On Pause: Savannah-area entertainment production and the millions it generates

On Pause: Savannah-area entertainment production and the millions it generates

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s an industry that has become a massive economic driver for Georgia, especially in the Savannah area. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s mostly at a standstill.

Right now, Savannah businesses could really use the economic boost the film industry provides. From caterers to dry cleaners to hair dressers; entertainment production generated just over $125 million in direct spending in 2019, according to the Savannah Regional Film Commission.

While productions hit the pause button for now, all businesses can do that cater specifically to the needs of the entertainment industry is prepare for their return.

Scott Gooch, Location Coordinator for Film Buildings said, “People like me and other people in the film industry here in Savannah, it’s just being prepared, getting ready for that to happen.”

Gooch’s business provides space for production crews to live and work.

He said they are adding more individual offices and adjusting living conditions to allow for more social distancing.

“Trying to think of things that will increase safety as well as reduce anxiety for people coming back to work," said Gooch.

How soon that will be is anybody’s guess.

Founder of the Savannah Film Alliance, Savannah attorney Charles Bowen, believes that might not happen anytime soon.

“I think it is doable. Certainly it’s going to take some tremendous effort. It’s also going to take time to figure out exactly how we can do this safely," said Bowen.

Bowen said productions will have to find ways to quarantine the entire cast and crew, find and insurance company willing to ensure the project and constant health screening throughout the filming process.

“I really think your going to be looking at smaller productions starting up first, followed then...as we start getting real world practical experience, and then expanding to larger and larger until we’re back up and running at full strength.”

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