02 November 2021 661 Views

Guns on set: Lessons being Learned?

by James Murphy

We have all watched in sadness and shock:

The recent events on the set of RUST. 

Rather than join the chorus of unsolicited and parroted comment?

I will simply make the following points:

  • When lives are lost? That is not something to joke about, even via ‘meme’. Be sensitive and take it seriously.
  • Don’t obsess over the event, either? Far too many YouTubers mouthing off 24/7 about Alec Baldwin and liability. If you are not a lawyer? Shut up. Sorry!

  • Guns ARE needed on film sets. Come on. Action, thrillers, even low budget television murder-mystery and so on. Any move to ban outright is an insult to years of hard work and safe, careful craftspeople.

 

  • Armourers are an essential part of the film industry. Frequently, they have expertise on other health, safety and protection matters.
  • Live rounds should be NOWHERE NEAR the filming! Equally, let us remember that a ‘blank’ can still kill.
  • If in doubt? Have empty guns entirely and use flash bang wallops and good editing, via sourced libraries of sound and visual images.

  • Producers do have a duty of care, yes. But not necessarily, pervasive liability, either, in every case? They are not omnipotent, omniscient or omnipresent on a set. So whilst they are of course accountable and ought remain vigilant from pre through post production? Pointing fingers, prematurely, and based on speculation /gossip etc is NOT the way to proceed.
  • Lawyers will establish who is responsible for what. IE: Were specific safety requests overruled which, ‘but for’ the neglect, would have been actively in place and thereby prevented a specific accident? 

  • Remember: we are shocked by the events on RUST in part because these things are tragedies and rare rather than everyday occurrences. That does not make it ‘ok’, it is of zero comfort to those bereaved or traumatised. But it should remind us all of quite how lucky we are to still BE shocked by such events and that there is an industry willing to learn lessons.
  • There IS  a case for budgetary differentiation. RUST was / is a relatively lower cost movie so one could argue that a kind of A/B list system could evolve whereby those productions with reduced monies involved, ought to be vetted more closely before filming if indeed they intend to shoot an action scene?

Needless to say: thoughts go out to all those touched by the tragic events and we hope that this kind of accident is indeed prevented in years to come. 

 



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