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Geovane Marquez

Crew Sign In sheet

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I'm having trouble looking for a low budget crew sign in sheet, where they sign in in and can't sue the producers if they get injured. Thank You. This is also a SAG shoot.

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You can have them sign something, but you can never get out of the legal requirements. Meaning that even if you have them sign something, that does not mean you get out of OSHA regulations for working conditions and worker's compensation requirements. It's like company's forcing employees to signing arbitration agreements in order to be hired, it still doesn't mean they forfeit their constitutional rights to a court of law if it's appropriate.

 

Laws are laws for a reason, not just guidelines you get to choose to follow. There are OSHA regulations and workers' comp because of employers like you trying to get out of doing the right thing.

Edited by Michele Peterson

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There are OSHA regulations and workers' comp because of employers like you trying to get out of doing the right thing.

 

Wow, this is a bit harsh Michele...you know nothing about this man but you are judging that he doesn't want to do the right thing. I actually used to study management in college and are you aware that the majority of workplace accidents are NOT because employers don't provide safety gear but rather BECAUSE employee's choose not to use it? Especially when it comes to guys and lifting because their ego makes them feel they don't need to be safe. You should really learn what you're talking about before you open your mouth on this.

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Michelle's assumption seems reasonable to me. I can't count the number of times I've been asked to do stuff without any safety gear ("use this aerial lift with a flat tire and no harness," "I doubt that stuff has asbestos in it," "No, that height of freestanding parallels is legal. Also, those scaffolding treads are safe. They just look dryrotten."), and it's usually on "low budget" jobs.

 

If an employer really wants to cover their ass and make a safe workplace, they won't offer safety gear. They will require it.

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Wow, this is a bit harsh Michele...you know nothing about this man but you are judging that he doesn't want to do the right thing. I actually used to study management in college and are you aware that the majority of workplace accidents are NOT because employers don't provide safety gear but rather BECAUSE employee's choose not to use it? Especially when it comes to guys and lifting because their ego makes them feel they don't need to be safe. You should really learn what you're talking about before you open your mouth on this.

 

 

You ought to think about what you're saying before you tell others to. You are making assumptions that the only possible injury is because of employee negligence. The real world, especially low budget shoots, are not the same as statistics in class. I've been on sets where I was told to walk on top of the wall. The key grip telling me to even admitted that it was against the studios policy, but still told me to do it. I've been on another set where others have stood on a wooden pallet sitting on top of a fork-lift 15' in the air. These are not employee negligence, but employers who do not follow OSHA regulations! As a set medic, I have seen many other injuries first hand as well.

 

The employer has a legal responsibility to train employees on safety requirements and ensure they are followed by supervising employees. OSHA requires this.

 

Worker's compensation is the law. The right thing to do is to follow the law. Anyone breaking the law, is doing the wrong thing! Simple as that. The right thing is to protect one's employees that risk themselves working long hours, at fast paces, for weeks on end in harsh conditions with heavy machinery and equipment.

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Some jobs are dangerous by their very nature. You shouldn't be in a dangerous line of work if you cannot handle it. You can blame others all you want but if you do something, you chose to do it. Unless someone holds a gun to your head, you still have free will.

 

Take for instance a stunt man...no matter how many precautions are taken, you cannot make the job 100% safe. There is going to be risks involved. The same goes for electricians and others on the set. You make the decision whether you wish to work under a given condition and you have the right to quit whenever you wish. The 13th ammendment of the USA bans involuntary servitude so if you work in the US, you can't be forced to do anything you don't want.

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Worker's compensation is the law.

 

Absolutely correct, Michelle. One of the major problems that I think we all see in the low budget world is people placing themselves in the position of employers without an understanding of the responsibility that entails. I think anyone producing a film would do well to first think of themselves as an "employer", and then look into what that entails legally. There are labor laws that define certain parts of the employee/employer relationship and, luckily, they set limits about what is and isn't acceptable.

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Some jobs are dangerous by their very nature. You shouldn't be in a dangerous line of work if you cannot handle it. You can blame others all you want but if you do something, you chose to do it. Unless someone holds a gun to your head, you still have free will.

