That all came to a halt in March as the coronavirus pandemic ramped up, and ever since then, industry leaders have been trying to develop specific guidelines to resume safely.
That call for "Action!" will soon be heard once again in the streets and sound stages of the Big Apple, now that production is set to resume here in the fall.
"I can't wait to get back to New York and start production," said actor Nicholas Pinnock, who stars in the ABC series "For Life" about a man falsely accused and imprisoned.
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But his set -- and all the others -- will look different when shooting resumes.
"They want to be able to work, but they want to be able to work safely," said Anne del Castillo, commissioner of New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment. "I think you're going to see temperature checks. You're going to see crew wearing PPE. You're going to see them wearing masks and face shields."
There will also be fewer crew members.
"Given the public health crisis, productions are going to start to be a little bit more judicious about how many people they bring to set and how much cast and background you have to have in a given scene," del Castillo said.
There will be fewer crowd scenes in Times Square, for example, and her office has developed guidelines for returning to work that respect the needs of communities where shooting takes place.
"The production industry has been super collaborative and thoughtful about how they want to come back," she said.
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Del Castillo is quite sure production will come back under the rules she has put in place in cooperation with unions and production companies. Still, she admits the process is fluid.
"There will be a need to tweak as we go along," she said. "But I'm just looking forward to seeing people back on set. That's what's most exciting."
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