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S Harber

A very bad day in GA

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Very sad day indeed.

Our friend Richard Lightstone is on this picture. My thoughts and love to all and especially the family and friends of those injured and killed. Tragic event for sure.

CrewC

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More in Hollywood Reporter from the set of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider:

 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/movie-crewmember-killed-train-accident-682241

 

The Variety story says that they were all on a narrow bridge, trying to move a bed out of the way. The set still photographer helped the director make it to safety, but it says that seven people were injured from flying debris. Very sad.

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Mirror   

How does this happen?  This is the kind of stuff you would expect on a student film with little to no experienced crew members.  Location managers? Producers?  AD's?  How does this happen?  This is tragic. 

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Jan McL   

This is our collective worst nightmare come true again.

So sorry Richard and all involved.

We are all with you. Thousands of us. Hope the knowledge of that solidarity helps some.

J

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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This is VERY sad... 

 

To me - it is unbelievable that this has happened on a union film in the USA - where i thought crew safety was held high in priority compared to India. 

 

Years ago, on a film shoot, on the very first day of the shoot, first shot, a girl was hit by a train and i believe she died on the spot although she was rushed to emergency in a hospital nearby and declared dead. 

 

The DOP and me (class mates from film school) were the ONLY ones who stayed with our statements to the police and in court - that it was totally the fault of the director cum producer who did not bother about crew safety and put them in harm's way by choosing to start the shoot well before they had permission to do so. This meant there were NO police or personnel from the Railways on the site. 

 

My DOP friend and I had to go through tremendous stress from the time of the incident until years later when we finally testified in a higher court of law and were cross-examined by the other side, etc etc... but we did it and saw it through. 

 

This guy - the director/producer was initially jailed for a few weeks and then let out. I believe the case was closed sometime in 2008... 

 

Just goes to say - shit can happen anywhere and in any country, regardless. Maybe my opinion about high standards of crew safety in the US is moot. After seeing a part of Haskell Wexler's documentary - i felt there is no greener grass on the other side... Maybe US unions are not doing their work as they should overall... 

 

My thoughts are out with those who are in hospital and the family of the deceased... 

 

-vin

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Mirror   

This is VERY sad... 

 

To me - it is unbelievable that this has happened on a union film in the USA - where i thought crew safety was held high in priority compared to India. 

 

Years ago, on a film shoot, on the very first day of the shoot, first shot, a girl was hit by a train and i believe she died on the spot although she was rushed to emergency in a hospital nearby and declared dead. 

 

The DOP and me (class mates from film school) were the ONLY ones who stayed with our statements to the police and in court - that it was totally the fault of the director cum producer who did not bother about crew safety and put them in harm's way by choosing to start the shoot well before they had permission to do so. This meant there were NO police or personnel from the Railways on the site. 

 

My DOP friend and I had to go through tremendous stress from the time of the incident until years later when we finally testified in a higher court of law and were cross-examined by the other side, etc etc... but we did it and saw it through. 

 

This guy - the director/producer was initially jailed for a few weeks and then let out. I believe the case was closed sometime in 2008... 

 

Just goes to say - shit can happen anywhere and in any country, regardless. Maybe my opinion about high standards of crew safety in the US is moot. After seeing a part of Haskell Wexler's documentary - i felt there is no greener grass on the other side... Maybe US unions are not doing their work as they should overall... 

 

My thoughts are out with those who are in hospital and the family of the deceased... 

 

-vin

 

Not all I.A shooting areas are the same in professionalism, proficiency and safety.  In the California area (and I believe the NY area too, although I can't say for certain) each person in a craft spends years learning and perfecting that craft only.  If you're a grip, you are a grip only, and learn ALL that there is to do your job competently and safely.  In other words, there is more to being a grip than setting a C-stand and scratching your ass.  If a grip screws up his job, people can get hurt or killed.  In other states in the U.S., this job proficiency is not as common.  You can be craft service one day and key grip the next, but your steady income is from cooking sopapillas at the local Stuckeys truck stop.  Usually all that it takes to be hired for these out-of-state movie jobs is to know the right person and grease the palm of the I.A. business rep.  I've seen this happen too many times.  I've also talked to many Los Angeles key grips that come back from out of state shows where they are forced to hire locals.  Their stories center around the lack of safety and knowledge of those local grips.

 

The way I see it, this train accident is the fault of inexperienced Producers, AD's, Location Managers and train officials.  These people should of known the dangerous situation they were filming in and should have communicated and planned until they were blue in the face. When you add in a local film crew that feel so luck to have a job that they'll do anything to try to impress the producers, these accidents are asking to happen.

