UPCOMING DOC SERIES
SafeSets host Paul Heinzelmann, MD, MPH talks health and safety with cast, crew and experts from a most obstreperous industry--film and television.
Chronicling hazardous conditions department by department, SafeSets presents fresh strategies for safety and well-being
Feverishly churning out fantasy and action for a glut of streaming platforms, producers remain viable by adapting to today’s smaller budgets. Compressed timelines obliges crew members to longer days, erratic sleep and accident-inducing exhaustion. Chronic disease and substance abuse proliferate; longevity and family life are adversely affected.
To keep pace, toxic chemicals are enlisted to accelerate scenic foams, brighten props, get make-up to last longer and costumes to look lived-in. When safety procedures are shortcut, riggers fall from heights, crews get hit by traffic. Animators and editors, strapped with mission-impossible deadlines, suffer strain and sedentary disorders. Climate change delivers heat strokes, choking smoke and flooding.
Film sets are safest when studio and union initiatives emphasize communication and training. Despite these encouraging trends there are dangerous exceptions. Like the gap between indie and studio productions when it comes to safety. Or that sleep deprivation is still a poll tax one pays to work in pictures.
Lauded for their safe and scrupulous choreography, stunt performers remain susceptible to brain injury from repeated hits. While the #MeToo movement serves as a model, bullying, racism and unsustainable environmental practices remain virulent.
Heinzelmann hopes newcomers to the industry, who don’t buy into a stoic, and unhealthy, deployment mentality as the sole means to make their bones, will be the changemakers.