The recent double-shooting on the set of Rust, resulting in the unfortunate death of one of the crew, has made headlines globally. We've been approached by many sources for comment and although this is a subject you could write many books on, we asked our own Weapons Guy, Gavin Martin, to say a few words about Firearms Protocols in productions and why they're so vital. Here's what he had to say...
Firearms play a leading role in so many movies and TV shows, adding action, drama, and suspense to the story. It's so common that audiences don't really give it a second thought. However, handling firearms anywhere, let alone on a film set, can be incredibly dangerous unless proper safety protocols are followed. As a kid I worked in a shooting range and saw how even experienced shooters can easily make an error, especially after a particularly good shot, a long shoot or if suddenly distracted by something happening around them.
When we then consider that often, when a gun is pointed, its pointed at the camera, towards the crew, it really brings home just how important it is to take every single precaution to ensure absolute safety. Which is why the Alec Baldwin incident on Rust has been such a shock. So much had to go wrong before this could even be able to happen!
This article barely scratches the surface but should provide a basic intro to some of the firearms safety protocols that should always be followed in any production environment, to ensure everyone's safety.
Use of Prop Guns:
Prop guns, also known as dummy firearms, should be used whenever possible. Prop guns are designed to look like real firearms but do not have the capability of firing live rounds. This eliminates the risk of accidental discharge on set.
Use of Live Firearms:
Live rounds don't belong on sets. There's not really any need. If live firearms are used on a film set, only trained professionals should handle them. This includes actors and stunt performers who have been trained in firearms safety, as well as certified armorers who are responsible for loading and unloading the firearms.
Secure Storage of Firearms:
When not in use, firearms should be stored in a secure location, such as a locked armory or safe. This helps to prevent unauthorised access and reduces the risk of accidental discharge.
Safety on Set:
On set, firearms should always be treated as if they are loaded, even if they have been unloaded by the armorer. The muzzle should be pointed in a safe direction, away from cast, crew, and bystanders. Additionally, the trigger should not be touched unless the scene requires it. Our rule is simple and we even apply it to props as we think its good for people to learn the right behaviours from day 1 "You only ever point a gun at someone if you intend to shoot them". We do also advise our students that they shouldn't ever receive a weapon if they don't know how to check it themselves. Accidents shouldn't happen, but if they do its the actor / performer who will have to live with the consequences for life...
Before filming begins, a safety briefing should be held with all cast and crew to review the firearms safety protocols. This briefing should cover the proper handling of firearms, the safe storage of firearms, and what to do in case of an emergency.
Film Industry Guidelines:
The film industry has established guidelines for firearms safety on set, such as the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) guidelines, which provide detailed instructions on the use of firearms on set. Producers and directors should familiarize themselves with these guidelines and ensure they are being followed.
To wrap up, firearms are a common prop in film productions, but we can never forget they can be deadly if not handled properly. By following firearms safety protocols on a film set, such as using prop guns whenever possible, using only trained professionals to handle firearms, and providing a safety briefing to all cast and crew, the risk of accidents can be greatly reduced or even completely eliminated.
This is why the film industry has established guidelines to help ensure firearms safety on set, and it is the responsibility of producers and directors to follow these guidelines and always take the advice given to them by the experts they hire, to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the production.
Comments are closed.
This blog os co-authored by The ISA Team
APPROVED AND VERIFIED
ABOUT THE ACADEMY
GET IN TOUCH:
International Stunt Academy AS
Phone: +47 911 989 86
Storsjøvegen 407, 2110 Slåstad