Jump to content

Director of photography killed, movie director injured after Alec Baldwin discharged prop firearm on movie set


Recommended Posts

It is devastating on low budget shoots to see people getting bashed for trying to maintain a safe working environment for everybody. This encourages the shortcuts being made because the HODs don't dare to speak up or walk off the set in the fear of losing their reputation and further work. I really hope it would be possible to discuss openly about safety issues in this industry without the fear of being stigmatised as a "very difficult person which will not be hired again". 

I collected just couple of the bad stuff I have came by so far: 

- indie film where the director wanted to use real .22LR rounds in a gun when shooting a complex dialog scene where the gun is handled by multiple actors pointing it to various directions and towards people and finally shooting with it to a target which was just  a feet next to the Cinematographer. I was the only one insisting using blanks or an empty gun for the scene instead of loading the gun with real bullets. Luckily they finally agreed to load their self made blanks instead but they still whined that "the .22LR round is just like a BB gun. it is not lethally dangerous" 😵  (most of the Finnish school shootings have been done with .22LR guns so yes it IS dangerous and NOT a bb gun)

- working on long ladders without any safety measures to prevent falling from 10ft up to about 25ft. I have risked my own life dozens of times in these situations because the alternative has been that the producer would have made a trainee with fear of heights to do the same job and he/she would have had much higher risk of falling down and paralysing or dying than me because of the fear and inexperience

- shooting in old industrial buildings with tons of black mould and chemical waste in the air. On one instance the whole crew was sick about two days after it. I would have taken my own gas mask with me if they would have said where we are going to shoot... on the second day I noticed used gas mask filters in that building been left behind by the previous film crew. Go figure.

- shooting in places where there is a high risk of stuff falling from the ceiling on people. It is funny when all the crew has safety helmets except the actors because it does not fit their character

- people almost driving over persons or equipment in the dark when being close to wrap and everyone is tired. One example is the runner almost driving over the A camera when it was in the middle of the gravel road in the dark after shooting the scene and the AC just walking back toward it to move it

- the catering not being careful enough and serving expired food. The worst I have seen is sandwiches which had somehow circulated for days in the catering dept without being thrown away and then the Cinematographer getting a food poisoning when eating one. I gave the catering a talking to even when it was not my job, then they improved a lot

- pyrotechnics leaving primed stand-by pyrotechnics stuff behind when leaving hastily. it was not super dangerous stuff so I just let them correct their mistake and be more careful in the future

- people doing crazy stuff with snowmobiles, 4-wheelers or motorcycles on set without needing to by the script (mostly because it is fun to show  how many horsepowers the thing has)

- super low budget film where the script calls the bad guy being hit to the head with an axe. when really thinking it through, the whole crew finally realised that it is not possible to reliably stop the (real, weighting couple of kilos) swinging axe from 1cm before it hitting the actor's head so the action was shot in reverse (looked fun in the end result and was safe to make) 

- poor safety when working around / on vehicles . Risk of falling down or being crushed by the vehicle 

- grip dept not being competent enough and messing up with camera cranes, dollies and tracks, etc. heavy equipment which can seriously hurt people if mishandled

- electrical safety being all over the place. people accidentally cutting connected extension cords with equipment. Also the typical stuff where people can't figure out wattage vs. fuse amperage relationship or to which circuit they connected the power hungry equipment without asking. One time the DIT almost lost all the day's materials because the Catering connecting the coffee making to the same generator without asking for permission 

- COVID safety rules being followed strictly when the press is on set but otherwise it is all over the place

- driving when tired or extremely tired or insanely tired. Very, very common and I can't even count how many times I have been close to death because of this

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

- people not affording hiring a real pyrotechnician and thus making their own pyros with GASOLINE without realising that the gasoline vapours travel many meters away from the pouring point very quickly and it will make a very respectable giant flash /  fireball  when one finally tries to ignite it. Luckily the actors did not burn much at all... I insisted them using diesel fuel for all the rest of their diy pyros and hiring a professional next time (the building was lined with asbestos("minerite") tiling so there was not much of a fire hazard at all  except the actors getting on fire if them standing too close to the gasoline nightmare)

Edited by aapo lettinen
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, Gregory Irwin said:

I respectfully disagree with you Amber about Baldwin. Yes, he’s an emotional mess and should be. But as an actor who is charged with handling firearms on set, he is equally responsible for gun safety. I’ve been on numerous big, action, gun movies where the cast shares in the gun check. Also, Baldwin is a producer on the film and he did not ensure a safe workplace. He had to be aware of the prior safety complaints and yet nothing was done about them. I bet he will be charged with involuntary manslaughter. He must be for his shared negligence along with the others. 
But I do appreciate everything else you said. 
 

