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Old 02-21-2014, 05:58 PM   #6
Dennis A. Livesey
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Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
I read the article and it really left me scratching my head. How on earth would a motion picture company engage in filming on an active railroad bridge without very close prior coordination with the railroad? I also can't imagine the railroad ever allowing this sort of thing without having a team of their own personnel both on-site and in the dispatch office to ensure that nothing like this could ever happen.

Major league negligence involved here. Someone needs to spend some time in jail for this one.

I concur. On major (I.E. big studio money) pictures indeed this is how it is done. I am sure this was the procedure on "Unstoppable."

However, there also exists a nether world of low budget filmmaking. That is the "Indie" market which this picture seem to be a part of. (Bio pics often are not big budget) In this market, the skill level of the people involved can vary wildly.

FIlm production people are like most folks; they only have a vague idea of how railroads work. Ideally, the producers hire a very experienced Location Manager and even a specific liaison for working with the railroad. Unfortunately there is the constant danger to the working crew that an inexperienced person has been charged with this great responsibility of protecting the crew. And that seems horribly to be the case here.

The stress from the budget or the creative impulse I have seen severely cloud the judgment of the people, the producers, the director, et all, in charge.

One time I was on a show in Brooklyn New York in a huge, abandoned factory. The scene was the usual detective crime scene with a dead body. Someone on the crew called the union reps for they feared for their health due to possible toxins in the air and on all surfaces, particularly asbestos. This came to a head since the dead body was played by a live actor who was face down in real, not fake, factory debris.

On another really low budget show I was on, the obsessed director "had" to shoot the big shoot-out climax of his magnum opus on abandoned factory site he chose for it's great "look." Only thing was, he did not have permission from the sites owners and we were to go through a hole in the fence and trespass! It turned out the reason why the owners would have said no to the movie production was that it was one of that's state's top super fund toxic pollution sites!

We as a crew then did something I have never seen or participated in before or since. We mutinied. We as a group refused to trespass and endanger our lives.

I'll never forget the producer saying to us. "But I have health insurance! I'll take care of you!" All I could think, "No way am I going to get sick for you and your crappy movie. Besides, where will you be in twenty years when I develop cancer?"

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