MOVIEGOER: Lock-in shoots, plus and minus

Published June 2, 2021, 6:00 AM

by Nestor Cuartero

Dennis Trillo and Bianca Umali

    Just got word that several new TV series and films  are on extended lock-in shoots in different locations around Luzon. It means that networks and film companies have resumed production against all odds, and that augurs well for the entertainment industry.

      Filming nonstop in a Laguna resort is the new GMA drama series “Legal Wives,” about a Muslim man (Dennis Trillo) who marries three women.

    The wives are played, in proper order, by Alice Dixson, Andrea Torres and Bianca Umali.  

     “Legal Wives” is coming soon on GMA Primetime.


   One of the good things brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic is the way TV and movie projects are now being produced.

   They are now more carefully planned, mapped out to the smallest detail. Shoots are held in a common location, following shorter working hours in observance of health protocols.

     After a month or so, the project is completed. The complete show is put in the can, so to speak.  Everyone goes home happy.


    Lock-in taping is the order of the day.

    To be able to produce a TV show or a movie, producers go the extra mile by housing cast and crew under one roof, so to speak.

    The procedure isn’t all that simple.

   Days before actual taping, all personnel involved in the project go through a series of health protocols. They are gathered for several days in one place, like a hotel, where they undergo swab testing.

    If found negative for Covid-19, everyone is herded off to the location, where they are to stay throughout the filming. They are not allowed to leave, or even mingle with other people outside of their own bubble.  

    Needless to say, producing a TV show or movie these days entails added costs to producers. Over and above the usual expenses incurred in production, they must also pay for housing the cast and crew in hotels or resorts, including food.

    Resorts out of town, either north or south of Manila, are usually the favored locations of shoots these days. They need not be too far, though.

    Actors are also not allowed to come with their assistants to limit the number of people on the set.


   Producing is one tough nut to crack these days, admits a production staff, yet the show must go on. Content must be supplied to network, no matter the cost or the circumstances.

     Sacrifice is a must, especially among actors, who are used to the comforts of the old practices, pre-pandemic.

      A veteran actor tells me he entertains lock-in shoots for a number of reasons.

      He either likes the role, or the project itself, which means he can still find a medium with which to express passion in his work, which is healthy.

       He needs to work to earn his keep and put food on the table. ‘’What’s a little compromise if it means I can still be productive at this time of the pandemic?’’ He also likes the shortened filming hours that no longer require overnight shoots.   

        He needs to go out of the house for his mental health. It helps that shoots are often now located in the provinces, by the sea, in beautiful, open-air settings.

         Working in these environments can be considered a treat, he says, on top of fulfilling one’s passion in acting while getting paid for it.

  ‘’I tell myself, I’m going on holiday in a nice place out of town. That thought inspires me to be thankful to God I can still have a job despite this pandemic.’’