included some time to worship God.
“When you’ve got 360 adults were working these kinds of hours, of course, I had to have a bar, food trucks, and movie night on the lawn and church on Sunday, so that people could feel like they were at least not in prison,” Perry said.
Perry shared a video of the time in quarantine while they filmed with a caption That read, “We tested for COVID every 4 days, and thank God we were able to all remain COVID free as the bubble held up…Thanks for the prayers!! We can feel them.”
View this post on Instagram
We did it! We just wrapped season 2 of Sistas in our quarantine bubble at the studio. We called it Camp Q. 360 people all living on the lot for two weeks. We tested for COVID every 4 days, and thank God we were able to all remain COVID free as the bubble held up. Now onto The Oval. Thanks for the prayers!! We can feel them. @tylerperrystudios #SistasOnBET #TheOvalOnBET
Do you enjoy articles like this?
Click here to become a monthly partner and receive a movie for free!