Sunday, October 24, 2021

Psst! Your Hypocrisy Is Showing, Dumbass!

STFU, idiots. They're not all clueless, and they're going to boomerang your jackassery back on you, three times as hard, if you don't pull your heads out of your asses right quick.

Learn a lesson from Napoleon.

And no, you really shouldn't have had to be told. 

Alec Baldwin Day


We should have thought of this sooner.

Let's end the rancor over this @$$clown's clowncarnucopia of fail, and instead unite over something we can all agree upon.

As even his schlocky cheapass movie title proves, Rust is the enemy of guns. We must therefore keep this chowderhead from killing anyone else with them. There's only one solution for that: Buy them yourselves, to protect them from him. Or vice versa.

We therefore happily proclaim now and henceforth, in perpetuity, October 21st shall evermore be known and celebrated as Alec Baldwin Day!

Go buy a gun to celebrate Alec Baldwin Day! Save a life! Keep another gun out of his hands forever.

And hurry up, because you're already three days late on this.

Give until it hurts.

Descriptions or hog pics of your acquisitions welcome in comments.

Sunday Music: Hazy Shade Of Winter


As noted last week, it's a tough gig to take someone else's music and steal it for your own, because you do it better. I was raised liking Simon and Garfunkel's music (and the proof of that pudding is that their music has held up far better than a lot of 60s crap), but when the Bangles took this song, and plugged it into an electric amp, they turned it up to 11, with - by faaaaaar - the better version.

Anything but just a "girl group", we loves us some more of them, so you get a two-fer bonus today, in this case, some Halloween candy, specifically a video from when there was actual music on MTV, in particular a hat-tip from the Bangles to the 60s they barely knew. Absolutely deliciously groovy. O, for a Time Machine.

Where it stands with the tragedy of Rust

For the love of sweet baby Jesus, before you offer any further commentary on this, prior, or subsequent threads, go read these two Motion picture Industry Wide Safety Bulletins:

1) Safety With Firearms 

2) Special Use Of Live Ammunition

They are quite literally the BIBLE on set operations on their respective topics. period. paragraph. Motherf**king WORD.

If you don't read them (FFS, they're about 4 short pages apiece, and it takes about 2 minutes, even if you need Hooked On Phonics to get through them), and aren't competent to comment based on them, you are, as has become manifestly obvious, not tall enough for this ride.

They make it abundantly obvious, by mentioning the specific duties of the armorer twenty-seven times, while mentioning any activity or responsibility by the actor only twice, in just the first bulletin, where the actual job responsibility, as well as legal, ethical, and moral culpability for safe use of weapons on any production lies.

Bummer for a thousand internet harpies, it is 0% with Baldwin, in any capacity, and nearly 100% with the armorer, in this case grossly criminally negligent and legally culpable for involuntary manslaughter.

That's 18 months in the NM State Prison, and a $5K fine. Call, raise, or fold, Sport.

What happened, per best information available:

A scene was being rehearsed.

Allegedly with a Civil War era/style muzzle-loading cap-and-ball black powder Colt revolver like this one.

The DP, 1st AC, and director were all grouped around the camera, where they could best see the shot they were planning.
Baldwin pointed, cocked, and fired a supposed "COLD" weapon at the camera, which turned out to be not only wrongly loaded, but loaded with a live round, which flew over the 1st AC's head, punched into the DP and through her, and then struck the director behind her. 

"One shot, one kill." 
Utterly tragic.


The number of fuck-ups that requires of Baldwin is zero.
The number of fuck-ups either actually performed, and/or actually neglected, by the armorer, by the numbers:

1) Failure to maintain possession of the weapon and put it in the actor's hand before the rehearsal.
2) Failure to remove a live round from the weapon before even bringing it to the set for rehearsal.
3) Failure to check that it was empty before rehearsal.
4) Failure to have someone else double-check to ensure it was completely empty before rehearsal.
5) Failure to ensure the actor witnessed the check and double check before handing it to them.
6) Failure to account for all live rounds previously loaded, and keep them, and/or any powder and ball materials for live shots completely separate from rehearsal weapons.
7)Failure to keep weapons capable of firing live rounds entirely segregated from weapons for use on sets where firing live rounds was neither practical, advisable, permissible, legal, nor discussed beforehand.

And probably

8) Failure to have a full and proper Safety Meeting before the rehearsal, to discuss the plan of events, identify danger areas, discuss emergency procedures, and go over chain of command on the rehearsal and the shot therefrom.

That last would be on the 1st Assistant Director, who runs all operations on set until the director says "Action", and after he says "Cut", and who, along with the Key Grip, is directly and legally responsible for the safe operation of the crew on the set at all times.

Being that this was a non-union low-budget ($6M, which is chump change for a movie these days) production, I'll wager dollars to donuts the production also did not have

9) a trained and equipped on-set medic (EMT, EMT-P, RN, or anything like) standing by in direct proximity to render aid in the event of the exact emergency that occurred, nor any other, which for any union production, and even most non-union ones where firearms are in use, is a requirement.
That fuck-up is laid at the feet of the Unit Production Manager, whose exact job it would be to hire or contract for such services, and who evidently failed to do any such thing, probably for budgetary reasons.