 

Take for instance a stunt man...no matter how many precautions are taken, you cannot make the job 100% safe. There is going to be risks involved. The same goes for electricians and others on the set. You make the decision whether you wish to work under a given condition and you have the right to quit whenever you wish. The 13th ammendment of the USA bans involuntary servitude so if you work in the US, you can't be forced to do anything you don't want.

 

Of course. I did not walk on the wall, and I was not one to get on the forklift that others did, but that does not excuse someone who is trying to break the law and not cover what is an innate risk in the job. Just because they took a job with inherent risk, does not mean that the employer does not have to cover those risks. Who would take those risk for nothing? Would you expect a fireman come to your house to put out a fire if he was going to be hung out to dry if he got hurt? You may find someone foolish enough to do it, but those are going to be the people that can't follow directions correctly and can't hold a job on a better set because the cut corners, like not following safety guidelines. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

You seem to be really sensitive about this topic. I have a suspicion you might be one of the director (as your profile lists you) types that tries to save your dime at the expense of your crew, because that's the root of all this.

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You seem to be really sensitive about this topic. I have a suspicion you might be one of the director (as your profile lists you) types that tries to save your dime at the expense of your crew, because that's the root of all this.

 

I do try to save money because if I don't, I won't make films. But I can't recall ever asking anyone to do anything dangerous. I'm the only one who has ever did something dangerous on my set.

 

Why I'm sensitive about this is, because like I said before, I used to be in management and it's so frustrating to deal with having to "protect people from themselves." Sad to say but there are people in this world that have to be told that if you spill Aircraft paint stripper on the floor, you shouldn't attempt to clean it up with your bare hands. Companies tirelessly place MSDS and OSHA regulations and spend $$$ to make employees go through safety modules (I encountered this back when I managed at WalMart) and people don't pay any attention to the modules they read and then they want worker's comp because, quite frankly, they are too stupid to protect themselves. Chris can say all he wants that companies should REQUIRE safety gear but companies can't possibly have a manager to supervise every single employee 100% of the time. Shouldn't people use their brain?

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Because I wasn't there, I won't use names....

 

But, I once spoke with a very reputable top First AC in the industry who was working one a very large studio movie that involved lots of stunts. One regular setup required the crew to sort of hang off of one of the hero-cars. According to the First AC, evidently the studio refused to pay hazard-pay because that would open them up to legal liability as the paying of hazard-pay implies that what they are asking the crew to do is inherently dangerous. So, according to their lawyers (who are quite formidable), simply not admitting the danger somehow would free them from liability, or so they claimed.

 

I'm not a lawyer so I have no idea if that would stand up in court, but this happened and may still happen. It all happened prior to the requirement for IA members to take safety training administered through Contract Services. THAT training SHOULD make the industry safer as crews are "checked out" on safety requirements in a variety of situations, however (so I've heard) it also releases the studio from liability because they can claim that the crew (members) should know better and can report and/or refuse to do anything inherently dangerous. That's a nice theory, but we all know that a squeaky wheel simply doesn't get to go back to work the next day or possibly ever. And in a business that works primarily on word-of-mouth, the choice to do that dangerous thing to continue working or to not do the dangerous thing and possibly get "black-listed" isn't always straightforward.

Edited by Brian Dzyak

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Take for instance a stunt man...no matter how many precautions are taken, you cannot make the job 100% safe. There is going to be risks involved. The same goes for electricians and others on the set.

 

Except for stunt people who are willingly and knowingly doing dangerous stuff, there are no jobs on a film set that shouldn't be 99.99+% safe.

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Except for stunt people who are willingly and knowingly doing dangerous stuff, there are no jobs on a film set that shouldn't be 99.99+% safe.

 

Chris, working fast food isn't even 99.99% safe. I can't think of any job that is. Even school teachers nowadays are at risk of getting shot by a disgruntled student.

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Except for stunt people who are willingly and knowingly doing dangerous stuff, there are no jobs on a film set that shouldn't be 99.99+% safe.

 

Lion wrangler...

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Lion wrangler...

 

Thanks. <_< Way to think about the specifics before you consider the point of the statement.

 

My point is that most jobs on a film needn't be anymore dangerous than working a normal job like in a warehouse or an office or a fast food joint. Despite that, accident rates on film sets are much higher and it's because of this coercion to "do it for the shot" or the ignorance to sign away your rights as an employee.

