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Here's one hell of a cautionary tale

Brian Rose

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They want to succeed at any cost and generally have no idea how the world works..... I believe it's called "being a student."


"To succeed at ANY cost", that's EXACTLY what I mean. Spot on. Although I have to say I have never had that attitude even as a student.

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I think we have a point where we have that mentality. Hopefully we grow out of it before we can put ourselves and others at risk.I think those who reach that maturity level are well on their way to having a shot, and those who don't will post ads on craigslist looking for free work. Just my thoughts, of course.

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How interesting, I was just sitting here thinking of NYU and came across this. It's really sad indeed and it reminds me of a lot of things I saw. I went to NYU myself. What I saw was a lot of people doing "big budget" movies because mommy and daddy paid for them. They didn't bother to learn anything other than they should rent a RED. I think the biggest thing I've ever learned is the difference between hacks and pros is that the pros do it safely. I got on this subject because I saw a "no budget" shoot include a car chase scene driven by 18 year old actors. Okay, no insurance, you're getting untrained 18 year olds to race cars on open public roads where pedestrians and civilians are exposed. I'm sorry but somethings boil down to common sense. I'm not sure about anyone else there but I've always kinda sorta known that big power cables and big metal objects that get raised into the sky aren't the best combination. If you could bring a crew of 20 and all their "best gear" (which is a pet peeve of mine, since I could never EVER check anything worthy out. Now I know where they were...) yet not know a thing about permits or insurance. Perhaps it's because I'm not in the best mood that I'm ripping away at them, I try not to as I wasn't there and don't know who did what. But things like this really hit me because of all the things I've seen and continue to see and it's always really bothered me. I'd always complain about how the people around me in those classes took stupid risks yet it just made me look like a whiner. Heck, I don't mean to sit here and generalize, but as I said, it's something that bothered me then and it upsets me to see this now. I guess as mentioned earlier above, it's students being students. With the industry as competitive as it is, they're willing to do crazy things to get in.

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Scary stuff - Health and Safety on student shoots is a nightmare to deal with. I am teaching film production to Undergraduates at the moment and health and safety is a very difficult to police.


I do as much as I can, demand risk assesments up front, give health and safety classes and attend the shoot where possible.


But its always a worry that they might do something silly when your not around or submit missleading paperwork. Its a difficult task to not overly micromanage a students project - while still keeping the students and contributors safe.


Student productions are about making mistakes in every area but health and safety as the consiquences can be terrible. I've been plesently supprised with the students attitude to Health and Safety, is quite good, as long as they giving the right information up front and made aware of the consiquences if they flount the rules.


That NYU story is very sad, but so massivly avoidable - once your dealing with crane's, big lights and generators - the level of supervision has to be increased and the qulifications of the Gaffers/Electritions need to be vetted by the school.

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There are several key things that I have a problem with in this situation.


1. The Gaffer simply wasn't qualified.

2. What use was the gaffer if he was manning a condor all night?

3. Why was anybody even in it? You can control it from the ground quite easily.

4. Why was there no Key Grip? Using a condor automatically calls for at least a Gaffer, an electrician trained in the safe use of a condor, a qualified Key Grip and his grip. None of these people come at student rates.

5. The "Gaffer" should have noted the above and suggested alternatives such as a "poor mans condor" (8x Ultra or silver lame on two Mombos with a 12/18K bounced in it) or an Avenger stand. Both of these are still a handful and risky without qualified crew.

6. You shouldn't be anywhere near ANY lines on poles! You don't know what they are!

7. Students are just that. Condors, large lighting units and large rigs are really a no no on student productions.


Sounds to me like no one bothered to talk to this poor fellow because they are going to blame him and I can't say that they are necessarily wrong.

Edited by J. Lamar King
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