June 18, 2024


Super Art is Almost

Art Directors Guild Releases Best Practice Protocols for Film and TV Sets

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The Art Directors Guild has released an 11-page document outlining their set of best practice protocols for film and TV productions operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommendations are intended to address the day to day experience of ADG members and designed to supplement the industry-wide white paper testing and department-specific protocols.

ADG President Nelson Coates remarked, “We are extremely encouraged by progress being made in industry-wide talks with employers. Considering that commercial production continues, and other forms of film & television prep and production are gearing up even remotely, publishing specific departmental guidance for our members and their employers was prudent and necessary until industry-wide agreements are in place.”

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Executive Director Chuck Parker noted “While no document will ever address every issue or situation our members encounter, we believe these recommendations will provide an additional layer of protection and safety as they specifically address the unique world of the art departments in filmed entertainment and commercial production.”

Some of the key takeaways from the protocol guidelines include:


  • The judgment of Department Heads and their crews, in collaboration with Unit Production Managers (UPMs) and Assistant Directors (ADs), will be considered when structural and logistical changes are made to accommodate the new working practices.

  • Limiting crew size and/or attempting to combine jobs leads to inefficient, unsafe work practices. Department Heads and their crews, in collaboration with Line Producers, UPMs and ADs, remain in the best position to manage the staffing needs and scheduling of their departments to achieve the quality and efficiency necessary.


  • Upon the commencement of work, all members of the Art Department shall receive thorough training in proper safety protocols including training to properly implement and adhere to COVID19 safety guidelines including the proper utilization of PPE. Training time must be built into each production schedule and budget for all persons engaged on the project as detailed in the IndustryWide Labor Management Safety Committee Task Force Proposed Interim Guidelines.


  • As Art Department employees are typically part of the initial hires on a production, Heads of Art Departments need to take a leadership role in department safety and layout of furnishings and work spaces, and be diligent to make sure offices and office set ups can support physical distancing practices.


  • The primary purpose for considering staff to work remotely is to accommodate proper distancing in work spaces where possible and practicable. An additional purpose for considering remote workers during a Pandemic include employees with auto-immune conditions or family members with auto-immune conditions who may be impacted or compromised by the employee being in an office environment during the Covid-19 emergency.

  • Positions to be considered for remotely working should include the following positions, as well as any other position agreed upon by Production Designer, Art Director, Producer, and Production Manager.

  • Primary Consideration for Remote Working Graphic Artist(s) Storyboard Artist Illustrator / PreVis Clearance Coordinator Product Placement Digital Asset Management Set Designer(s) Model Maker(s)

  • Secondary Consideration for Remote Working Assistant Art Director(s) Set Designer(s) Model Maker(s)

  • Positions that cannot work from Remote locations effectively Production Designer Art Director(s) Scenic(s) Art Department Coordinator – though not represented by Local 800 Art Department PA – though not represented by Local 800


  • Equipment must be disinfected prior to use or transfer, or after use with an EPA-registered agent found on the list at the following link.

  • Personal Computers and personal equipment should not be shared.

  • Blueprints, drawings and samples should be transmitted electronically where practicable. When physical prints, drawings and samples are required, make separate copies for the use of each individual involved.

  • Shared workspaces such as Food and Water Areas, Plan Benches, Worktables, Water Supply, Sample / Materials Areas, and Conference Areas, should receive a thorough disinfecting on a regular basis as practicable and necessary.

  • Identify and utilize a dedicated delivery point on the extremity of Departmental offices to minimize office traffic from vendors and crew from other departments. Sanitize all deliveries (i.e. Materials / Samples / Hardware).

  • Identify Dedicated Storage for Art Department equipment boxes needed to keep those items sanitized

  • In any shared workspace, such as cutting area, use separate marked containers with individual crew member names to segregate tools and expendables.

  • Establish a dedicated Sample Room / Presentation Room away from main work areas to minimize outside interaction with Art Department office employees, so as to avoid congregating in common areas.


  • Potential locations should be evaluated / cleared prior to measuring, surveying, and departmental scouts. Measuring / Scanning / Surveying should occur prior to any Tech scout to facilitate social distancing.

  • Virtual Scouting should be prioritized.

  • Transmit mobile video from a single person (such as a location scout) to group conferences with Key Department Heads before assigning the location a priority to tech scout.

  • Self-drive to scouts to eliminate crowded vans. Employer shall provide parking.

  • Limit the number of people at one time inside scout locations as per location size. Tech and Director scouts may have to be done in waves as per location size.

  • Scouting a set or location prior to its construction or prep being completed may require others to stop work and clear the area to facilitate social distancing during the Director, Director of Photography and Production Designer scout.

  • Tech Scout in smaller groups, such as: Group A – Director, Production Designer, Director of Photography, Assistant Director, Producer, Location Manager Group B – Art Department, Set Decorator, Leadperson, Construction, Paint, Greens, Props, VFX, Location Manager Group C – Director of Photography, Gaffer, Key Grip, Rigging Gaffer, Rigging Key Grip, Location Manager Group D – Gaffer, Key Grip, Best Boy Grip, Best Boy Electric, Location Manager Group E – Logistics – Representatives of Art Department, Electric, Rigging, Transportation, Construction, Location Manager

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