Student Handbook

FV COVID-19 Off-Campus Film Production Guidelines

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Version 2. September 21, 2020

CalArts, the School of Film/Video, and its students must comply with federal, state and county guidelines during COVID-19. In particular, the Los Angeles County Health Department requires CalArts and other colleges to be in strict compliance with their guidance for higher education institutions. All of the guidance here is based on those regulations and advice.  

As we have all experienced, government guidance and rules change as conditions of the pandemic change. Please be sure you’re using the most recent version of these FV COVID-19 Film Production Guidelines. The date and version are at the top of this article. 

Given the changing conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, CalArts will maintain regular contact with local government and health officials to ensure proper protocols are followed and guidelines are updated regularly. It is also the student’s responsibility to stay current with guidance, rules, policies and laws that govern the safety of the public. When making production plans, please err on the side of caution. When in doubt, contact Production Services. The safety of students, faculty, staff, the public and yourself outweigh any project plans.  Please keep in mind that despite all reasonable measures you may take, there is an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 when you are in a public place or if other people are present.

Film/Video students need to comply with all the guidelines below, as well as the COVID-19 amendments to the CalArts Student Life Policies.

If your project does not fall within the guidelines below, or you cannot follow them, you must meet with Production Services to discuss further. You may need to make a Short Term Custom Package request through the Student Project Application instead

A. LOS ANGELES COUNTY GUIDELINES. These basic rules are currently in place in L.A. County.

  • Solo work only. No contact with others when shooting. No gathering or working together in-person with others.
  • Curbside equipment pick-up and return only. No campus access other than curbside.


  • On-campus performative/time-based project production by students are not allowed at this time.
  • CalArts students (in any School) must attest that the following conditions were met in the making of performative/time-based projects; failure to abide by these conditions may result in student sanctions as provided for in the CalArts Student Code of Conduct, particularly its as amended with regard to COVID-19.
    • Performative/time-based project work may only involve one (1) student; other participants, performers, or crew members will not be allowed to be physically in-person on the project. Fully remote collaboration is allowed.
    • The only exception to the above stipulation that only one (1) student can be involved in the project would be that members of a household who cohabitate (on a continuing basis) may be involved with performative/time-based projects. Students must attest to the fact that such individuals are continuing members of their household, and the Institute may require that such individuals produce verification of their residential address.
    • All performance/time-based projects which would normally involve crew, interviewees, subjects, or others (e.g., documentary projects, etc.) are subject to the above conditions without exception.
    • Students working on static work projects (e.g., photography, sculpture, painting, etc.) are also subject to the above project conditions.

C. SCHOOL OF FILM/VIDEO GUIDELINES. Please follow these best practices for your solo production.

  1. Plan your shooting around places, times and things you can shoot alone, safely. Time management and advance prep are necessary. 
  2. Shoot at home and/or outdoors. It’s recommended you work at places accessible by foot, bike or car rather than public transportation, to minimize contact and exposure. Reminder that all social distancing protocols must be adhered to.
  3. Masks are mandatory during production outside of your place of residence.
  4. Good hand hygiene must be practiced at all times.
  5. Avoid any physical contact. Social distancing protocols must be followed. 
  6. As usual, be mindful of how long you are working so you don’t get too tired. Limit workdays to no more than 10 hours. Have long “turnarounds” for rest between one day’s work and the next. Twelve hours is recommended. 
  7. Maximize circulation of outdoor air by opening windows and doors, or using fans, air conditioning or other ventilation methods. 
  8. Location contracts are recommended. Please visit Location Contract on 2 Pop or contact Production Services for a template.
  9. With COVID-19, all people in a residence are effectively one quarantine group and may work together.  Keep in mind, however, that anyone leaving the residence brings back the contact they’ve had to everyone at home. When you are out in public, you could be bringing the virus back home with you. It is very important that you wear masks and follow social distancing protocols, and that anybody you interact with does the same.
  10. During COVID-19 conditions, student productions are not allowed to include minors, crowds, physical contact/intimacy or SAG actors.
  11. If your project involves any of the following elements, you must meet with Production Services: animals, vehicles, costumes, extensive props, swimming pools or water, stunts, pyrotechnics, nudity, airports, and/or the use of permits or roadways.


Now more than ever, it’s necessary to be mindful of your health and safety and everyone else’s. This is always true in filmmaking, and even more so during COVID-19. 

If you have not complied with the guidelines above, the consequences will be as follows below. The Dean will determine the exact course of action. In more serious cases, the Office of Student Experience will be notified, which could lead to a warning, probation, suspension, or dismissal from CalArts.  

  1. Equipment reservation will be terminated and recalled to the Cage.
  2. Access to Cage equipment will be suspended for one month minimum, possibly longer if the violation is serious.
  3. You may also be subject to suspension of other School of Film/Video privileges, including studio reservations, lab access, and/or the FV Technology Access Program.
  4. Any footage produced during the commission of a violation of these policies may become ineligible for academic credit or Showcase consideration, as determined by the Dean and faculty members.

Thank you for being safe and thoughtful. Please contact your mentor, faculty and/or Production Services with any questions or concerns.

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