The film and TV industry aims to make scenes more realistic, but when it comes to prop guns, they can be fatal if the right safety precautions are not taken.
Christian Kelly-Sordelet is a professional fight director and stunt coordinator for Broadway, film and television productions.
He’s also been working with prop guns for decades and walked Granthshala 5 NY through some standardized safety precautions for using them on set, including a briefing with cast and crew members.
“There shouldn’t be a live round anywhere on the set, anywhere close to the set,” explains Kelly-Sordelett.
Prop guns can range from a fully simulated shotgun to a real working gun that fires blanks, or cartridges that produce a flash followed by a sharp blast.
Kelly-Sordelett says a simple rule of thumb is making sure no one is around when the gun is fired.
“It still has an explosive energy and it can still fire projectiles,” he says.
According to a 2016 article by the Associated Press, there have been at least 194 serious TV and film set accidents and at least 43 deaths in the United States from 1990 to 2014.
Meanwhile, there have been at least 37 fatalities in on-set accidents that occurred internationally between 2000 and 2016.
“Accidents happen in a variety of ways. It’s not just stunts or when we’re bringing in weaponized props,” Kelley-Sordelett mentions.
In July 1982, actor Vic Morrow died during a helicopter crash while working on the set of the film Twilight Zone.
In March 1993, Brandon Lee, son of martial arts star Bruce Lee, died during the filming of The Crow after being shot by a gun that was supposed to fire empty cartridges.
In February 2014, camera assistant Sarah Jones was fatally hit by a train on the set of the independent film Midnight Rider in Georgia.
Jones’ father Richard told Granthshala, “In a way, I feel like I’m re-living Sarah’s death. It’s such a huge blow and obviously a lot needs to be done in the film industry. We’re there.” are not.” 5 NY.
He has since created the Sarah Jones Foundation in memory of his 27-year-old daughter. It aims to promote on-set safety and the need for more industry precautions.
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