It was reported "the crew" rendered aid after the accident.
Not "the Medic/paramedic/nurse".
(We haven't even gotten started on that sub-topic, kids. Stay tuned.)

That's nine open and flagrant violations of standard set operations protocol, either stone-cold certain, or overwhelmingly likely.
Gonna be a lot of red asses by the time this gets to trial.

Now go back, and re-read what I wrote Friday morning when this news had just broken.
Everything I wrote in that post is batting 1.000, and that low-hanging curveball not only sailed over the center field bleachers, it still hasn't landed.

Don't be a hater.
Believe me, the fact that out of all the serial fuck-ups necessary to kill someone with a weapon on a movie set, exactly none of them tracks back to @$$hole Baldwin (mirabile dictu!) pisses me off too. But facts are stubborn things.

And maybe allow that after pissing away a couple of decades making feature films and TV shows, I know WTF I'm talking about regarding The Biz.

Saturday, October 23, 2021


Somebody's peeved.

Hey, it's your nickel. Let the games begin:

1) Actors are literally excluded, expressly, from anything to do with the weapons handling and checking process, except watching actual experts do it. You could look it up.  Page 4, point #12. My only superpower throughout this, contrary to an infinite number of so-called industry "experts", talking out their ass, is that I can read the rulebook, and they haven't.

2) I didn't call you, nor anyone else online, "Jasper and BillyBob". You are mistaken. Re-think your conclusions based on that misappraisal.

3) I didn't moderate away any of your comments. You are mistaken. Re-think your conclusions based on that misappraisal.

4) People doing their jobs is what they're paid for. No actor is paid nor expected to inspect weapons. For cause. They're not the experts, and more to the point, they're not the experts hired by and responsible to the production to do exactly that work. Re-think you conclusions based on that misappraisal.

5) People opining on how movie sets should be run, with no idea about the guiding bulletins for that, are bloviating idiots. Re-think your conclusions based on their grossly uninformed misappraisals of the situation.

6) An actor's job is to act, not check weapons. Re-think your conclusions based on the misappraisal of their job function and expertise.

7) A weapons handler is not a flunky, they're the subject-matter expert on weaponry on set. Re-think your conclusions based on that misappraisal of their job function and expertise.

8) The exact methodology for handling weapons on set designed by Hollywood has resulted in a flawless 28+-year streak of no accidental firearm deaths, from Brandon Lee's in 1993, until last Thursday, which encompasses tens of thousands of productions in movies and TV, and literally millions of blank and live rounds without a single death. The US commercial airlines haven't even done that well at safety. And what broke that streak was one utterly incompetent armorer on a low-budget p.o.s. show breaking, literally, every single rule and regulation of correct firearm and ammunition handling in the two most relevant Motion Picture Industry Safety Bulletins. Re-think your conclusions in light of the misappraisal of those facts.

9) Putting actors into the loop, where they haven't been and don't belong, is going to get people killed and injured with a predictable regularity. Re-think your conclusions based on the total misappraisal of that fact.

10) People in the motion picture industry who don't know what they're talking about, nor even possess basic familiarity with the fundamental safety guidelines adhered to in and by the industry, do not outweigh the reality of facts from people who do. Re-think your conclusions drawn from their misappraisal of those facts.

11) Putting untrained, unqualified, and incompetent actors into the loop as weapons inspectors, rather than relying on the system that excludes them to the greatest extent humanly possible, in favor of using actual weapons experts for the most critical functions right up until the moment of actual filming, in any form, is going to cost time, money, and lives. Re-think your conclusions based on a misappraisal of that fact.

12) Actors should no more check weapons used on set than should they run electrical cable for the lights, operate the camera and sound equipment, cook the meals, drive the trucks, nor perform any other function on set for which they are wholly unqualified, especially and doubly so when there are exactly trained experts for all those functions, ready to hand, at all times, at the express invitation of the people who run the show and pay the bills and salaries. Actors act. (If the audience is very, very lucky.) At anything else, they're amateurs, on a set full of professionals. Asking, let alone expecting, them to do something else is both unfair, and dangerous, for all parties concerned. Re-think your conclusion based on the total misappraisal of that reality.

I trust your expertise, in your lane. This topic is not that. Actors on set are not you at home or anywhere else. You at home are not an actor on a movie set. It's that simple.

There are rules in their world, as there are in yours, and they aren't the same for them as they are for you, nor can be. 

If you walk into a bank with a ski mask and a machinegun, you're going to get 25 years.

If Heath Ledger does it, he gets an Oscar nomination.

This is not unique to Hollywood.

If I cut someone open and take out their body parts, I get sentenced to prison for mayhem  for decades (after a lengthy psychological interview). If a doctor does that in a surgical OR, he gets a fat check, and the thanks of a grateful patient and family. Yet no one (in their right mind) runs around shrieking "No special rules for doctors!". If they did, at best, we'd laugh at them, and at worst, we'd throw rocks and fruit at them, or lock them up in a mental institution, and rightfully so. They'd be psychotic.

