Casting Networks® caught up with Evan V. Washington, key/PA and producer of “For Evan’s Sake,” on his recent experience working on set during the COVID-19 pandemic. Evan has worked since March on numerous sets, from awards ceremonies to commercials, and has had his fair share of adjusting to new protocols. Keep reading to learn more about Evan and what a day on set looks like during this COVID era.
Tell us about yourself.
I went to school for TV/film production and left after my junior year when I got the opportunity to go on a world tour with a Def Jam client, and I haven’t looked back since.
Primarily, what is your position when working on set?
Nowadays, I stay flexible for whatever calls come my way. My positions fluctuate between key/PA to associate producer on more corporate projects. I produce for my independent roles, and this year I put new energy into directing.
What project are you currently working on?
Early in the pandemic I pivoted to post-production, working on audio and video content for various YouTubers and podcasts. During the shutdown, I was also able to produce a third “quarantine episode” for a series I developed, “For Evan’s Sake,” which is currently on Roku. When things opened up in late summer, I resumed my live event work, including the Emmys, People’s Choice Awards and Twitch’s “Chasing the Crown.” I was fortunate enough to fit in a Coach commercial as well.
What does a day on set look like in comparison to your pre-COVID on set jobs?
There are temperature checks as soon as you enter the lot, PPE (personal protective equipment) is bountiful, and craft services have become an elaborate dance between following the new social norm and communicating behind plexiglass. Crew meals are now pre-packaged and social distancing is strictly enforced.
What safety measures were taken prior to joining the project?
Pre-production now consists of frequent testing and safety meetings. There are daily check-ins on whatever app the production has chosen to use to compile the testing information.
What safety measures were taken when you arrived on set?
The interesting and slightly frustrating aspect is that there are no set measures, so each production is wildly different. Some productions do off-site nasal-swab testing with a 48-hour turnaround, others do on set jaw swabs with rapid testing. Some shows require face shields when working one on one with someone, and some don’t. We must keep 6-foot bubbles between desks, with 6-foot aisles between them. Needless to say, we occupy a lot more space.
What are you currently doing when it comes to craft services?
Social distancing during lunch has varied between plexiglass cubicles and eating on individual TV trays, 6 feet apart. In either circumstance, testing is widely available and commonly used.
Do you feel comfortable or safe on set when working?
I actually do. I’m confident that the people around me are symptom-free, and our interactions are pretty isolated, so if something were to happen, contact tracing would be effective. However, I wish there were more uniform guidelines so that each production wouldn’t be a new exercise in safety protocols.
What positive changes from the pandemic have you seen implemented on set?
Packaged lunches for sure. I have seen some unsafe behavior in buffet lines on previous sets, and I feel like that has been a major positive and I hope that trend continues. Also I feel this experience has instilled a new level of mindfulness in everyone that will go a long way into keeping both the individual and the crew safe, which can only be a positive thing.
Anything exciting coming up for you in the pipeline or that you are working on next?
Yes, check out my semi-autobiographical series “For Evan’s Sake” on Roku on the Culture Forward app or YouTube with #ForEvansSake. Please listen to the “You Already Know” podcast with Tani Marole and Kenan Thompson, and also tune in every other Wednesday to Twitch and watch “B&L BeatSmash” where I’m the host, and we do an amazing back-to-back with up-and-coming music producers. If that’s too much to digest, just follow me on IG @evanallcaps and peep the journey.
Thank you so much for having me!
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Photo Credit: @theyyyard