Thoughts about directing with a face mask on? (My title here says EP but I’m a director). I’ve been putting off shooting a script I wrote over a year ago because of covid and me not wanting to deal with covid precautions on set, meaning, even if it is safe, I worry about my ability to direct and effectively communicate with a face mask on. Non-verbal cues lost, tone, etc. But at the same time I haven’t done anything creative in over a year and need to. Anyone have thoughts on this?

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absolutely have to wear a mask if it’s necessary to shoot now (sounds like it is not) otherwise wait a few months until people are vaccinated. I’ve been on a few covid sets and the masks are really no big deal.

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not even a little bit. just like the rest of life, masks are nbd.

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Wear. Your. Mask.

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Do you ever direct a VO session over Source Connect or ISDN? No visual/non-verbal cues there and it generally works out fine.

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I know it’s not a totally one-to-one comparison, but there are similarities.

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Directing these days is ... Interesting.

I directed a narrative web series as a remote shoot through Zoom last summer and the biggest hurdle was the technology: if we'd had the ability/budget to get a proper live feed from set we'd have been able to both hear diegetic noise from the location and really fine tune the performance on the fly, but we ended up having to redo a couple scenes because of ambiant issues within the location that weren't apparent through the Zoom call, or performance quirks that weren't obvious through the stream. But at least the actors could see my expression and fine tune performance according to my remote direction.

In contrast: last week I was on set and directed an instructional series for a client and I found I had to drastically over-emphasize a lot of my direction physically to help convey the details to the instructor because she couldn't really see my face.

So I suppose there are tradeoffs in either scenario.

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Got it. Thank you!

I would completely wait until after covid. The costs associated with having a covid specialist on set are astronomical for short films and personal projects. If one actor or DP gets sick, the whole production is required to go into quarantine. Sag can shut you down any minute if you aren’t buttoned up.

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I’m not saying I wouldn’t wear a mask. I’m asking about ability to direct with a face mask on and others’ experiences doing so.

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I totally understand this concern. I have run into a few situations where I felt like the director was misunderstood, because everyone is hiding behind zooms and masks.

I would recommend face shields and masks. In case you need to translate something requiring lip reading (I’m a partially deaf, so this affects me!) and then also over communicating over zoom for rehearsals with the actors where everyone’s seeing everyone’s faces.

And I think for now, this is the best you can do.

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Just wear a clear face shield instead.

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You should not replace a mask with a shield. Wear your mask.

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I’ve directed several in person shoots — all strict Covid protocols and all definitely masked — and they posed new challenges but those weren’t insurmountable.  The area I’m really struggling with is directing real people, especially emotional stories or anything that has to do with health, mental health, etc. The rapport and emotional connection through facial signals it’s just so important. So, waiting a little while longer for vaccines.

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Love it! I’m a director/producer/EP too. Good luck and enjoy! ✨

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Yeah we would definitely wear masks. You don’t think the performances or creative process on set were affected by the masks?

Lol...ok buddy

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