The Mark Milsome Foundation - Film and TV Online Safety Passport Course

10 videos, 1 hour and 14 minutes

Course Content

Communication, Competence, Due Diligence

Video 5 of 10
6 min 1 sec

A lack of clarity or understanding can be the root cause of serious accidents. People act on the information they are given or fail to act if they are not fully informed. When someone leaves a production due to illness, it is crucial that there is a formal, written handover detailing the current status of that department in relation to the project. Without this there can be confusion over what was agreed in the past and what is expected in the future, leading to misunderstandings, financial issues and potentially, serious accidents.

When a new member of the crew joins a production they must be fully briefed in writing by the person who is leaving and the producer must be copied to serve as a record of the hand over to help avoid any misunderstanding. Sometimes a crew member or head of department is dismissed or asked to leave a production but despite any ill feeling or upset they must act in a professional manner and deliver a written document to help the incoming person understand the status of the project.

An experienced producer, line producer, head of department will most commonly work with experienced crew and production that they know and trust. At times, especially when working outside of the UK, a producer is responsible for employing someone in a field of expertise who is not known to them.  When this is necessary and especially when the field of expertise relates to safety such as stunt co ordinator, stunt driver, high level grips, a producer must remind themselves of their over riding duty to prioritise the safety of the crew above all other matters including budget, schedule and director’s vision.

It is particularity important that the producer serves the highest level of due diligence and explores the claims of the unknown crew member beyond their CV, showreel and local recommendations. Failing to do this can lead to an employee joining the production who is a direct danger and threat to the safety of everyone on the crew. A Producer, line producer, production team, must cross reference claims from any crew member who is unknown to them with their CV - IMDB credits - Face to Face interview and most importantly by obtaining at least two verbal recommendations from productions who have employed the expert to complete similar tasks in the past.             

A competent person is someone who has sufficient training, experience and knowledge to allow them to work professionally. The level of competence required will depend on the complexity of the situation and the particular needs of the shoot. Another essential part of competence is whether someone’s knowledge is current and up to date with the latest work practices and technology.

If you are asked to give references for other crew it is important that you are honest about their experience and their ability. It is important to draw attention to and clarify their level of experience and any weaknesses as well as strengths. If someone new is working on your production and you feel they are not as experienced or as qualified as they need to be or claim to be, then you must notify the production of your concerns as early as possible. This is not just a discipline related to producers hiring crew externally but also for heads of department who employ or promote internally.

Making false claims on a C.V is fraud and can lead to prosecution, an exaggeration of experience and qualifications can lead to injury and death and you should be aware that after any accident there can be an investigation to clarify and justify the claims made on a CV or Showreel. When you add scenes from past productions to your reel you need to list clearly what your role in those scenes was.

Clarity and honesty is particularly important when presenting showreels relating to stunts, stunt co ordinating, special effects, cranes, rigs helicopters etc If you cannot honestly and clearly defend your role, if the original crew and production cannot support your claims then it should not be on your showreel or CV.