I'm really sorry for all the shrieking harpies upset that of the seven or more obvious, egregious, and criminally negligent reasons someone died on that set last week, not a single one attaches to any actions or failures on the part of anti-gun @$$hole Baldwin, and that instead almost every single one of them clings to the grossly incompetent actions of a nitwit less qualified to run weapons on a movie set that she is to be an astronaut or a brain surgeon. But facts are stubborn things, and the fact is Baldwin did nothing wrong.

If someone sells me a baked potato, but it's actually a bomb, just because I put it into the microwave and pushed the button doesn't make me a mad bomber, even when it goes off and kills people, and no matter how many people scream otherwise on the internet. Don't be one of them. Arguing to the contrary is the position people are in right now.

I warned people from the outset not to let their dislike for a thoroughly dislikable man color their judgement and opinions about what should happen, or who did what. In vain.

I say it again, with the further counsel not to be psychotic, and instead recognize that an actor performing or rehearsing on a movie set on a Western, is not you in front of a bank on your block.

Embrace that, instead of trying to force Reality to conform to the desires of your heart, in vain.

To put it in its most simple terms, Captain Ahab wasn't the hero of Moby Dick.

Epiphany: No, Not Even If You've Got A Hat

Mostly, we blog for entertainment (overwhelmingly our own; but most of you are twisted enough to share a similar outlook on life to our own, so it works out well for all of us), but occasionally, we blog to clarify our thoughts, and sometimes, learning occurs all around.

Today is that day for us.

As the Baldwin kerfluffle has illustrated, the shared malfunction by a host of persons reading and commenting hereabouts, and throughout the greater blogosphere, on this exact subject, is best described as thinking everything is YOUR job.

Well, you're wrong, it's not, and now we can all go back to whatever we were doing befo....Oh? What's that? Explain it to you?...heavy sigh

Look, we've already covered first aid for any butthurt, so let's talk turkey here, no offense, nothing personal, and we're all grown ups.

You, Jasper, and Billy Bob all going shooting at the abandoned quarry is not Alec Baldwin working on a movie set, not even when it's his production, on a low-budget p.o.s. being filmed in Bumfuck NM.

The lack of a prodigious number of otherwise intelligent people to discern this lies at the root of your problem.

When you, and Jasper, and BillyBob pile in the truck for a day of plinking green army men and blowing up punkins and watermelons, who's your boss? Nobody. Who's The boss? Nobody. thus, rightfully and common-sensically, you are your own boss. It's your job, on the day, to make sure your equipment is safe, and that you are safe, observe the Four Rules, and not impinge on anyone else's day by putting extra holes in them than what they brought with them from home. Fair enough?

But even in that circumstance, it's still not your job to be the range master, OSHA inspector, armorer, and eleventy other things. You do not get to stack Jasper and BillyBob up at Inspection Arms, and detail-inspect their weapons for cleanliness and function. You do not get to pull Jasper's ammo out, pull the bullets, weigh the powder charge, take out a caliper, and look it up in your Hornady/RCBS/Hodgdon/etc. powder and load manual to ascertain that it meets SAAMI specs. You do not get to run a set of Go/No-Go gauges on everyone else's weaponry, nor may they do same to you. And if you think otherwise, you're likely to go home with a bendier nose than you brung to the picnic.

If Jasper or BillyBob get a mite lax with muzzle discipline, or putting their booger hook on the bang switch, you may elect to call it an early day, or not invite them next time. But no one died and left you their Drill Sergeant smokey bear hat and gave you leave to have a boot camp flashback, and most people figure all this out without having it explained to them with a boot to the junkulus.

But somehow, you can't make the leap from that, to understanding why in hell it's not ever Baldwin's (or any other Swinging Richard's) job to do weapons checks on a movie set, with 40-140 people around.

Lemme help you out on that, just a smidge, and we can see if it sticks between your ears.

Most of you, presumably, have a job. Or had, at some point. Unless you were a one-man band, your job was what you were supposed to do. More to the point, hired and paid by somebody above you to do.

So when you're doing your job, how would your boss feel if you wandered into his office to supervise him? Then inspected the lunch line, to make sure the hot food was over 140°, and the cold food was all under 40°? Then headed up to HR to make sure they were fully in compliance with all county, state, and federal EEOC hiring practices? Then went over to the accounting department, to check their math on a few random accounts? Then explained to the legal department how what they were up to might be ethically "grey"? Tell the class, would you please, exactly how long you would continue in your employ, and if not, discuss with appropriate graphs and figures the apogee of the arc your ass would take as it flew from the front door to the curb, off the end of your boss's boot toe.

See if you can catch the subtle drift of what's being expressed, and let us know when the penny drops for you.

I said that, because for most people, a movie set makes about as much sense as watching elves make Santa's toys. They've never been to one, and all they know is there might be someone famous around, and they can smell the magical fairy dust in the air. I know this, because I've only seen that exact phenomenon about 2000 times (not exaggerating a bit there, btw).

