Alec Baldwin gun incident reflects concerning trends on movie sets: industry experts

- Advertisement -

The details of what went horribly wrong on the New Mexico set of “Rust” will be gathered through several public and private investigations in the coming weeks.

- Advertisement -

But as production veterans grappled with the sad news that cinematographer Helena Hutchins had died in a gun accident on set involving star Alec Baldwin on October 22, knowledgeable sources pointed to a number of related industry trends that could be happening. are reflected in the behind the scenes. The tale of a low budget independent western.

Inexperience among crew members: The huge boom in material demand during the past decade has pushed the bottom talent beyond its breaking point. “In some places you don’t get qualified people for these jobs, so you’re taking on (crew) with very little experience,” said one veteran producer.

Story continues below ad

Inexperience among producers: The low barrier of entry to production for streamers who pay the production cost has allowed smaller companies and startups to attempt mass production without sufficient employees, skills, or equipment. Streamline Granthshala was one of seven production entities listed as backing “Rust”, a company founded in 2017 to produce film produced with tax incentives in the form of vehicles to create tax breaks for wealthy investors. used to. Streamline Granthshala co-founders Emily Hunter Salveson and Ryan Donnell Smith serve as executive producers and producers on “Rust,” respectively. Industry sources cite underlying problems that can arise when goals and incentives do not align between producers.

- Advertisement -

“We have developed new financial models to attract capital that would otherwise be unavailable to the film industry,” Salveson told Variety in 2017. “The movies are a byproduct of the comprehensive tax planning strategies we employ for our clients.”

Complacency: Many producers and crew members are working at such high volumes and speeds that can create a sense of complacency and overconfidence in key positions.

Story continues below ad

Attorney Jeff Harris, representing the family of Sarah Jones, the camera assistant who died in a horrific accident on the set of the indie film “Midnight Rider” in 2014, said that in his experience accidents are often a matter of complacency about the requirements to comply with safety. There are results. Bulletin and Protocol Hazardous Activities.

“You live in this fantasy land, where you’re shooting fake people and blowing up things,” says Harris of Atlanta-based Harris Lori Menton. Set in 2017. “Oh, we’ve done it a million times.” “

Producers blamed the peak TV event for dragging the talent pool for craft and technical crew positions far below its breaking point.

Tensions at every level are resonating throughout the creative community due to the increase in the number of original scripted TV series. The pace of production has more than doubled in a decade, from 216 scripted series broadcast on broadcast and cable networks in 2010 to 532 in broadcast, cable and streaming in 2020, according to research by FX Networks.

The biggest proof of the tension due to the windfall of so much work was the strike drama that gripped Hollywood this month. The IATSE, the union representing the majority of production workers, threatened to strike in volatile contract negotiations over quality of life issues that may yet be hit by the shock of Hutchins’ death.

Story continues below ad

Producers and other industry veterans spoke to Variety with both anger and anguish about the turmoil surrounding production, which is reflected in the larger IATSE labor issues that put Hollywood on the brink of strike earlier this month. took away. And now the death of “Jung” sheds light on a problem that sources say is very common on sets these days. As a photo from an allegedly chaotic low-budget film set, the only certainty is that an accident took the lives of the 42-year-old cinematographer, the wife and mother of a 9-year-old son.

“As an industry, in times of peak TV, we did this to ourselves,” said one producer.

Several sources pointed to the importance of experienced skilled technicians on set when weapons were involved. The details of the “rusty” situation are unclear, but industry veterans said Westerns typically involve multiple firearms for multiple actors.

Story continues below ad

“On some shoots you might have a truck full of (firearms) and someone has to keep track of each and every one of them and how they are being used,” the producer said.

Armor on set typically “spends a lot of time training people to safely handle a gun,” the producer said. “That guy in the middle of the take is always standing around coaching.”

Producers said there can often be issues with actors not taking gun safety training seriously — it’s another reason to have experts on set and maintain safety protocols to the bottom of the letter. “It protects people from themselves,” said the producer.

Attorney Harris notes that the use of firearms on a set involves additional layers of disclosure and planning for insurance purposes. Harris and other industry veterans said producers are usually required to submit their plans for using firearms on set for review by insurance officials as part of a composite bond for production.

Harris insisted he had no idea about the “rust” case. But if it turns out that the security protocol was omitted, it would be a big problem for the insurer of the film.

Proof that corners were cut, “there could be a coverage fight with the (insurance) carrier that would say, ‘You told me you were doing this, but you did it instead,'” Harris said.

Story continues below ad

The seasoned producer and a seasoned on-set safety expert who spoke to Variety stressed the proper importance of crew members…

- Advertisement -
Mail Us For  DMCA / Credit  Notice

Recent Articles

Stay on top - Get the daily news in your inbox

Related Stories