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‘Midnight Rider’ Director Randall Miller Issues Statement From Jail – Updated

 

 

wow, this guy. 

 

“The location manager, the production designer, the unit production manager, the cinematographer, assistant director and others all made mistakes that led to this, but I have taken responsibility because I could have asked more questions, and I was the one in charge." 

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He was told by the location manager that they did not have permission to get on the tracks. It aired last night on ABC's 20/20. He now is playing the sacrificial lamb and taking the blame for others who did not do their jobs.... Glad he is not going to be in the industry for 10 years.

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He was told by the location manager that they did not have permission to get on the tracks. It aired last night on ABC's 20/20. He now is playing the sacrificial lamb and taking the blame for others who did not do their jobs.... Glad he is not going to be in the industry for 10 years.

You can bet he will plead to the court to allow him to work shortly after he gets out. Will probably claim some sort of hardship, inability to provide for his family, yada, yada ...

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You can bet he will plead to the court to allow him to work shortly after he gets out. Will probably claim some sort of hardship, inability to provide for his family, yada, yada ...

That will be about a year from now, he'll be looking for work as a "consultant".

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‘Midnight Rider’ Director Randall Miller Issues Statement From Jail – Updated

 

wow, this guy. 

 

“The location manager, the production designer, the unit production manager, the cinematographer, assistant director and others all made mistakes that led to this, but I have taken responsibility because I could have asked more questions, and I was the one in charge." 

 

While the director may have been the motivation to push through the safety protocols, I agree with his statement that he took much of the hit from others (though not everyone he listed). I'm not sure if it was mentioned in this thread, but it is well known that his reversal of "not guilty" to "guilty" and imprisonment was in exchange for no jail time for his wife, one of the producers.

 

I'm afraid we are overlooking a major point that we, as film crew workers, should be more concerned about: The role and responsibility of the 1st AD is being overshadowed by the news reporting, publicity, and general industry buzz surrounding the directorAs most of us know, the news media and general public are unaware that the 1st AD is the person who runs the sets, tells the crew what to do, pushes to get the most out of us, and is the trained gate-keeper of safety. On a union and DGA film -- even a smallish one like "Midnight Rider" -- it is not the director that directs the crew, it is the 1st AD.

 

I do not know Midnight Rider's 1st AD, Hillary Schwartz, and don't believe I've ever worked with her. I have no knowledge of her being any less than a stellar 1st AD on her previous productions, and I'm sure she is devastated by the entire event. But I believe that she is no less responsible for this tragedy than the director, and, in my opinion, more responsible than anyone involved. The 1st AD is the one the crew looks to for their safety. The 1st AD is the one tasked and trained to say "no" when told to do things that break safety protocols for the cast and crew. The 1st AD is the one who calls the safety meetings and generally conducts them, but she intentionally skipped the safety meeting that day before the crew took to the tracks. Regardless of what the director was doing, if the 1st AD had sad "no", then no crew members would have been on the tracks that day.

 

While the 1st AD was convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter because she knowing broke a law resulting in the death of Sarah Jones, for which she received 10 years probation and a fine (like the director) but no jail time (unlike the director), it is implied in industry articles on the subject that she was treated more easily by the court in exchange for her cooperation in providing information in prosecuting the others. The problem with this for film crew members is that it implies that the director has the authority to tell the 1st AD to ignore safety protocols and reduces the perception of responsibility of the ultra-important role of the 1st AD on the set.

 

The amount of attention this tragedy has brought to the serious issue of the dangers and need for safety on film productions is great, but I believe that a 1st AD would be less likely to pressure us to work in the trunk of a moving car if there was recent precedent of an accident in such a situation resulting not only in probation and a fine, but also jail time.

 

GT

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Anybody ever see a production report? Some shows use to pass them on time card day just to take sure your time and their times are matching. Anyways.....there is always a note  (to make the studio happy?  or legal reason?) that there was a "safety meeting held at call".

There should of been a safety meeting that day in GA...

How many people remember the last "safety meeting" held at call time ?

I had a few on the show I was on at the time of that accident by the 1st AD (they were stage days, same stage we had been on for years)

Sadly it seemed like another knee-jerk reaction by this industry. I appreciated the meeting...but like Brent's Rule....I'm still working over 12 hrs...

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Glen, I can tell you stories about Hillary. She is NOT qualified to be a 1st AD, and her previous jobs were as a PA or maybe a Key PA. From that, she suddenly vaulted to the 1st AD position with the other 3 criminals, and all four of them have been co-conspirators for a series of errors in judgement and process for 3 different projects in Savannah now. Safety meetings? They'd never had them. This wasn't an unusual day for them, just wake up and jump right into filming. "We make films by our own rules" as criminal Jody Savin liked to say and told a group of disgusted filmmakers in Savannah just days before the incident. Stealing shots in the NYC subway? If the MTA got hold of them, there would have been hell to pay. Unfortunately, the MTA didn't, and we know the final result of them getting away with bad behavior for so long.