 

If you can't tell, this annoys the hell out of me. I'm not asking productions to do anything more than other workplaces. If you were caught in a fiberglass insulation factory without safety gear, you would be reprimanded once (if you got a warning at all) and then fired. On a film set, safety gear is often not available or its educated and proper use is not enforced as it should be.

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If you can't tell, this annoys the hell out of me. I'm not asking productions to do anything more than other workplaces. If you were caught in a fiberglass insulation factory without safety gear, you would be reprimanded once (if you got a warning at all) and then fired. On a film set, safety gear is often not available or its educated and proper use is not enforced as it should be.

 

Well, film sets aren't like a normal job in more ways than safety. For one, how many normal jobs do people volunteer for with no pay? Or even if they get pay, it averages out to like $4.00/hr in some cases. Also, many film sets expect the AC or DP to have their own camera. This is equivalent to getting hired at Target and them expecting you to bring your own cash register.

 

I admit that many things are absurd. I guess I think the flow of the jobs though in many ways resemble more of an independent contractor sort of deal rather than employee/employer situation. Indeed, if cast/crew were considered independent contractors, studios would be real happy because all of your legal protections go right out the window.

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There should be no production that is asking somebody to sign a contract waiving basic constitutional rights. A person

has the right to seek due process of law and shouldn't be asked to sign something that will prevent that person from

doing so later.

 

Agreements such as this, although they exist in various incarnations, tend to not hold up anyway.

 

This is why it is often difficult for low budget productions to get permission to shoot at a desired location. The location

owner often is inclined to be nice and even provide the location for free to an independent filmmaker or student but if the production doesn't have insurance; the location owner knows that he or she can be sued if one of the filmmakers has an accident.

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Being from a different country this might all be a bit theoretical, but here the difference between employment and self-employment (what I think you call an 'independent contractor') is fundamentally about the control of the person's work. If you just do as instructed, you're an employee. If you are given broad directions but do the job the way you think it should be done, you're self-employed. A contractor's client tells him what needs doing, an employer tells him how to do it. Here, a contractor would be responsible for his own health and safety and simply wouldn't risk it, because he'd be the one with the broken leg not working tomorrow.

So if you're told 'put this light there', you're an employee. If you're asked to 'light this scene', you're a contractor. Probably.

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Being from a different country this might all be a bit theoretical, but here the difference between employment and self-employment (what I think you call an 'independent contractor') is fundamentally about the control of the person's work. If you just do as instructed, you're an employee. If you are given broad directions but do the job the way you think it should be done, you're self-employed. A contractor's client tells him what needs doing, an employer tells him how to do it. Here, a contractor would be responsible for his own health and safety and simply wouldn't risk it, because he'd be the one with the broken leg not working tomorrow.

So if you're told 'put this light there', you're an employee. If you're asked to 'light this scene', you're a contractor. Probably.

 

My personal take is that a DP should be considered an independent contractor instead of an employee. One of the biggest reasons? Because DPs generally assigned a rate instead of being told what they are going to get paid. This is a bit like a bid in the legal sense. Bids make you a contractor, not an employee. Also, DPs aren't usually given direct commands of what to do but general ideas of what they want and they have the autonomy to execute it how they wish. There are more reasons why DPs should be ICs but I won't go into them here.

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Some jobs are dangerous by their very nature. You shouldn't be in a dangerous line of work if you cannot handle it. You can blame others all you want but if you do something, you chose to do it. Unless someone holds a gun to your head, you still have free will.

So if you really feel this way Matthew, why won't you ask a crew member to do something inherently dangerous on your low-budget uninsured set, like performing a tie-in, or handholding a camera on top of a 15' stack of pallets, or going up in a condor on soft uneven ground?

 

Isn't this because you feel you would have a legal responsibility as a producer if they got hurt? It's not solely the crew member's fault for doing what you asked them to do, is it? So doesn't that invalidate the point you're making above?

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Isn't this because you feel you would have a legal responsibility as a producer if they got hurt? It's not solely the crew member's fault for doing what you asked them to do, is it? So doesn't that invalidate the point you're making above?

