Just a random question...have you ever been on a set, or in a location where you were operating...with or without a rig...and felt that what was being asked of you was dangerous, inappropriate, or irresponsible while on the job? Have you ever said, "No, I'm not doing that"? Just curious to see what your experiences are...especially for those people who are in high pressure situations, situations of great sensitivity, or under a time crunch...working around stunts, and pyro....or live?
Also...along those lines, has anyone (who uses a CP/Tiffen vest) ever had to pull the "Oh Crap!™ Strap"? I'm not sure I've ever heard of anyone actually having to do it in a real life situation...I'm sure there's got to be someone out there with a story...
I had one shoot in New Mexico during the heavy rain season. we had four days to shoot 30 pages. we were building the old RED scarlet and lightning struck with in two miles of us. The producers wanted to still shoot out side during the storm. I politely responded hell no. seeing as how i had a mini lightning rod about to be attached to me. I was surprised the gaffer and grips were still setting up combo stands. But that what you get from low budget indie sets sometimes, people not being safe.
Was filming 2 NFL teams practice for a live show. Blue skies during set up, but what seemed to be a mini hurricane blew through during the show. RF coms stopped working, camera shorted out, and water was leaking through all the rain gear and trash bags I had put on my gear. I threw everything in my car and watched as the rain started coming down sideways. Director tried to chew me out afterwards for not "muscling through it"
Interesting story, David...so, let's say the director asks you to "muscle through it", and you do, and your gear gets hammered in the rain, and dies...certainly it would be an insurance claim, but who's insurance would be liable for that? Also, let's say you had to have the gear for a job the next day, but you can't use it cause it got toasted the day before...how do you cover the issue of lost wages? Just curious...never ran into a situation like the before, so I'm just wondering how it would play out....
Just a couple weeks ago we had an aging punk rock star perform on JKL. During the sound check / rehearsal , he spit a mouthful right at me, missed me and my gear by inches. I turned to my Utility and told him to unplug the camera. I hung up the rig, walked into the booth as calmly as I could and informed the Director and Producers that I wouldn't be shooting the musical guest. After watching a playback of my camera, the Producer said, "I don't blame you, let's go get a cup of coffee." I think he felt the need to get me out of the building to cool off. It was a nice gesture but unnecessary. I wasn't going to retaliate or do anything more to jeopardize what is a highly coveted position on an ongoing show. I suppose they could have insisted that I shoot the performance or send me home but I'm pleased to say, they had my back. Kind of rare in this business. It also helps that I've been around a few years and have been extremely loyal to Jimmy and the show. I must admit, it felt pretty good to stand up to unacceptable behavior and not suffer any repercussions. As for Iggy, here's the deal Pop, I'm kind of a dick when it comes to holding a grudge. Apology, not accepted.
Only once. Producer wanted me on a shoot for a pretty low wage. Long day too. Could've simply said I was unavailable but the message wouldn't get across that way. So I explain in a professional manner that I would be undercutting to many people to take it. He said he understood. Never heard from him again. Would handle it the same way should I ever be put back in the same scenario.
Yep. Back in the day I shot a lot of hip-hop music videos.
Notorious B.I.G., Mary Blige, etc.
My agent called me with an offer for a great rate for 3 days of work, 12 hour days + OT ( usually they tried to get you on a flat promising no more than 14 hours, then would run 24 + ).
I told him no thank you. He was stunned. It was looking to be a $ 10K paycheck.
It was for Wu Tang Clan. A few weeks before this event, they'd been shooting another music video and one of their "posse" had opened up with live gunfire INSIDE of the Winnebago in Brooklyn. They all scattered, cops were called, nobody saw a thing of course... ( I got this from the 2nd A.C. on that shoot )
I used to shoot some fascinating gigs and always had a clear danger sense about me. This one? Fuck their money, I do NOT go to play with people who shoot guns off randomly not caring who might be hurt or killed.
It's always amazing to me how cavalier people can be with safety...and then to have people be careless with weapons...on a set...insane! Sounds like that whole 90s'/ 2000's music video era must have been an interesting time to be operating. You know, back when MTV and VH1 actually played music videos...
So I was doing this feature in Ethiopia back in the late 1990s. Short notice to fly, less time to get medical prep completed, and no real prep, just cram the gear into the cases and head to the airport. First day there, I agree to shoot a long walk through a farm field, crops, and then here come the animals headed to their paddock for the night (chow time), and I end up nose to nose with an eighteen hundred pound Brahma bull, at magic hour, wearing a Moviecam Compact, prime lens, 400' mag, clip-on, 2 filters, etc., and finally the director calls cut. The producer starts screaming for a reposition to complete the scene but I refuse, telling them that 'the animal moves first, not me!" We go around and around but I don't move a muscle. The farm hands saw what was happening and came to my position and took the alpha bull away from me and we safely went on to make the scene in amazing light, much to Terry Mallick's delight! At the bar that evening, the brain trust asked me how I knew not to challenge the bull. Being a New Yorker by birth, they assumed that meant I had never crossed the Hudson or been upstate. Little did they know my family actually had a farm upstate where I learned many things. Now they had learned something, too.
No means many things. Safety first. There are no do-overs in real life. Set life is real life, just with a manufactured reality layer over the top.
If I haden't said no on multiple occasions my gear would have been destroyed and there is a good chance I would have been seriously injured or killed. It helps to have a suggestion of how to achieve the shot in a safe way but sometimes you just have to put your foot down. I worry about new ops not having the confidence to say no.
Here's a picture from a shoot that tried to kill me. On one of the shots they decided at the last minute to add me hard mounted on the quad tracking next to a vehicle. My path would have taken me within a foot of three of the mortars you see in the picture above. I told the AD I needed to talk to pyro to make sure they wouldn't be going off. The AD assured me that he had cleared everything, pyro wouldn't be blowing those and I would be safe. He said we were in a hurry and we needed to go so I didn't have time to clear it with pyro myself. I ignored him and went to find the head pyro guy. All 3 of them were loaded and they were planning on blowing them on that shot right when I would have been within a foot of each of them. No one had told them about my shot or where I was supposed to be.