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Dont let this happen on your set

Richard Ragon

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An NZ feature I worked on had a crazy event happen that caused quite a stir.


Hero car to roll over a cliff onto a beach and explode.

Drum of gasoline in the car for big explosion plus other pyro stuff.

Explosive bolt to release the car when the cue was given.

3 cameras to shot the event from different angles.


"Roll all cameras and confirm speed"  then, cue special fx.

Large explosion lot's of smoke but car static!!!

Now production had not sought any permissions from local council!

People rush out of nearby houses, as the sound of fire brigade sirens get nearer,


Firemen arrive and head towards the burning car with hoses at the ready!

SPFX supervisor screams "no there's a drum of gas in the car"!!!

Firemen ignore, examine the burning car and state:

"It didn't move because the handbrake was on"!!!!!!!!


We crawl back to our vehicles and quickly depart.

The SPFX supervisor departed to a new career in Hongkong!





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I walked off a shoot after the 1st AD said he was going to light his arm on fire for camera and his unskilled fired-up arm would be between the camera and the only means of egress. Low budget but very experienced and famed director and cast were armed with a bunch of short ends from a just-finished feature and they decided to make a feature film in 5 days. Turns out they finished in 4.5 days. I've not watched any of their films or TV shows since.

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