Sadly, this was a long time coming. Hopefully none of them will EVER be in a position of authority on anything in the industry again. 

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Glen, I can tell you stories about Hillary. She is NOT qualified to be a 1st AD, and her previous jobs were as a PA or maybe a Key PA. From that, she suddenly vaulted to the 1st AD position with the other 3 criminals, and all four of them have been co-conspirators for a series of errors in judgement and process for 3 different projects in Savannah now. Safety meetings? They'd never had them. This wasn't an unusual day for them, just wake up and jump right into filming. "We make films by our own rules" as criminal Jody Savin liked to say and told a group of disgusted filmmakers in Savannah just days before the incident. Stealing shots in the NYC subway? If the MTA got hold of them, there would have been hell to pay. Unfortunately, the MTA didn't, and we know the final result of them getting away with bad behavior for so long.

Sadly, this was a long time coming. Hopefully none of them will EVER be in a position of authority on anything in the industry again. 

 

Geordi, it could be that her imdb is inaccurate, but it shows that she has been a 1st AD continuously since 2009, with a solid string of 2nd AD jobs from 2001 until 2009 (no mention of PA). Even if there is a bit of fudging going on with the listing, there is still more than enough experience to develop into a qualified 1st AD, and the shows she is credited with suggest that she had DGA training and credentials.

 

The point of my earlier post was not to bash her personally, but to point out that the 1st AD is the one in charge of safety on the set, not the director or producer. My concern with the director getting more severe punishment than the 1st AD is that it supports the misconception that a DGA sanctioned 1st AD is subordinate to the director when it comes to matters of safety, which is not true and should not ever be true. Regardless of what the director or producer encouraged that day, if the 1st AD done her job and said "No", then no cast or crew members would have been on the tracks that day.

 

GT

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Glen, I can tell you stories about Hillary. She is NOT qualified to be a 1st AD, and her previous jobs were as a PA or maybe a Key PA. From that, she suddenly vaulted to the 1st AD position with the other 3 criminals, and all four of them have been co-conspirators for a series of errors in judgement and process for 3 different projects in Savannah now. Safety meetings? They'd never had them. This wasn't an unusual day for them, just wake up and jump right into filming. "We make films by our own rules" as criminal Jody Savin liked to say and told a group of disgusted filmmakers in Savannah just days before the incident. Stealing shots in the NYC subway? If the MTA got hold of them, there would have been hell to pay. Unfortunately, the MTA didn't, and we know the final result of them getting away with bad behavior for so long.

Sadly, this was a long time coming. Hopefully none of them will EVER be in a position of authority on anything in the industry again.

While I find this whole episode as criminal as it gets , I can tell you that you are painting Hillary with an inacurate brush. She is the one that should have stopped the shooting from happening BUT she has been an AD for years and worked for reputable production companies. She didn't have a strong spine when I met her but she worked her way up the production food chain while putting in her hours, just like everyone else.

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 She is NOT qualified to be a 1st AD, and her previous jobs were as a PA or maybe a Key PA. From that, she suddenly vaulted to the 1st AD position

 

 

While she is clearly negligent on Midnight Rider she had worked as a AD for many other companies 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0777245/

 

Her IMDB Trivia now says " First assistant director Hillary Schwartz was found guilty of criminal trespass and involuntary manslaughter in March 10, 2015 and will receive 10 years probation and no prison time. Under terms of the deal, she cannot be a director or assistant director, but she can be a producer in a capacity other than overseeing the safety of others."

 

Safe to say her career is over but it was a legit career in the film business for many years which is more then I can say for some commenting on this thread 

 

 

 all four of them have been co-conspirators for a series of errors in judgement and process for 3 different projects in Savannah now. 

 

Jim for someone who hasn't worked on any of there movies I don't think your qualified to discuss the "errors in judgement" on them. 

I mixed another movie that Randy and his company did in Savannah called "Savannah in 2012" There was nothing unsafe on this movie that I witnessed. Randy was pretty easy to work with and I had a good time on the film. I may have been on Midnight Rider except a mixer Randy had a relationship with from LA was available. Clearly serious errors were made on Midnight Rider though. 

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  • 1 month later...

I am so angry... this guy is as low as they go... sorry to personal here. Unreal! 