Until they spend some time there.

Then, the comments start:

"You guys sit around and do nothing a lot."

"WTF are those people doing?"

"What's happening?"

"They pay you for this?"

"This is boring as f**k!"

"How the hell do you stay awake all day?"

"How long is your day?"

"WHAT? Sixteen hours?!? More??!!??"

"I'd rather kill myself than ever do this for a living!"

And then, after having hung around on set for maybe a hour or two, they never, ever, ever come back. Nor ever want to. Friends, family members, even people I've slept with, refuse to ever visit a second time, because they can't entertain themselves for twenty minutes, and once they find out the entertainment business is even less entertaining than they are to themselves, you'd need a gun and a whip just to get them to come by for the free lunch.

When they find out that if you're really lucky, you're shooting 5 pages of script/5 minutes of picture in a 14+ hour day (a little more for TV, a little less for movies, and a LOT less for commercials) they shit their pants, and run screaming for the exits.

Look, it's like this: a one hour TV show is maybe 48 minutes long, without commercials and credits. You've typically got 6 days to get it "in the can" (although now it's all loaded onto digital media, not film), and on the day after that, you're doing the next episode. So 8 minutes a day, less than 30 seconds of your favorite show per hour of work, if you're flying like lightning. Hence the industry saying "shooting Gone With The Wind" in the morning, and Dukes Of Hazzard in the afternoon". When you have that (rare)TV director who's done his homework, and knows WTH he's doing, or the star has immeasurable pull (say, Dick Van Dyke on Diagnosis: Murder - for reals) the day is run like clockwork, and you get everything done in 12 hours, and/or the star has a 5PM tee time, and at 5:01 can be seen leaving in his limo to get in 9 holes before bed, and if the director wasn't done with him, guess who doesn't care?

One a feature film, even worse. That's going to be between 80 and 200 minutes, with one page of dialog in script format being about 1 minute of screen time. In a schedule that runs between about 30 and 90 shooting days. Figure maybe three pages a day, for a 12+ hour day. You're getting maybe 15 seconds of usable movie per hour. That may mean two hours of nothing while you set up, and then shoot like hell for half an hour, then do it all over again the opposite direction, lather, rinse, repeat. Some days, you may get no pages for an entire day, because something like "Then Robert Deniro, Val Kilmer, and Tom Sizemore come out of the bank, Al Pacino sees them, and the big shootout begins" takes less than 1/8th of a page, but takes three full days to shoot, dawn to dusk. We'll get back to that presently.

Commercials? Fuggedaboudit. 5 days for a 30 second spot? Six seconds for a whole 14-hour day's work?!? Holee F*******ck! You're killin' me, Smalls!

Now, I told you that to tell you this:

Option I:

You're Michael Mann. You've got a 150-person crew on union rates. You've got 200 extras. Including 50 cop extras with working firearms props. Some of them are stuntmen. You've got seven cameras with full crews, and a 20-man special effects and pyrotechnician crew. You're going to be blowing out building windows, car windows, blowing out tires on police cars, you've got stunt drivers, 20 guys from LAPD on double holiday overtime to lock up traffic from four main streets, in downtown, on a weekend, and the sun is moving across the sky at 15° an hour no matter what you do. And no matter what, you're literally setting $500K/day on fire, whether you get the scene or not, before you think about location rentals, caterers, parking, and 300 other things. And suddenly, your ten lead actors all decide they're going to double-double check their weapons, because some Good Idea Fairies on the internet thought that was a cunning plan. Three of your guys, with no expertise, after the weapons were loaded and prepped by a team of the top weapons experts in Hollywood, which is to say, in the world, had them ready to rock, but your hamfisted actors managed to short-stroke a couple, and they jam; one guys' doesn't fire at all, because he can't get it back into battery. And by the time you've got your 200-piece orchestra all ready to try Take 2, you've just burned through an hour, plus 10% of your weapons budget for ammunition, glass, tires, and other special effects. And the Good Idea Fairy has become the Fuck-Up Fairy, and it's sitting on your face, and shitting right in your mouth. And this time, half the extras who're cops decide they should check THEIR weapons too. Now you're up to Take 3, and you're seriously wondering if it wouldn't be cheaper to hire retards for the extras, and just hand out live rounds to the principal actors, and get the whole scene in one take. By Take 4, you're spinning a revolver with 5 loaded bullets, and one empty cylinder, and you're ready to squeeze the trigger.


Option II:

You're still Michael Mann. You decide to let the prop guys get props, the weapons handlers get the weapons ready, you let the wardrobe guys get everybody's costumes right, you let the makeup people do makeup, the special effects guys do special effects, the lighting guys do lighting, the camera guys run the cameras, the real cops block traffic, the sound guy rolls the sound, and you let the actors, who're costing you several million dollars, and who have multiple Academy Awards and nominations to their credit in their chosen craft, just show up and ACT.


Quite the poser there, i'n'it?