 

If you are offended by my post because you live in one of these areas, I don't give a s***.  This accident was preventable by true professionals.  

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ProSound   

 

 

If you are offended by my post because you live in one of these areas, I don't give a s***.  This accident was preventable by true professionals.  

How about if you live in the Town that this accident happened in and had close friends who I have worked with for years seriously injured? Can I be offended then? We may not be from LA but are crew are very experienced here and are true professionals this was NOT a student film with a bunch of amateurs. I find it personally offensive to be called anything but a professional. I wish everyone would stop speculating and wait for the report from OSHA instead of trying to place blame without all the facts 

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Bondelev   

For the record, this was a union crew. The director had more than 20 years of experience. At least some of the crew had been flown in from Los Angrles.

This could have happened anywhere.

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I know Sarah, and was supposed to be working with her on another movie yesterday and today. 

I don't know what happened, but I know the production company quoted in Variety has limited experience in producing feature films.

They were very discouraging towards hiring non-local crew people for this project.  Also, they are not considered great to work with in the regional market.

 

The email they sent to Variety underscores their lack of professionalism in other ways as well.

 

I also note that the railroad may be liable for negligence as they did not send at least an observer when they were aware of a film crew on adjoining property to their line.  Especially when they had given a schedule to that crew.

 

My heart aches for the Sarah's family, and all of the other injured people on this project.

 

Our crew has of course heard many stories about the circumstances of the shoot that day, and I don't know which are true, but I am still astounded that anyone thought it was a good idea to put a piece of set dressing on a real track without the presence of railroad personel.  This kind of shot could so easily be done on a heap of gravel with fake track, and a plate shot of a real live track.

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"I am still astounded that anyone thought it was a good idea to put a piece of set dressing on a real track without the presence of railroad personel.  This kind of shot could so easily be done on a heap of gravel with fake track, and a plate shot of a real live track."

 

Exactly....

 

How many people on this crew thought about this, planned for this, both before shooting and during, and nobody threw a flag?.. Strange..

 

My brain would of been screaming...  NOT A GOOD IDEA!!!!!!   and... I'm an idiot....  Smarter persons should of known better... You WOULD NOT of seen me anywhere near those tracks..

 

Putting things ON the tracks... really?..   Like Christofer says... astounding.... 

 

If you look at the tracks, and the surface is not 5 mm of rust... BEWARE.. Actually beware anyhow... just like handling a gun..

 

Very, very sorry for the gal and her family....  horrible.... I can't imagine...

 

Train tracks are train tracks.... anywhere in the world.... A million pounds of steel traveling at speed  without the ability to turn, veer or steer away.... and braking takes a mile.... or more...  STAY OFF THE F**KING TRACKS!!!

 

Key Grip, 1st AD, Producer and the Director should be ashamed of themselves...

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For the record, this was a union crew. The director had more than 20 years of experience. At least some of the crew had been flown in from Los Angrles.

This could have happened anywhere.

was it tier 2 union shoot?

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I'm curious what sort of emergency plan was in place, and if proper safety instructions were given. Richard Lightstone was there, so perhaps he can share with us if he feels it appropriate.

It seems everyone agrees that production was told if you hear a horn you have a minute to get of the track. Even under the assumption there will be no train, a 1-minute emergency plan should have been discussed.

I know I ignore safety meetings more often than I should, which is something I'll be looking to change.

I also hope production will stop the default "safety meeting at call" on every day's call sheet.

Robert

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"If you are offended by my post because you live in one of these areas, I don't give a s***. This accident was preventable by true professionals."

Mirror,

I know you don't give a s*** about this area, but blaming the local crew's professionalism is a bit outta line. This was a tragic accident that should have been prevented by everyone involved in this production, and as a few have speculated, possibly even the railroad.

Please keep your demeaning and offensive comments concerning the crew out of this tragedy. Instead a bit of sympathy for those involved might be a more meaningful comment at this time.

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Mirror   

"If you are offended by my post because you live in one of these areas, I don't give a s***. This accident was preventable by true professionals."

Mirror,

I know you don't give a s*** about this area, but blaming the local crew's professionalism is a bit outta line. This was a tragic accident that should have been prevented by everyone involved in this production, and as a few have speculated, possibly even the railroad.

Please keep your demeaning and offensive comments concerning the crew out of this tragedy. Instead a bit of sympathy for those involved might be a more meaningful comment at this time.

 

Is it out of line? I think not. I bet Sarah's family doesn't think so either.  Her death and the other injuries did not have to happen.  They were caused by not knowing what the f*** you're doing.  Another word for that is unprofessionalism.  I blame the producers, AD's, director and location manager.  Accomplices are an under experienced crew willing to do stupid stuff because someone told them to.

