MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Television and film industry officials are looking for safe ways to get talent back on the screen amid the coronavirus pandemic, and casting agents are implementing safe strategies for local casting calls.
The Netflix series, “Outer Banks,” which was filmed in the Lowcountry, was an instant hit during its first season but it’s facing new struggles thanks to COVID-19.
Taylor Woodell, who is a casting director for TW Cast & Recruit, described one of the locations where scenes were filmed in Shem Creek as almost like a character.
The Lowcountry is famous for its historic cities and southern charm, but Woodell says, “it is the type of hospitality that comes with filming in the Lowcountry that helps draw crews here.” She went on to say, “with its diverse culture, you can pull off just about any look you want.”
When casting extras for “Outer Banks,” Woodell said one of the first season’s big success was in hiring locals as extras.
“The fact that they did, it was kind of a homerun for the show.”
Parts of the show were filmed in places locals know and love, like Shem Creek, Kiawah Island, and the Gilliard Center in downtown Charleston. The show’s popularity led to more than 1,300 people wanting to be an extra in the first 24 hours after the show announced its second season.
Woodell said, “We crashed a portion of our database, but when we looked for our overall people that have signed up into the system, we have had over several thousand sign up within a day – which is overwhelming and a great problem to have.”
She said a surge in submissions is a good thing, but COVID-19 is creating new obstacles when it comes to casting with crews having to get tested three days prior to even working on set.
In addition to testing, plexiglass and barriers are also being added to separate coworkers.
“This is a new world for everybody, you know, a post pandemic world. A lot of the protocols going into place are very, very strict and things might not seem as lighthearted or as fun at moments and that’s not meant to be the case. I think everybody has to adjust to this new norm.”
Production has picked back up and the next scenes with extras are set to begin filming on Sept. 9 and 10.