That, boys and girls, is why it's not the actor's fucking job to be checking the weaponry before each and every take, because they're not competent at it, they could fuck up a crowbar in a sandpile all by themselves, and because as a general rule you're paying a whole bunch of people with specific expertise to do their jobs, so that the actors can, you know, ACT. I.E. do their jobs.

Which job includes pointing guns at people and pulling the trigger, on purpose including rehearsing same, using weapons that a competent and experienced armorer would have assured and doubly confirmed held no live rounds ever, which his assistant director mistakenly assured him was empty, and which shouldn't have even had blanks in it for a rehearsal.

But this low-budget clowncarnucopia of Fail had no such trained and competent armorer, but rather a stunning and brave ditz too stupid to know what she didn't know, and she got someone killed through her gross and reckless negligence. and hiring her is going to be what bites Baldwin-producer in the ass, long after Baldwin-actor walks on any charges, because it wasn't his fault nor responsibility to do the weapons handler's job for her. His job was to do his job, i.e. acting. Period.

Just like your boss hired you to do, which is why even on the bloody Titanic, if they hired you to tap dance or sling champagne for the first class passengers, you don't get a wild hair up your ass, race up the lookout tower like a monkey on crack, and "help" the lookout watch for icebergs, nor wander onto the bridge to give helpful suggestions to the captain of the ship.

Because, Gentle Reader, that's not your fucking job.

But don't take my word for it. Next time you're flying cross-country, wander up to the flight deck, and give the captain and first officer some tips on flying the plane, even better if it's based on your extensive experience with MS FlightSim2020, and report back on the experiment.

This is why it's never going to be Alec Baldwin's (nor any other actor's) job, responsibility, or moral duty to check firearms on set, never has been, never will be, not even if you hate them, not even if you're happy they killed someone, not even if you hold your breath until you turn blue, and tie yourself to a flagpole. Never, never, never never, never, ever. 

Thus endeth the lesson.

BONUS Crotch kick, for the slow learners, from Proof Positive with his caption:

This is the gun that Alec Baldwin fired that killed one person
and injured another. Just by looking at it,  could YOU tell
if it was loaded or not? And if the rounds loaded were blanks?

Kudos on that one sir. Nailed it.

And I loved the braintrust observation on yet another blog, that cleverly revealed that "he used a single action" so this had to be deliberate malice.
Because imagine! Someone using a single-action revolver on a western!
(I won't link to that blog/comment out of pity for retards.)

Toldja So


(CNN) An assistant director handed Alec Baldwin a prop firearm and yelled "cold gun" before the actor fired and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza, according to a court document.

The "cold gun" remark was meant to indicate that the weapon did not have live rounds, according to an affidavit for a search warrant for the movie set filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office and obtained by CNN affiliate KOAT.
According to the affidavit, Baldwin was handed one of three prop guns by assistant director David Halls that were set up in a cart by an armorer.
    Halls did not know there were live rounds in the gun, the affidavit said.

     But when the actor fired the gun, a live round hit Hutchins, 42, in the chest and wounded Souza, 48, who was nearby, according to the affidavit.

      Hutchins was pronounced dead at the hospital after being airlifted, the affidavit says.
      Before Thursday's shooting, some crew members quit the production over concerns related to safety -- including gun inspections, according to the Los Angeles Times and other media reports.
        Three crew members who were on the set last weekend told the Times there were two accidental prop gun discharges before Thursday.
        The rounds were accidentally fired October 16 by Baldwin's stunt double after he was told the gun was "cold," two of the crew members, who witnessed the discharges, told the newspaper.

         "Cold guns" aren't supposed to be loaded, particularly during rehearsals, a weapons expert told CNN on Friday.

        "You have to make sure that the weapon is truly cold, which means there should have been no rounds in there, period. And especially if it's a rehearsal," Bryan Carpenter, an armorer and weapons master in the film industry, told CNN.
        Carpenter added that while it's acceptable for some actors to want to get a feel of a weapon during rehearsals, it's crucial to ensure the prop guns are not filled with any rounds. He noted that weapons on sets should be confirmed "cold" by two people to avoid such tragic incidents.

        Prop department weapons handler fucked up. She'd better be retaining counsel, because she'll likely be tried for involuntary manslaughter and looking at 18 months in prison, under NM criminal statutes.

        And she's going to die on welfare after losing everything she owns, for life, in the civil suit.

        Incident details:

        (L.A. SlimesThree crew members who were present at the Bonanza Creek Ranch set on Saturday said they were particularly concerned about two accidental prop gun discharges.

        Baldwin’s stunt double accidentally fired two rounds Saturday after being told that the gun was “cold” — lingo for a weapon that doesn’t have any ammunition, including blanks — two crew members who witnessed the episode told the Los Angeles Times.

        “There should have been an investigation into what happened,” a crew member said. “There were no safety meetings. There was no assurance that it wouldn’t happen again. All they wanted to do was rush, rush, rush.”

        A colleague was so alarmed by the prop gun misfires that he sent a text message to the unit production manager. “We’ve now had 3 accidental discharges. This is super unsafe,” according to a copy of the message reviewed by The Times.

        Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was huddled around a monitor lining up her next camera shot when she was accidentally killed by the prop gun fired by Baldwin.

        The actor was preparing to film a scene in which he pulls a gun out of a holster, according to a source close to the production. Crew members had already shouted “cold gun” on the set. The filmmaking team was lining up its camera angles and had yet to retreat to the video village, an on-set area where the crew gathers to watch filming from a distance via a monitor.

        Instead, the B-camera operator was on a dolly with a monitor, checking out the potential shots. Hutchins was also looking at the monitor from over the operator’s shoulder, as was the movie’s director, Joel Souza, who was crouching just behind her.

        Baldwin removed the gun from its holster once without incident, but the second time he did so, ammunition flew toward the trio around the monitor. The projectile whizzed by the camera operator but penetrated Hutchins near her shoulder, then continued through to Souza. Hutchins immediately fell to the ground as crew members applied pressure to her wound in an attempt to stop the bleeding.

        The person in charge of overseeing the gun props, known as the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, could not be reached for comment. The 24-year-old is the daughter of veteran armorer Thell Reed and had recently completed her first film as the head armorer for the movie “The Old Way,” with Clint Howard and Nicolas Cage.

        One and a half movies, followed by one and a half years in prison for manslaughter.

        So when she gets out of prison she'll only be about 27, and can still get a job at Starbucks. But she'll never work in Hollywood, and she'll never handle another weapon legally for the rest of her life. Getting somebody killed because you were careless is a tough way to learn weapon safety. Bummer for her, but life is tougher when you're stupid.

         In talking about her training, Reed told the podcast hosts loading blanks in prop guns was "the scariest" thing to her, because she didn't know how to do it ... but it was something her dad had helped her work through.

        There ya go: prop fuck-up during a rehearsal, on a low-budget shoot, with an inexperienced weapons handler.

        (Thell Reed, BTW, is 78 years old, and worked in Hollywood since at least the 1950s, starting with Gunsmoke. When he was a teenager. Obviously, some skills aren't hereditary.)

        Unless some fantastical new angle comes out, kids, what say let's just assume that if I blog something, I probably know exactly WTF I'm talking about until proven otherwise?

        It's fun for me, but peeling your face off the brick wall has got to be painful for some folks out there eager to jump on the "Punk Baldwin" bandwagon.

        He's a producer on the movie, so though not morally nor legally culpable personally, he's going to be ass-raped in civil court by the victims/families of. He's effectively done. At his age, you don't bounce back from this, and 50/50 this movie never gets finished.


        Repeated For Emphasis


        Go back and read the part of the last post where I wrote the following:

        Spare me your butthurt.

        1) Movies are the dominant culture medium in America, and by America. On my side of that argument are nearly 53,000 MPAA-registered productions, just since the Hays Code. (India makes more than the U.S. year in and year out, but no one sees them outside of India. US movies go literally everywhere, by vast contrast.) Game over on that point.

        2) Of those 53,00 or so, it's 99:1 if you're reading this, you've seen The Terminator (1984), Heat (1995), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Ronin (1998) , and/or Blackhawk Down (2001), if not all five. But in case you lived in a cave the last 30 years, some excerpts from each:

        Shot in Tunisia, France, Ireland, and downtown L.A.

        Now, the salient point: How many people were accidentally killed in those shootout scenes, with a combined round count in the thousands to tens or hundreds of thousands?

        ZERO. That's Ze-fucking-ro. Period.

        "Witchcraft! How can this be?!?" I hear you gasp.

        Safety Bulletin No. 1: Recommendations For Safety With Firearms and Use of "Blank Ammunition"

        Literally the very first (of 44, so far) Industry-Wide Safety Bulletins whose rules are, quite literally, written in blood.

        Rigorous adherence to which, on all five productions, resulted in exactly no deaths whatsoever, despite using enough live arms, full-auto capable, to take over pretty much any country in South America or Africa, in any given year since 1900.

        Let me underline that: the death toll from firearms at the US Capitol demonstration on January 6th (one person, Ashli Babbitt) was higher than the death toll of those five movies, combined. In fact, that panty raid had a higher body count by firearms than every movie made by Hollywood starting right after The Crow in 1993, until Thursday on the set of Rust up to 1PM, NM local time. Twenty-eight years of no deaths from firearms fuck-ups, in point of fact, on any movie or TV show.

        (To whatever Hollywood industry anti-gun jackhole suggested banning all live firearms because of one death in that time - and some halfwit did, already - take those facts, and pound that dumbass idea right up your tailpipe with a shovel, good and hard. "Live guns" aren't the problem. Dumbass actors and slipshod productions are, every single time. Maybe require a minimum IQ to get a SAG card? Say 85 or so? Now you're onto something. Imagine John Lennon singing "Imagine no dumbass actors; it's easy if you try...")

        Now, the "spare me your butthurt" part of that?

        Weapons safety on set is not the job of actors, except to a very minor (almost negligible) degree. On purpose. The proof of the wisdom of that is the safety record you just read.

        "Foul!" cries the peanut gallery. "The Four Rules!"

