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RUST and the Horrible Tragedy Around It


John from Cincinnati
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Funny how some headlines just say "prop gun misfires killing crewmember on alec Baldwin movie" not mentioning that he pulled the trigger 

And yes, because it's Baldwin, it's already politicized, as you would probably imagine. 

And, for those not reading the story,the person killed was the DP and the person injured was the director. 

Edited by odessasteps
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2 hours ago, John from Cincinnati said:

 

Jesus. Heard this and brought back Brandon Lee's death on The Crow (1994) when he was killed by a gun. The impact on Brandon Lee's family and it haunted poor Michael Massee.

Edited by The Natural
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8 hours ago, odessasteps said:

Funny how some headlines just say "prop gun misfires killing crewmember on alec Baldwin movie" not mentioning that he pulled the trigger 

On the flip side, my local news' bullshit gotcha headline was "shooting on a movie set, ALEC BALDWIN WAS HOLDING THE GUN!" 

As soon as I heard the vague wording, I figured out what had happened.

It's 2021.  Why don't we have better special effects by now regarding guns instead of doing it the same archaic way it's been done for decades?  We can put a talking raccoon into movies but we can't do gun effects without still using actual gunpowder? 

Like @The Naturaland probably many others, my first thought was Brandon Lee.

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13 minutes ago, Technico Support said:

It's 2021.  Why don't we have better special effects by now regarding guns instead of doing it the same archaic way it's been done for decades?  We can put a talking raccoon into movies but we can't do gun effects without still using actual gunpowder? 

Unfortunately, the simple answer is verisimilitude.  Most muzzle flashes in films these days are indeed doctored by CGI or visual effects (ie.  the cross shaped muzzle flashes in the Christian Bale joint, Equilibrium), but CGI cannot always give you the realistic visual of an ejected shell as proof that the weapon has been discharged. 

Edited by J.T.
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1 minute ago, (BP) said:

If they haven’t figured out how to guarantee safety with prop guns after over a century of using them in film productions, then we’ll have to settle for CGI. 

There's no way to guarantee safety in movies period.  It's an inherently dangerous profession for stunt performers, effects crews, and even the carpenters and electricians.  Accidents like these are pretty rare, but the bad thing is that the ratio of injuries to deaths swings in the direction of deaths.

I personally would like to see some sort of workplace reforms happen.  You can't grind your stunt performers and effects crews into the ground with billion hour work weeks and expect them to perform at top condition all of the time, especially when mental lapses can result in someone getting killed.  The television and film industry needs to do better by its support people or things like this are going to happen more frequently.

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8 hours ago, The Natural said:

Jesus. Heard this and brought back Brandon Lee's death on The Crow (1994) when he was killed by a gun. The impact on Brandon Lee's family and it haunted poor Michael Massee.

That's what immediately popped into my mind:

 

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36 minutes ago, (BP) said:

If they haven’t figured out how to guarantee safety with prop guns after over a century of using them in film productions, then we’ll have to settle for CGI. 

Or recognize that accidents happen?  You can't child-proof everything.  Brandon Lee died 28 years ago.  Lot of stunts been done with prop guns since then.

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38 minutes ago, J.T. said:

Unfortunately, the simple answer is verisimilitude.  Most muzzle flashes in films these days are indeed doctored by CGI or visual effects (ie.  the cross shaped muzzle flashes in the Christian Bale joint, Equilibrium), but CGI cannot always give you the realistic visual of an ejected shell as proof that the weapon has been discharged. 

In a world where 90% of actors can't be bothered to hold guns correctly and most guns have unlimited ammo, I can live with a slight lack of realism w/r/t spent shell casings. 

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42 minutes ago, Technico Support said:

In a world where 90% of actors can't be bothered to hold guns correctly and most guns have unlimited ammo, I can live with a slight lack of realism w/r/t spent shell casings. 

If more audience members felt as you did, the industry would be a lot safer but we are a demanding lot.

One of the many good things about the John Wick films is that it has pushed actors that have to perform their own gunfights in a realistic manner to enroll in tactical firearm training classes and take gun safety more seriously.  Keanu Reeves has outstanding trigger discipline and that is a result of training.

And not to make light of the deaths by prop guns, but injuries and fatalities on set involving vehicles and aircraft are far more frequent that issues with guns and the incidents are just as deadly.  Safety needs to be addressed on all fronts and more people need to be made aware of just how dangerous the daily working conditions in the movie and television industry really are where explosions and vehicle crashes are par for the course.

Not just for humans, but animals as well.  Over the course of the three LoTR films, over twenty animals were killed.

Edited by J.T.
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Some thoughts on the Alec Baldwin situation:

1) I saw some pics of Alec in the immediate aftermath at the Sheriff's office and you can see that he's absolutely destroyed.  Obviously, we all feel awful for the families of the victims but Alec is going through a nightmare as well and I feel absolutely awful for him.

2) Hollywood DID implement a ton of safety checks and procedures after Brandon Lee's death in 1994.  And they clearly work.  There's been thousands of uses of prop guns since 1994 and, as far as I'm aware, this is the first death and injury since then.  That tells me the procedures work if they're followed.

3) I heard this morning that there were live rounds in the gun that Baldwin fired.  How the heck are there live rounds on the set of a movie let alone actually loaded into a gun?!?!?  WTF.

 

 

Edited by Tabe
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1 hour ago, Tabe said:

3) I heard this morning that there were live rounds in the gun that Baldwin fired.  How the heck are there live rounds on the set of a movie let alone actually loaded into a gun?!?!?  WTF.

