Note to Filmmakers – Do Not Allow Fiddle Farting Around on Set

rules are annoying… taking responsibility might annoy you too… it might cost you some of your time… but it is part of your job and you need to think about the safety of others…

Do you remember any news articles concerning Harrison Ford literally breaking a leg during the filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens? So… We have news from the “i got smashed by the Millennium Falcon door” front.

On Tuesday, a UK-based Disney subsidiary pleaded guilty to two criminal charges of failing to protect its employees on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, specifically Harrison Ford, whose leg was broken by a hydraulic door on the Millennium Falcon set.

The charges were brought by the UK’s Health and Safety regulator, which sued the Disney subsidiary—called Foodles Production—back in February over the 2014 incident.

“Now we had lots of money and technology and so they built a fucking great hydraulic door which closed at light speed and somebody said, ‘Ooh I wonder what this is?’ And the door came down and hit me on my left hip because I was turned to my right. And then it flung my left leg up and it dislocated my ankle and as it drove me down to the floor, my legs slapped on the ramp up to the Millennium Falcon and broke both bones in my left leg.”

Source: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/07/uk-star-wars-producer-pleads-guilty-in-incident-that-broke-harrison-fords-leg/

I say this as a passing note for any filmmakers or soon to be filmmakers out there…

Safety does matter.

While you may think you’re just making a student film or a short YouTube video, you’re engaging in a business. Not only does that business have regulatory implications but it can open you up to possible liabilities. Harrison and Ford’s case should illustrate to you that there are serious business implications when it comes to safety.

And in a ‘sue everybody‘ world, what do you think happens when a volunteer actor slips on a mossy rock and cracks their skull open? Do you think ‘oh well it was just a student film!‘ will matter to anybody in court?

And you need to think about things like this from a personal perspective as well… how would you feel about one of your actors getting a serious injury while filming? Don’t you think you’d feel terrible? Responsible in some way?

Wouldn’t it be better to do your best to think ahead so as to avoid anybody getting hurt?

You need to think things through.

In our real life Harrison Ford case, improving safety may have very well just meant keeping the Millennium Falcon controls away from everybody but the operator… that sounds like a simple fix to me.

In your case, well… I don’t know. But if you plan things out well before hand, you will know and you will be able to say ‘I did my best to keep everybody safe‘.

From a moral and business perspective that is a million times better than having to say you left the controls to dangerous equipment unattended.

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Steve Zissou

Steve Zissou - a pen name. But who cares. Jordan works too.

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