G

I do understand that, yes. He is also the producer and I suppose he should also be responsible considering, when you look at it, everything that occurs on set, is up to the producer in the end. I wasn't quite aware of the fact that he was producer when I made my statement, and it still stands, but I see the point you're making and I do agree.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/23/2021 at 11:16 PM, Patrick Cooper said:

It sounds like there was another related accident on set prior to the fatal shooting. Earlier in the week, two rounds were accidentally fired by Alec Baldwin's stunt double from a gun that was thought to be 'cold' - in other words no live ammo was supposed to be in that weapon at the time. The state of gun safety on that set was obviously shocking. 

There shouldn't have been live ammo on set to begin with. Whoever brought it, was irresponsible and seemingly unqualified. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/25/2021 at 9:42 AM, Travis Shannon said:

Blanks don’t travel through humans and then go into other humans, Pretty much every news source has indicated they were live rounds. Further stories have indicated the armorer had live rounds mixed in with blanks which is even more irresponsible. 

 

 

Yes, even though blanks don't travel through humans and into other humans, they can still injure or kill people as particles still come out of the gun. Either way, it's unlikely one bullet would kill one person and injure another scientifically speaking. Did they say it was only one bullet? Because I don't see how it's possible for it to only have been one, momentum would have been lost and by the point of contact the energy would have dispersed. All I'm saying is I'm not 100% sure if physics will even allow. Can I get a further explanation???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People have been killed by bullets passing through one person and into another. It was something done by the members of SS Einsatzgruppen during WW2 either to save bullets or as a trick. Admittedly easier with a rifle, but there has been pretty of cases, during wars.

In this case, it was fired at close range and so will have plenty of energy, especially if it doesn't strike any bones.

In their press conference,  the police said that they have recovered a projectile from the director and are sending it to the FBI for testing.

 

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

51 minutes ago, Amber Rout said:

Yes, even though blanks don't travel through humans and into other humans, they can still injure or kill people as particles still come out of the gun. Either way, it's unlikely one bullet would kill one person and injure another scientifically speaking. Did they say it was only one bullet? Because I don't see how it's possible for it to only have been one, momentum would have been lost and by the point of contact the energy would have dispersed. All I'm saying is I'm not 100% sure if physics will even allow. Can I get a further explanation???

It was a loaded colt 45 at basically point blank range, physics will absolutely and clearly did allow it. 
Further Explanation: high caliber rounds go through things. Feel free to research independently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
14 hours ago, aapo lettinen said:

It is devastating on low budget shoots to see people getting bashed for trying to maintain a safe working environment for everybody. This encourages the shortcuts being made because the HODs don't dare to speak up or walk off the set in the fear of losing their reputation and further work. I really hope it would be possible to discuss openly about safety issues in this industry without the fear of being stigmatised as a "very difficult person which will not be hired again". 

Or, to put it another way, nobody ever gets any credit for accidents that didn't happen. They do very often end up being criticised for making a noise.

This happened to me on at least three unpleasantly memorable occasions and is one of the reasons I don't work on sets much anymore. One of the less wonderful things about the film industry is that people assume a lot of managerial authority without recieving any training to do it well. Directors of photography, for instance, generally come to the role having been at best a focus puller, with opportunities to observe other people doing the job, but absolutely no formal training, no qualification process, not even any real guarantee of the mentor's own competence. People are free to promote themselves to new roles at any time. By any normal standard of managerial protocol, it's utter chaos.

Cautious as I am about speculating, I'd be willing to bet this was a factor here as it is commonly a factor in many filmmaking mistakes.