 

No, it's more because I have ethics and I wouldn't ask someone to do something I wouldn't do. I wouldn't care if it's totally and completely legal, I don't want that on my conscience. Some people don't care though. I don't want people to take what I say the wrong way...I never said it was ethical to do things that some Producers do. I only said that if someone is in a high risk job that you may be asked to do things that aren't safe. You can either accept or reject this. I agree with Chris that jobs shouldn't HAVE to be dangerous but because of human nature, they are. It all stems from people trying to save money or low-budget filmmakers writing scripts way beyond their budget range. Then they have to take crazy risks because they can't afford to approach a script problem from the proper way so they cut corners to get the shot at the expensive of their crew's welfare.

 

What I find interesting is that Actor's will rarely, if ever, take a role without reading the script or knowing what role they will perform. Why is it that no one seems to think that the grip or whoever should inquire about the duties expected of them ON THAT PARTICULAR SHOOT before accepting a job? Sounds resonable enough, doesn't it?

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My personal take is that a DP should be considered an independent contractor instead of an employee.

My personal take is that independent contractor vs. employee debates should only be relevant when dealing with The Tax Man. I was astounded to read your earlier statements about OSHA not applying to contractors. I couldn't believe it, but I had a quick look at the OSHA and it appears you are right.

 

I much prefer Ontario's approach (H&S issues are regulated at the provincial level in Canada, not the Federal level). Ontario's Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) defines an employer as anyone who employs others, or who engages the services of a contractor, at which point the contractor also becomes an employer. The employer's responsibility is to provide a safe workplace for everyone, not just for "employees".

 

There's another subtle result of Ontario's approach - it puts the onus on everyone to provide safe workplaces, whereas the U.S. approach seems to end up encouraging those in power to do their best to shift the onus onto someone else.

 

--

Jim

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Being from a different country this might all be a bit theoretical, but here the difference between employment and self-employment (what I think you call an 'independent contractor') is fundamentally about the control of the person's work. If you just do as instructed, you're an employee. If you are given broad directions but do the job the way you think it should be done, you're self-employed. A contractor's client tells him what needs doing, an employer tells him how to do it. Here, a contractor would be responsible for his own health and safety and simply wouldn't risk it, because he'd be the one with the broken leg not working tomorrow.

So if you're told 'put this light there', you're an employee. If you're asked to 'light this scene', you're a contractor. Probably.

 

In the US, independent contractor status was designed for people like plumbers, who are hired by a homeowner who is not a bussiness owner, but needs services. The homeowner does not have to set up a tax account to pay taxes just to get a clogged drain fixed, the plumber handles that. Since he determines how he will handle the task/job at hand, he is responsible for his own safety.

 

Whether someone is an employee or IC is determined by things such as if they determine how to do the work, their hours, provide their own tools, if the job of the employer/client is the same field.

 

As far as an IC being someone who has their rate set, I don't agree with that. If a given employer has a set salary they will pay for any given job, there will always be someone who thinks they are worth more and won't take that job. Most people negotiate their salary and raises anyway.

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As far as an IC being someone who has their rate set, I don't agree with that. If a given employer has a set salary they will pay for any given job, there will always be someone who thinks they are worth more and won't take that job. Most people negotiate their salary and raises anyway.

 

In theory, this should be right but most (if not all) paralegals are considered ICs despite the fact that attorneys even tell them when they need to perform given services. I think a lot of it has to do with the level of control the other person has over the laborer in question. Many jobs in the USA ride the fine line and some probably shouldn't be considered ICs who are but if it goes unreported, it seems no one cares really.

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Also worth considering is the duration... say you are hiring someone for just a day, or two or three... are they really an employee? Say someone works (with) you 6 to 10 days a year.. are they an employee? Should you be responsible for their healthcare just for a couple days?

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This subject just reminded me of an experience recently. An AD overheard a conversation I was having with a very experienced AC, in jest, about the production's insurance and workers comp. He immediately set the record straight that if we're doing something that is obviously quite unsafe, and we just happen to get injured, that it is "null and f***ing void, and we're on our own". Out of curiosity, I would like to have read the specifics of their policy, just to see what specifics of unsafe behavior it entailed.

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