Like many people in the film industry, my mind this week has been on Sarah Jones. Sarah was a second assistant camera (the person who transports cameras and lenses, helps the focus puller take measurements to get the focus right and slates the take, among other things) who was killed by a…
I used to work in the film industry, and I would like to say that this is true. We were often told by directors and producers that it was okay to shoot on streets we did not close down, or to hold traffic that we were not allowed to stop. I was the First AD on a film where the cinematographer told a grip to climb supports on a bridge to secure a piece of equipment. He didn’t have any security harnesses or anything, and when I called them out on it, everyone thought I was nuts to insist he not climb up there.
I also worked 14 hour days for free as an intern, six days a week. Three or four of those weeks were night shoots, which meant my one day off per week was an overnight when it was difficult to even find an open laundry facility and a decent meal. Under those circumstances, crews get lonely, exhausted, and mistakes are made.
I don’t think it means we have for regulate it better, though it could come to that. I want to encourage my friends who are still in the industry to stand up for themselves and for safety, even if it means getting fired. Or, do what I did and leave the industry to join the land of the living.