I’m not going to speak directly about the tragedy that happened during the filming of Rust because it’s too soon for us to know the exact truth of what happened. But I will say that regardless of the details, Halyna Hutchin’s death was entirely preventable, and it was a failure of leadership.
And I’m not blaming Alec Baldwin, because again, it’s too soon to say, and I’m not even looking for one person to blame. Because the truth is, the failure in leadership happened among many people. The leader is the person in charge, but everyone can embody the concept of leadership, all the way down to the bottom of the food chain. A good PA has leadership skills. A good actor can be a good leader. The camera crew who walked from the set that morning had leadership in them.
Leadership is the ability to stand up for what is right when the people around you aren’t. It can mean being “the bad guy” and making the people under you follow safety requirements they don’t want to. And it can mean standing up to the people above you who want you to do something unsafe. Leadership works in all directions, not just top down.
And it’s not going to make you a popular person. Very few people are going to appreciate you, though many will benefit from you.
There are a lot of pressures in the film world, and people are going to ask you to do things quickly and cheaply, but please, if it’s unsafe, say no. Value your life and the lives of others above ANY project. Enough people have died.
So how do you know what’s the right thing to do?
If you choose to come to DFA you will have production management classes. Besides learning how to make schedules and budgets for your films, you’ll learn the appropriate person that should be present for stunts, weapons, crowd control, car setups, etc. So even if you don’t go into the production-side of things, you’ll be able to recognize when things are being handled appropriately and when corners are being cut. Safety on set is always a priority and DFA values that above all things.
If you’re interested in learning more about our school, join us for our next Online Open House.