 

http://deadline.com/2015/05/midnight-rider-director-innocent-sarah-jones-case-guilty-plea-1201420628/

 

 

 

 

Director Randall Miller is behind bars, but the battle over Midnight Rider and his guilt in the death of Sarah Jones continues in court. Today, in an amended complaint filed by lawyers for producers Film Allman LLC against New York Marine and General Insurance Company, an accompanying letter makes it clear that Miller doesn’t agree with his own involuntary manslaughter guilty plea of March 9.

 

 

“Mr. Miller entered a guilty plea to save his wife, Ms. Savin, from criminal liability and to midnight-rider-trestle.jpg?w=600&h=442ensure that that she could remain with their children in California,” says a March 23 letter from attorney Mary Craig Calkins of one of the legal consequences from the on-set death of the 27-year-old camera assistant on February 20, 2014, from a train accident in Georgia.“Mr. Miller contends that he is innocent, and disputes his guilt in this matter. Both Mr. Miller and his counsel, Ed Garland, contested some of the factual findings read into the record by the prosecutor, and Mr. Miller anticipates  …that his plea will be set aside.”

Related‘Midnight Rider’ Director Randall Miller Issues Statement From Jail – Updated

 

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“The benefit of this First Offender provision is that after the conditions of the sentence are completed, Mr. Miller can state that he has never been convicted of a crime,” the 19-page letter from the lawyer adds of the 10-year sentence the director received. The point of that is that without a criminal conviction, insurance money would kick in. Something that New York Marine’s attorney swats away in his April 13 response letter, also accompanying today’s amended compliant in federal court. As far as the criminal acts exclusion, there is no coverage for loss caused by criminal acts of the insured, its partners, members, officers, managers, employees and authorized representatives,” says Leon Gladstone of Marina del Rey firm Weisberg Willner & Sloane. “It is beyond argument that Mr. Miller was a member, manager, officer and authorized representative of Film Allman, LLC, and was acting in that capacity when he committed the criminal acts that resulted in Ms. Jones’ death and his own injuries. These criminal acts were the cause of the loss resulting in the claim.”

This was just one of the revelations from the amended complaint motion (read it here) filed Monday that essentially accuses New York Marine of killing any and all efforts to get the shuttered Gregg Allman biopic back on the track after the death of Jones and the injuring of other crew members last year. “This insurance dispute is based in Defendant’s failure and refusal to investigate the facts of the accident, failure to investigate coverage under all available policies, and breach of the insurance contracts that were purchased to assuage precisely the sorts of concerns that arose from that terrible accident,” says today’s filing. Part of today’s paperwork was a contention by Film Allman that the settlement worked out with the Jones family last fall was agreed to over “objections” from the producer with the $5 million deal basically emptying New York Marine’s coffers for the case.

Through Film Allman, the company they established for the movie Miller and fellow producer and spouse Jody Savin first took the insurance company to court last August in L.A. Superior Court. The case was transferred to federal court soon afterwards. “Film Allman does not seek to amend as a dilatory or bad faith tactic, but instead wishes to resolve its rights to insurance coverage from New York Marine in a single action,” a memorandum filed with the amended complaint says. The two sides differ as to what constituted a new production after the accident.

“New York Marine’s bad faith conduct left Film Allman with the prospect of having to abandon production entirely,” notes today’s another memorandum with the amended complaint about restarting the film after the accident (read it here). The amended complaint is seeking breach of contract damages amid a variety of remedies for a film that pretty much no one wanted see move forward. “In a classic ‘Catch 22,’ Film Allman could not proceed with the Film without obtaining its insurance proceeds, and it could not obtain its insurance proceeds until it continued filming. 29. In sum, New York Marine sabotaged the Film, the very thing that it agreed to insure and protect when it issued the Producers Policy to Film Allman.”

A hearing is set in federal court in L.A. for June 1 on the motion of amended complaint with a trial penciled in to begin on March 15, 2016. Douglas W. Gastelum of Long Beach is representing the plaintiffs in this case.

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I would love to hear a legal breakdown of this from somebody that knows the law, and understands film business, including production insurance. This case doesn't seem to be even close to being over though. 

It seems crazy that he can take a plea deal to get a minimal sentence, and get his wife off, and other people can get off without jail time for "cooperating with the prosecution", then deny that plea in an attempt to get the insurance company to pay up money so they can try to make the film.... even though they are (most) all on a 10 year probation from working on a film set. What insurance company would insure a project with any of them in a decision making position, and/or is it legal for an insurance company to deny coverage to a film if they find out that there are reckless people with blood on their hands in positions of authority? 

What seems logical and what is a legal loophole may be very different things. 

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This part of the case could take many years to percolate through the system.

 

Fasten your seat belts, it's gonna be a long, bumpy legal ride.

 

Each stage is gonna rip the scabs off.

 

Hoist one for Sarah Jones and all the safety training, meetings, app's, awareness, lives saved...

 

XOXOX

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