        "Fuck off, dipshits!", sez I. The entire point of acting involves considered and deliberately breaking the Four Rules. 

        Pay attention now:

        Difficult as it is for some people's minds to grasp, "on a production set" is the one place in the universe where you should know that pointing a gun at someone, and pulling the trigger, will not result in any harm or destruction coming to them, or anyone else, ever, contrary to all rules of safe firearms handling elsewhere.

        Otherwise, Hollywood would just use real bullets all the time, hire homicidal maniacs for lead actors, and fill out the rest of the cast with condemned prison inmates in their last starring roles. And movies would be called "non-fiction".

        Anyone who cannot grasp that obvious truth is going to have their ass handed to them by the realities which proceed from that situation, and it will seem to them like Opposite World, whereupon their eyes will cross, then glaze over, smoke will issue from their ears, and vague seizure-like activity of the whole body may afterwards be noted.

        Case in point:

        Okay, actually 25 cases in point, if he'd updated it for the latest films. Total bodycount for all those scenes: zero. Yawn. Over nearly sixty years.

        (Total number of people, anywhere, ever, who've whinged that Sean Connery/George Lazenby/Roger Moore/Pierce Brosnan/Daniel Craig "broke the Four Rules" by pointing right at the camera (and the camera operator[s], DP, director, and any number of other crew persons) in all that time: zero, in the history of the Internet, or in print before that.)

        Look, I've wanted to spoof that exact opening shot, and have bodies dropping like flies while the camera wobbles and people start running and screaming, spurting blood everywhere, but the comedy in that is because that's never happened, not even once, on that set. Or damned near on any other, for decades. And add in the other 100 takes of those title openers they did, and the count - dead and wounded - is exactly the same.

        In fact, AFAIK, the body count of dead people from firearm screw-ups on production sets could be counted on your thumbs (until Alec Baldwin got into the act this week):

        1) Brandon Lee catching a wad in the gut on The Crow in 1993;

        2) John Eric Hexum cancelling his show Cover Up (and himself) in 1984;

        3) Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins getting capped Thursday by Alec Baldwin.

        That's. It.

        In fact, for the cherry on the cake, peruse this:

        Let's grant the nonsensical premise of everyone screaming "Baldwin on a rope!" because "Who would ever shoot a prop gun at a person on a movie set?"

        We join the case as the defense calls Alec Baldwin to the stand, after showing the two video clips to the jury.

        Mr. Baldwin, what is your occupation?

        I'm an actor, sir.

        For how long have you been working as an actor?

        Forty-one years, sir. Since 1980. 

         And that movie was made in...?


        So, tell us, Mr. Baldwin, how dangerous were those scenes?

        Not very.

        "Not very" dangerous? How can that be? There was gunfire, three people carrying weapons, bullets hitting and ricocheting off the hull of a nuclear submarine. That sounds extremely dangerous.

        As I mentioned, sir, I'm an actor. That was a movie.

        Can you please explain what difference that makes to the jury, sir?

        Of course. First of all, there was no nuclear submarine, those are all miniatures in a swimming pool tank. We were on a sound stage in Hollywood a couple miles from downtown Los Angeles. The guns were real, but they were loaded with blanks. Nothing comes out of them. They're loaded, there's a bright flash, but no projectiles issue outwards. It's all make-believe. Sean Connery isn't a Russian submarine captain, I'm not a CIA agent pretending to be a US Navy officer, and the man playing the cook wasn't a Russian KGB agent. The sparks that fly are shot off by a special effects man with a paintball gun shooting pellets that make a spark on anything they hit, even grass or hay bales. It's all for the camera. 

        So you're saying nothing we saw was real?

        Oh, no, just the opposite. It was all "real", but it wasn't what was being portrayed. I was really there, the cook was really there, Mr. Connery was really there. The blanks were fired, with the guns pointing at each other, they made loud "bangs", there were flashes, brass cases were ejected. The sweat on my face was real, but it was sprayed there just before each take by a makeup person. The clothes were real, the walls were real. But they were just painted luan, with blinking lights, to make it look like the missile deck on a Russian submarine, rather than a big empty soundstage on a movie lot. 

        I see. And how many times did you shoot that scene?

        Well, I'd have to look at the production notes, but my best recollection from thirty-two years ago is that we shot the scenes about four times apiece, and we filmed Mr. Connery getting shot, and the cook getting killed twice.

        Wait! So Sean Connery was "shot" two times, and the cook was shot two times, over and over?

        Yes sir. 

        And each time, the props and weapons people would do what?

        They reloaded the weapons, checked them in between takes, got them all ready, and then just before we were ready, they handed them to each actor.

        I see. And how many times did you fire your weapon? And how many times did you and Mr. Connery get shot at?

        Well, I got shot at probably 50-70 times on the various takes, and I shot the cook at least ten times, maybe fifteen or so. On one take I fired until the gun was empty, so maybe 100 shots fired, for that one scene.

        And how long did that take?

        Most of the afternoon.

         Why so long? And why so many shots for just a few takes?

