In a perfect movie-making world, “make believe” would stay that way, but sometimes accidents happen and the effects can be all too real. This can happen at any point on a set, but the need for safety precautions is heightened when there are stunts being performed. Whether or not you are involved with the stunt, it is important for you to know what is going on and what you can do to keep yourself and others safe.
First off, when there is a stunt on set, you should look for the safety bulletins that apply to that stunt. They may be sent out with the call sheet or posted somewhere on set. You also can find them on the SAG website ahead of time so that you feel prepared before you show up to work.
Next, it is important to know who has your back on set. The number one person in charge of your safety is the 1st A.D. and then the stunt coordinator and/or qualified individual chosen specifically for the stunt. One or more of these people will hold a safety meeting where they will explain the stunt and all of the safety issues and precautions. This information is your armor. It can mean the difference between you walking away unharmed or sitting in a hospital wishing you had paid more attention.
Now that you have prepared, paid attention at the meeting, and have all the necessary information, it is time to take action and apply that knowledge. Look around you and try to think of all possible variable outcomes. If you don’t feel safe where you are, or doing what you have been asked to do, speak up. The best time to do this is before, or right after, the safety meeting. But at any point if you feel that you or someone else is in danger, let the stunt coordinator and/or the 1st A.D. know.
It is only through taking these safety procedures seriously that we stay safe and can continue playing cops, villains, superheroes, or whatever other character we are lucky enough to pretend to be that day.