Senior people in the industry need to recognise this, and ensure their approach is not prohibitive to genuine concerns being raised, especially in a cross-departmental context. It would be viewed as very inappropriate, for instance, for a member of the camera department to comment loudly on the safety behaviour of, say, a member of the art department. There are circumstances where that has to be okay and people need to be able to raise things, even abruptly and loudly, even going around the chain of command, in emergency situations, without fear of retribution. 

Right now that is very often not the case, and one reason I conclude that the film and TV production sector is often abysmally poorly managed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Phil Rhodes said:

One of the less wonderful things about the film industry is that people assume a lot of managerial authority without recieving any training to do it well.

I have actually met relatively few film industry people, production people included, who have great people management skills. It is much more common that they are in their position because they are able to stay strictly on schedule and budget and they have advanced to their position because they are good talking to people (meaning they talk A LOT most of the time which is why it is easy for them to make new friends and get funding or get hired to the next job because they know everybody).

It causes lots of conflicts when they are good at the "technical skills" of their job but they have no idea how to lead a group of people without causing lots of unnecessary friction. There is no way to know how they react to unexpected situations or situations where their view is challenged for for example safety reasons 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, Travis Shannon said:

It was a loaded colt 45 at basically point blank range, physics will absolutely and clearly did allow it. 
Further Explanation: high caliber rounds go through things. Feel free to research independently.

Alright, thanks. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Patrick Cooper said:

A really horrible ordeal. According to one report, Halyna Hutchins said that she couldn't feel her legs after the shooting. So clearly, she was conscious for some time after being shot. 

That's terrible. I wonder what wound up happening, if she spoke to Baldwin. I mean... Wow. I'm kind of speechless, I had no idea. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How many of the people who really made all the decisions that lead to this will be prosecuted? The AD and armorer and maybe the line producer, for sure, but they are lower hanging fruit. I really don't think Alec Baldwin will fight any decision made by the law as to punishment. He will take his. He will be living with immense remorse and guilt from now on...........Beyond that, the scum that kept cracking the whip, cutting every corner they could, are all now scrambling to protect themselves.  The AD and armorer have been put up as the fall guy/girl. which is obvious and just. The line producer was probably only working with 1 to 2 million when you factor in Baldwin's salary, so the corners they were tasked to "cut" were quite tight as it was, but still.....guilty!  How did they get bonded knowing that live rounds were on set??? Answer, the insurer/bondsman didn't know about them.

Time will tell us what is to come, but it has been my experience in life that wealthy and powerful people are not held to the same rules as everyone else. Given that and how small this budget seems to be, perhaps more heads will roll, like the director. . Lots of horrible shit is yet to be revealed, but who is really going to pay? That is my question.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member

This is incredible. Alec Baldwin just had an impromptu press conference in Vermont today. I need to share a couple of statements he made there:

"We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together, and then this horrible event happened…”

Hey Alec! News Flash!!! Several members of your crew QUIT before the tragedy! There was nothing well-oiled about your production! They were concerned about their safety and YOU, ALEC BALDWIN, Mr. Producer, did nothing to make your set a safe work environment.  This proves how out of touch you are with reality! 
 

And then he actually said this:

"How many bullets have gone off in movies and on TV sets before? How many, billions in the last 75 years? And nearly all of it without incident…”

                     WHAT??????
 

Another news flash! We don’t use bullets in movies and TV. We use blanks and dummy loads. Words escape me hearing how callous and tone deaf he is. His head is seriously up his ass. A bit of jail time should help here! Unbelievable!!! 
 

G

Edited by Gregory Irwin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
1 hour ago, Gregory Irwin said:

This is incredible. 

"We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together, and then this horrible event happened…”

"How many bullets have gone off in movies and on TV sets before? How many, billions in the last 75 years? And nearly all of it without incident…”             

Scary, very scary. Nothing appeared to be oiled. More like sand lubrication.

Maybe he was in his trailer most of the time? 

Edited by Tyler Purcell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
2 hours ago, Gregory Irwin said:

"How many bullets have gone off in movies and on TV sets before? How many, billions in the last 75 years? And nearly all of it without incident…”

Much as I agree with a lot of what's been said here, this is a slip in terminology - I'd pull him up on it, but what he means is clearly that a lot of blank ammunition is fired on film sets and problems are extremely rare, which is correct.

