Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sarah Jones: Update.

In typical media fashion, when there's no longer anything "new" to report, a story will fall to the wayside; losing steam and momentum before it disappears off the radar completely. It won't be long before the original story itself becomes just a shadow in our collective memories. With investigations still pending on what happened to Sarah Jones still going on, there's been nothing new to report for weeks, pushing her story to the back of our minds instead of being front and center; fooling our minds into going back to business as usual.

Which is why I'm grateful for Deadline Hollywood. I remember perusing the site when I was an intern at a production house. Anyone who worked in this industry in an office* knew of this site and many would include it in their daily ritual of skimming the trades**. Sometimes, I still click through the articles, if only to check in on a show I'm particularly interested in.

And since Deadline is primarily considered as a source of industry news comparable to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, I was shocked to see their continuing coverage of Sarah Jones; even when there was nothing new to report.

They've been doing an ongoing series of articles focused on set safety, as well as doing some investigative reporting themselves on Jones' "incident"***. They're keeping her story alive on a platform that an important section of the industry will see instead of it brushing it aside like so many other outlets.

If you have the time, take a look at their piece that covers other accidents on set and why we tend to let them happen.

Or their timeline of notable deaths of camera crew on the job.

Or how helicopters claim the most lives on set. (Yes, I know helicopters aren't the same as trains, but any article that makes people realize how glamorous dangerous our jobs really are is a plus in my book.)

And more recently, Deadline is how I found out that Midnight Rider, the movie Sarah Jones lost her life on out in Georgia, is planning on continuing here in Los Angeles. And while I'll keep my opinions about working on that particular production to myself for now, there are others who are calling for a boycott. Even William Hurt himself has pulled out of the movie.

And lastly, for those of you who are Union members anyone in the industry out in L.A., if you haven't heard yet, Local 80 (Grips) and 728 (Set Lighting Technicians) are holding a seminar titled "Safety Rights of Workers & Your Rights Under OSHA". I'm not sure how "helpful" the meeting will be (who here hasn't taken a "safety class" / or participated in a "safety meeting" / "sexual harassment" seminar that didn't really hold real world solutions to real world problems?), it promises to address safety in the work place, what our rights are (and by rights, I mean for ALL workers; not just Union members) and how to address concerns at the work place. I'm sure all of us have questions regarding those topics, and if you're in the Los Angeles area, we'd be doing ourselves a disservice if we don't attend.

And finally, this coming Monday, April 28th is Worker's Memorial Day. Local 728 asks that we all participate in a moment of silent at 10am (1pm Eastern Time) in honor of all those who have died in the workplace, including Miss Sarah Elizabeth Jones.

This is one instance where I hope our silence will bring our safety back into the spotlight.

* And by that, I mean Agents, Managers, Producers, etc and their assistants.
** Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. Are these publications still even in print?
*** I don't want to say "accident" because it was negligence, and calling it a "tragedy" doesn't sound right either.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Zip Up!

As a woman working in a highly male dominated industry, how the hell do you politely tell a man in a room full of colleagues that his fly is down?

Seriously. Because I'd like to know. I've caught as many zippers down as days I've worked this week, and I've wrestled with how to mention it to the guy each time... or whether to mention it at all.

Which leads me to think that I've been spending way too much time about my colleagues' crotches so I'd appreciate some guidance on how to handle these situations so I can stop thinking about it.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Best Thing I Ever Bought.

Despite set electricians technically being employees of a company, we buy a lot of things for our line of work. Most of my colleagues and I have spent some pretty shiny pennies on things like work bags, tool belts and pouches, tools, meters, rain gear and so on. And while I don't have the "best" of anything (my rain jacket doesn't cost a few hundred dollars and my flashlight can't be seen from space) I have enough to do the job well, which is all anyone asks of anyone anyway.

But a little while back, I splurged on something I bought specifically for work and I thank myself for having the good sense of buying them every time I use them. Which granted, isn't often, but it's still one of the best investments I've ever made.* And the funny thing? I don't even even take them to work with me. They sit at home instead of my work bag.

If you haven't already, I highly recommend putting blackout curtains in your bedroom. Good ones block out about 99% of light keeping the room dark and cool enough to fool yourself that the sun's not out yet.** You may not use them all that often, but you'll be grateful you have them when you get stuck on a night shoot and crawl into bed when they sun's already up.

Trust me. I speak from experience. Especially in the past few weeks...

* And hey, another good investment to make? If you're an avid reader of industry blogs and/or curious about the industry in general, consider making a donation to Crew Call: The Below-The-Line Podcast, being started up by none other than The Anonymous Production Assistant!

* Okay, I get that this isn't exactly breaking news and is basically common sense. But honestly, I spent a few years thinking the blinds on my windows did the job well enough, and holy shit balls was I wrong. The difference is light night and day, pun intended.

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