Safety Heroes: Meet the Union Workers Who Are Creating a Culture of Safer Sets Every Single Day

29 March 2020

Experts agree on this point: when it comes to safety, the film and TV industry has been complacent for too long. In the 1980s, if filmmakers needed to capture the majesty of the Cabrillo Highway in California’s stunning Big Sur region, they would find camera operators willing to hang out of an open helicopter, one arm through a strut, the other holding a camera on their shoulders. The same went for visualizing the real power of a horse stampede. Producers could easily hire an operator to ride backward in the saddle, in the middle of the pack, with a camera on their shoulder.

And there are many more such stories. One is a sequence in the 1992 Orion Pictures feature Love Field, where the crew was doing a tractor-trailer jackknife accident stunt that was so dangerous there was a good possibility the stunt actor would be fatally injured! Everyone on his team came up and hugged him before the stunt, in case he didn’t survive. (No lie.)

Unbelievable? Outrageous? Unthinkable?

Yes to all of the above, but back in the (not so long ago) day, accidents were considered a part of the job. Some are still referenced, while others have receded from the industry’s collective memory.

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