P

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Gregory Irwin said:

This is incredible. Alec Baldwin just had an impromptu press conference in Vermont today. I need to share a couple of statements he made there:

"We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together, and then this horrible event happened…”

Hey Alec! News Flash!!! Several members of your crew QUIT before the tragedy! There was nothing well-oiled about your production! They were concerned about their safety and YOU, ALEC BALDWIN, Mr. Producer, did nothing to make your set a safe work environment.  This proves how out of touch you are with reality! 
 

And then he actually said this:

"How many bullets have gone off in movies and on TV sets before? How many, billions in the last 75 years? And nearly all of it without incident…”

                     WHAT??????
 

Another news flash! We don’t use bullets in movies and TV. We use blanks and dummy loads. Words escape me hearing how callous and tone deaf he is. His head is seriously up his ass. A bit of jail time should help here! Unbelievable!!! 
 

G

Someone should have said to mr. Baldwin before the conference that the typical producer BS talk does not get his out of the hole this time and this time  it would be better to just shut up than to try to explain himself in public... 

He is a producer trying to save the movie project now when it was revealed that the working conditions and on-set safety was all over the place. It looks like they are planning on resuming shooting the film sometime later.

The movies always have the announcement in the end that "animals were not harmed during the making of this movie" but it seems that movies would need another "Human beings were not harmed during the making of this movie" certification because hurting human beings is still considered being OK in the film industry even when it is a relatively safe working environment for animals nowadays. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alec Baldwin, said it was a "one in a trillion episode", which is obviously a nonsense claim, given that deaths have happened on film shoots with guns and goes way beyond the safety levels with the airlines. I guess he hadn't thought it out straight before speaking. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-59107040

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
10 hours ago, Phil Rhodes said:

Much as I agree with a lot of what's been said here, this is a slip in terminology - I'd pull him up on it, but what he means is clearly that a lot of blank ammunition is fired on film sets and problems are extremely rare, which is correct.

P

I appreciate your positivity Phil but words matter. Baldwin does not have the luxury or even the right to miss state his words now. Bullets are lethal and do not ever belong on a movie set. If that is indeed what he meant to say (blanks), he should have used that word. Better yet, he should keep his mouth shut. He’s not doing himself any favors by speaking out and he comes across as defensive and dismissive of the situation that he with others caused. I’ve worked with him on more than one occasion and he is the most unpleasant individual. His true colors are coming out as he will try to save himself and let the others take the blame for this and go down. 
 

G

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
53 minutes ago, Gregory Irwin said:

I appreciate your positivity Phil but words matter. Baldwin does not have the luxury or even the right to miss state his words now. Bullets are lethal and do not ever belong on a movie set. If that is indeed what he meant to say (blanks), he should have used that word. Better yet, he should keep his mouth shut. He’s not doing himself any favors by speaking out and he comes across as defensive and dismissive of the situation that he with others caused. I’ve worked with him on more than one occasion and he is the most unpleasant individual. His true colors are coming out as he will try to save himself and let the others take the blame for this and go down. 
 

G

Yes, he should have got this right, no question, and that's what I mean by pulling him up on it.

I'm not really here to defend or to criticise anyone, though. What I fear is that all of the world's highly professional armourers, with a proud history of having kept firearms accidents on film sets down to what I interpret as exceptionally low levels, will end up suffering the consequences of one situation, regardless of how that situation arose. As ever, it only takes one idiotic mistake to spoil things for everyone. They don't deserve that.

To address something else that's come up quite a lot in discussion of this, firearms simulation effects do not have a history of looking very good. I'd be the first to point out that they're often not done nearly as well as they could be done, and that is something that the industry should brush up on; it's a bit much when YouTube channels are making whole videos out of fixing the firearms effects in major action movies

P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was willing to cut Baldwin some slack, but forget it now. He was probably told to go hide in the Green Mountains and keep his mouth shut, but couldn't even do that. In the video he came across as quite disingenuous and has chosen to stand with production. Well oiled my ass!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...