Now & Next Podcast S3E1 – Practicing ‘Safe Sets’ In the Covid-19 Era

In this first episode of a brand new season of Now & Next, Alex Kolodkin the founder of Safe Sets International joins Leora Kornfeld to discuss ways to make production as safe as possible while still in the middle of a pandemic.

Listen on:

How to practice ‘Safe Sets’: TV & film production at a distance during Covid-19

After months of complete shutdown, film and TV production has now resumed in Canada’s major filming centres of Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. Not surprisingly, there is a ‘new normal’ in place.

While there have always been health & safety consultants on set, Covid-19 safety requirements are a lot more specific and constraining. Hint: they are more than just a matter of frequent hand washing and mask wearing. For example, “sneeze etiquette” is now a thing. 

On top of physical distancing among actors and crew members, new guidelines now apply to everything from bathrooms and food to the number of consecutive hours spent on set or location. 

In BC the term ‘depopulating the set’ has been coined. It refers not just to limiting the number of people on set to the strict minimum, but also to new practices such as directors working remotely and following along on monitors as well as camera operators filming from cranes when possible.

Meanwhile in Quebec, there are new limitations on shootings involving close physical contact between actors, be it love scenes or fight scenes.

To help on-screen and off-screen talent adjust to such changes, serial entrepreneur Alex Kolodkin recently launched virtual company Safe Sets International. Since June 2020, they have been providing education and delivering certification all over the world in order to make the production industry as safe as possible. 

In this episode of Now & Next Alex talks about getting the company off the ground and why he considers creating Safe Sets International a personal responsibility.

In this episode, learn more about:

  • What it’s been like for actors Andrew Bee and Ethan Berkeley-Garcia to go back to work (02:20)
  • The most high-risk situations and the new basic drill for people arriving on set (05:35)
  • The biggest resistance points to safety protocols on set (11:02
  • What motivated Alex Kolodkin to create Safe Sets International (12:35)
  • The flip side of COVID-19 safety protocols when it comes to production sustainability (15:06)  

Download a transcript of the episode

Dig Deeper

  • Visit the Safe Sets International website to access free resources to increase safety measures from pre to post-production
  • Read COVID Compliance Officers: Inside the Pivotal New Production Position on Variety 
  • Read Netflix’s New Co-CEO Ted Sarandos; COVID-19 Safety Protocols To Be “Permanent Part Of Production” on Deadline
  • Read Post-Pandemic Hollywood: Inside Plans to Make Movie and TV Sets Safe Again on Variety 
  • Read Behind The COVID Testing Standoff That Idled ‘The Good Doctor’ & Threatens Production Restart In Vancouver on Deadline
  • Read Quebec TV shoots set to resume, but hold the kissing and fighting, please on Montreal Gazette
  • Listen to Now & Next Season 2 Episode 5: Audiovisual Production Goes Greener


Kudos to Sabrina Brathwaite, Now & Next’s production assistant, who interviewed Canadian actors to get a sense of what it has been like going back to sets under COVID-19 safety protocols. 

About Now & Next

Now & Next is a podcast featuring in-depth interviews in which experts take a closer look at emerging trends and the digital transformation of the media and entertainment industries. Now & Next is brought to you by the Canada Media Fund, produced by Katie Jensen and Sabrina Brathwaite and recorded in Toronto at Vocal Fry Studios. Leora Kornfeld hosts the series.