 

Sympathy?  I have so much sympathy for these people that I'm pissed off they have to suffer over something that was preventable.

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Mirror   

How about if you live in the Town that this accident happened in and had close friends who I have worked with for years seriously injured? Can I be offended then? We may not be from LA but are crew are very experienced here and are true professionals this was NOT a student film with a bunch of amateurs. I find it personally offensive to be called anything but a professional. I wish everyone would stop speculating and wait for the report from OSHA instead of trying to place blame without all the facts 

 

If you know any of these people I extend my condolences. I wish a speedy recovery for those injured and pray that Sarah's family and friends find peace in dealing with their devastating loss.

 

This horrible event was caused by lack of knowledge on how a film is shot around train tracks.

 

As far as speculating, I know that trains don't just suddenly make a left turn off a street and show up on a track unexpectedly. I also know that there are train employees whose job is to know where and when every train is.  It is clear that the production company didn't bother to even find that information out.  Or, perhaps they did and just ignored it.  That is what I call unprofessional.

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Our crew has of course heard many stories about the circumstances of the shoot that day, and I don't know which are true, but I am still astounded that anyone thought it was a good idea to put a piece of set dressing on a real track without the presence of railroad personel.  This kind of shot could so easily be done on a heap of gravel with fake track, and a plate shot of a real live track.

 

They absolutely could have done it with green screen and it would've been fine. A composite like this is absolutely trivial. There was no need for the bed to even be on the tracks, let alone people being on the tracks. Even worse when you realize the train tracks were on a narrow bridge that left no room for escape.

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"As far as speculating, I know that trains don't just suddenly make a left turn off a street and show up on a track unexpectedly"

- in some crowded rail areas they do. Particularly near urban areas. There mare many types of trains that all share the same rails. Amtrak, regional commuter, freight trains - all different companies , not all sharing info very well. This is why railroad crews use several people to keep their crews safe. Schedule information is not relied on.

Without the direct cooperation and communication from the railroad and a team of people dedicated to keeping everybody safe, the rails are death traps. No excuse for this happening. I hope justice is served. Too sad.

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No pun, but we are getting off track in trying to assign blame without all the facts. Am I mad? Am I sad that this happened? Yes. The truth will come out and hopefully it will help all find some peace. Like all of us, I am in complete empathy with the family and friends of all injured and the woman killed family and friends. So needless this loss of life.

CrewC

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THIS is why you speak up when something seems dangerous and stupid. I've done it before. Even seasoned professionals can have an accident. Factor in the hours we work, the rush to get things done, and maybe drop one or two green people in the chain and things can go very wrong.

If nothing else, hopefully this stays in the backs of our collective minds and crew members speak up when concerned.

Any of that applies even before adding in a possibility of somebody cutting a corner or any kind of negligence or stupidity (speaking in general).

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THIS is why you speak up when something seems dangerous and stupid. I've done it before. Even seasoned professionals can have an accident. Factor in the hours we work, the rush to get things done, and maybe drop one or two green people in the chain and things can go very wrong.

If nothing else, hopefully this stays in the backs of our collective minds and crew members speak up when concerned.

Any of that applies even before adding in a possibility of somebody cutting a corner or any kind of negligence or stupidity (speaking in general).

This is a good point. So often safety and common sense is ignored.

I believe that it's relatively easy for a train to "change plans" and for the change not to make it to the right people. There should have been a proper emergency plan in place to get everyone off the track in the 1 minute they had from the whistle to the train. If there wasn't a good plan available, then nobody should have been there.

Robert

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They absolutely could have done it with green screen and it would've been fine. A composite like this is absolutely trivial. There was no need for the bed to even be on the tracks, let alone people being on the tracks. Even worse when you realize the train tracks were on a narrow bridge that left no room for escape.

I certainly agree with this and it is also true for many of the daily shots we do that are dangerous like insert car shots. 

CrewC

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This is a good point. So often safety and common sense is ignored.

I believe that it's relatively easy for a train to "change plans" and for the change not to make it to the right people. There should have been a proper emergency plan in place to get everyone off the track in the 1 minute they had from the whistle to the train. If there wasn't a good plan available, then nobody should have been there.

Robert

Yeah, like a lookout on each side, a ways down the track.... on a walkie at the very least....  

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I have shot near train tracks before and we had a rep from CSX with us at ALL times. I read that the crew was on a trestle, making their escape more difficult when the train came. I know the whole truth is not out yet, but I have a hard time believing they had permission to shoot what they were shooting where they were shooting without a CSX rep present.

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