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Alec Baldwin fatal prop gun shooting raises questions about working conditions


A compliance officer and security officers at New Mexico’s Bonanza Creek Ranch, Oct. 22nd 2021. The film location was where Alec Baldwin killed cinematographer Halyna HUTCHINS and injured a director after he fired a protruding gun.

Adria Malcolm | Reuters

Although prop guns are not known to cause injury or even death, they can be used in an emergency. the accidental killing of Halyna HutchinsOn Thursday, a Sante Fe film set sparked questions about the working conditions of Hollywood crew members.

Kevin Williams, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television prop department supervisor, said, “I have been in this industry for 21 years.” I have never heard of such a situation. This is definitely one such thing, which sounds like an old cliche, but really it’s a freak accident.

Investigations are ongoing into the incident. Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Alec Baldwin shot a prop gun at “Rust,” which was being filmed at Bonanza Creek Ranch. This killed the director of photography of the film and injured Joel Souza.

Souza has been released from the hospital since then and no charges have been brought against him. CNBC’s request to comment on Souza’s condition was not answered by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office.

Although it is not clear what happened on Thursday, industry workers have started to ask about the working conditions of set crews. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Workers has received these questions. works to finalize a new three-year contractAlliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers addresses the union’s needs better working hoursYou will have a safer work environment and better benefits.

Williams stated, “There were times when I worked on projects for 18-20 hours and was then asked to return to six.”

Crew protested about working conditions

Friday’s statement by the IATSE addressed Hutchins’ passing and encouraged its members to call the safety hotline of their union if they feel unsafe while on-set.

The statement stated that the entire alliance was grieving with Halyna and her family. Each of us needs to be alert every single day to ensure safety. If you spot something, please let us know.

The union did not respond to further questions.

According to NBC News’ source, half a dozen workers on the camera crew marched off the Rust set protesting working conditions mere hours before shooting began. Their concerns included multiple misfires of the prop gun

The Freitag vor dem Los Angeles TimesAccording to three people who were not identified, the crew felt frustrated at the long working hours. Also, it claimed there had been two other prop gun misfires at the location: one from Saturday and one from Monday.

​”The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company,” Rust Movie Productions said in a statement provided to CNBC. We are conducting an internal review while production is stopped. “We were unaware of any complaints about prop and weapon safety, but we have been made aware.”

Rust Productions will cooperate with Santa Fe police in the investigation.

Potential system failure

Hollywood films adhere to stringent safety standards for stunt work. This includes prop and weapon safety. Safety bulletins have been prepared and distributed by the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee.

According to the bulletin, “Blanks could kill.” Treat all firearms like they were loaded. It is forbidden to use or bring ‘live ammunition’ onto any studio lot, stage or set.

These guidelines may not be applicable to reality TV shows such as “Top Shot” and “Mythbusters”, where live rounds are used for scientific testing or marksmanship competition.

Williams stated, “I can tell you unambiguously that it is easy to distinguish a blank round from a live one in the hands of an expert armorer or prop master.” I can’t believe anyone would just say “whoops” and put it in.

Additionally, safety training is given to all actors and crew who participate in firearm stunts. Ballistic shields may be employed in situations where the director would like to shoot a weapon being pointed towards the camera, and then fired.

He said that there are many safety precautions in place. If a live bullet was accidentally loaded in a weapon that’s older than it is, we will need to find out how that happened.”

Williams described it as a “potential success in the system.”