I am not sure what type of gunplay scenes there are in Rust, but it is not unusual to have live ammo used in firearms in movies, as prop guns cannot provide the environmental visuals you tend to see in scenes where bullets are splintering wood or in those dumb spots where the bad guys fire into a river or a lake and the audience gets to see the splashes and ripples as the bullets (or brass pellets or whatever else they use) strike the water.

John Landis was notorious for having live rounds on set ready for use.  The Infamous "brainfire" scene from Scanners (so I am told) was achieved by setting off a shotgun shell lodged in the neck of a dummy, which caused the fake head filled with fake blood to explode.

But yes, a propmaster / weaponsmith should've checked Baldwin's weapon before he discharged it and usually the actors themselves check their guns before firing.  Baldwin might not have checked his weapon because of a time constraint or if he had faith in the weaponsmith  As you say, there are procedures and rules in place to make sure these sorts of things never happen and for the most part the SOPs work.  Sadly, we know see what happens when even the slightest miscalculation or lapse in judgment is made.

It is tragic. but I hope this incident once again opens people's eyes about how dangerous movie and television sets can be so that Brandon Lee and Halyna Hutchins's deaths won't be in vain.

Edited by J.T.
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Here is the part that is gonna become the "thing". And this goes to JT's larger point

Quote

As the camera crew — members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees — spent about an hour assembling their gear at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, several nonunion crew members showed up to replace them, the knowledgeable person said.

A member of the producer staff then ordered the union members to leave the set. She said if they didn’t leave, the producers would call security to remove them.

“Corners were being cut — and they brought in nonunion people so they could continue shooting,” the knowledgeable person said.

There were two misfires on the prop gun on Saturday and one the previous week, the person said, adding “there was a serious lack of safety meetings on this set.”

 

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On 10/22/2021 at 8:40 AM, J.T. said:

There's no way to guarantee safety in movies period.  It's an inherently dangerous profession for stunt performers, effects crews, and even the carpenters and electricians.  Accidents like these are pretty rare, but the bad thing is that the ratio of injuries to deaths swings in the direction of deaths.

No offense, but the movie professionals disagree with you, strongly.

 

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One of the scenes I did on a TV show required me to point a gun at my head and others to point guns at me. Once the scene was setup prop people walked me through every gun and showed me how they worked. They explained how every gun was real but the firing mechanism had been removed and none of them were loaded. I got to inspect every persons gun if I wanted to. Even knowing that they weren't working firearms, it's never comfortable having a gun pointed at you. Every time I left the set so they could change anything, I was walked through the guns again every time I came back. 

That's what it's like on a major network TV show when the guns aren't  firing. I imagine the circumstances are supposed to be even more thorough when they do.

But even though that felt very safe there were other moments where corners were cut that felt dangerous to me. 

For example, someone said, "Hey when you arrest Jae, let's slam him down on that table." The stunt coordinator looked at me and said "Don't worry that's not our table so that's not happening." 

When I came back to shoot the scene, an actor said "Hey did they tell you what we're doing when I arrest you?" I said "No." He said I'm going to twist this gun out of you hand to disarm you and then shove you down on your ass." 

I've done a lot of fight choreography over the years and this seemed pretty simple to me. But we didn't rehearse it with a choreographer. The actor just hurriedly showed me how it was going to work before they yelled for him to get in position for the first take. That's kind of ridiculous. In every theatre production I ever done that moment would have been rehearsed over and over. First in slowmotion and then we'd speed it up as we got more comfortable. 

To JT's point about vehicles, there was another scene where I was supposed to enter the driver side of an armored truck. They had traffic stopped for the shot, which was great because I could't see around the armored truck for cars coming.. First take there was something wrong with the extras so we did it again. We reset the  truck and I did it again. This time as I go to step out in front of the the van a car passes right in front of me. If I'd been a second faster I was going to get nailed. I looked around the van to the traffic cop(he was a real cop) and he gave me the OOPSIE face. I was pissed. No one said a word to me about it. Like they didn't notice.

And that's something I've always understood about acting. No one but you is counting your bumps. And they'll let you take those bumps a hundred times and ask for another one. You have to tell them, nah I'm done for today. And this is true whether the people in charge are good folks that you're friends with, or strangers who might be jerks. You're just expected to do it. And most actors will suck it up and do it because we're desperate to work and we believe this opportunity may never happen again. There's so many of us and we know we're disposable. And with movies and TV shows, we know that we're working on something worth millions of dollars and every minute we waste is worth thousands. It's a lot of pressure. And if you complain you're made to feel like you're lucky that you get to play make believe for a living. Fucking deal with it.

I've been doing this a long time and I've got all kinds of stories like that.

So when I heard what happened on the Rust set, I knew that it was a breakdown in protocol. I couldn't believe it happened, but I could also imagine the circumstances that lead to it.

To me it's not about whether or not it's safe to use firearms in pictures. That isn't the problem. For me it's an underlying issue that we don't feel like we can even take the time to insure our own safety, because time is money and the money is worth more than our safety. "Make it CG." doesn't address any of that.  

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On 10/23/2021 at 8:45 AM, JLSigman said:

No offense, but the movie professionals disagree with you, strongly.

 

No offense taken.  I know that the movie industry is just as bad as the Army when it comes to having redundant safeguards, but the nature of the business is so dangerous that when incidents do happen they are usually lethal.  There's no way to make anything 100% safe and I am not familiar with the amount of gun use in Rust that would or would not require a live round to be on the set.  There are a lot of things about this incident that don't add up.

Edited by J.T.
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