        Well, we had to shoot everything from both perspectives, ours and the cook's; and we had to move along, plus reloading the guns, re-applying my sweat, and I had a lot of movement the camera had to cover, from in front of me looking at me, and over my shoulder towards the other guy.

        And yet no one was hurt, despite all of you shooting off all those guns?

        No sir. That's how it works. They tell us we're ready to go, and we can blast away. And then break for lunch.

        So everyone is okay now?

        Well, Mr. Connery passed away from natural causes last October, 30 years after the movie, and the guy who played the KGB agent/cook has been acting pretty consistently ever since, so apparently shooting him 10-15 times hasn't hurt his acting career. And until this incident, I've done alright myself.

        How can you take a gun and point it right at someone, and deliberately shoot it at somebody all afternoon, and no one gets hurt?

        It's Hollywood, sir, THAT'S WHAT WE DO.

        And then one of the jury members says "Duh!", and the deliberations last about two seconds, and they find Baldwin not guilty on all counts.

        Then the entire jury looks over at the prosecutor and says


        My point in all this is that unlike "reality", Hollywood is making film fantasy, and they're friggin' jet-fuel geniuses at that, unlike you, or any 500 or 5000 dipshits you know personally.

        If you cannot grasp that difference between actual reality, and realistic fantasy, I have some other shocking news for you: the castaways aren't really on an island 200 miles southwest of Hawaii, Sheldon Cooper didn't win a Nobel Prize, Steve Rogers can't stop bullets with his vibranium shield, Wakanda isn't real, and you can't go off a cliff and run in place in midair with an anvil on your back for several seconds before gravity kicks in.

        When all that sinks in, try not to get dizzy and throw up on the carpet.

        What you think you know about how this goes, or should go, is quite simply wrong.

        The rules don't apply, and you don't want them to, unless you're a moron.

        Do you want an assclown like John Eric Hexum ("Just blanks, see? BLAM!") in the safety loop on determining whether a gun is safely loaded with blanks?? HELL NO! 

        Do you want well-known public assholes like Tom Sizemore (amazingly in three of the five referenced clips, above) or frothing moonbats like Robert DeNiro in any sort of position of responsibility for deciding what constitutes safe firearms handling and use?? FUCK NO YOU DON'T!!!

        The director and the 1st Assistant Director are responsible for blocking the shot and safety on set.

        The prop master (and any weapons handler[s]) are responsible for making sure weapons are loaded properly, safe to operate, and taking custody of them before, after and between takes, and in all respects where firearms are concerned.

        The Grip department and Special FX are responsible to make sure there are shields and screens erected to protect crew, bystanders, and actors from inadvertent harm from wadding, muzzle flash, and anything else.

        How does that system work out, in actual practice, versus the one in your head that's used nowhere, on any set, ever?

        One dead person in 28 years, over 25,000 movies since 1993. Your local shooting range doesn't have that kind of safety record, in all likelihood. Three dead in the entire industry in half a century, AFAIK.

        And with overwhelming likelihood that either the actor, or more likely the amateur hack propmaster, or both, broke the guidelines in Safety Bulletin No. 1 about ten different ways, to a metaphysical certainty.

        So look, the fact that he was holding a loaded movie weapon, and pulled the trigger on it, does not ipso facto make known blowhard boob Alec Baldwin guilty of anything but being there, prima facie.

        IF it turns out Baldwin was horsing around between takes, that's different.

        IF this was a case of pointing a weapon with blanks at someone else too close, he's culpable.

        IF someone loaded a live round into the gun, they deserve to go to prison, and probably will.

        But trying to pretend there weren't any ten other people, far more circumspect (or at least supposed to be, both morally and legally) is fun, but jackassical in real life. Which is what we're talking about.

        I repeat what I also said yesterday:

        Alec Baldwin is now the Ted Kennedy of firearms safety: he's killed more people with his gun than most of you will ever kill with your entire collection, whether that's one gun, or one hundred, even if they're all misnamed "assault" weapons, which are no such thing.

        That takes all the anti-gun gas out of him, and probably ends his career. Boo frickin' hoo. Sweetest revenge would be Trump getting back into office in 2024, and Baldwin a washed-up has-been unable to even get a gig on SNL.

        If he performed some additional jackassery that leads to him getting charged, well and good.

        But ixnay on the yapping about how this shoulda/coulda/woulda gone if only we used your imaginary rules. Hollywood does a better job on firearms fuck-ups than the Capitol Police, since EVER. So unless you have some wee understanding of set operations, and who's responsible for what, please, for the good of all concerned, STFU.

        Hate Baldwin for being an @$$hole if you must. But stop trying to pin something on him that in all likelihood, wasn't his direct fault.

        Wanna dish on him for being a cheapskate producer of a schlock production using non-union amateur propmasters? Go on ahead. Hollywood will, I assure you.

        As for the rest? Spare me your butthurt, until and unless something more damning than your predilection comes to light. If that happens, they'll be plenty of time to pile onto Quickdraw McJackass, and we promise, we'll be riding on that posse too. Until then, salve your buttcheeks, and get over it.

        And if it doesn't turn out that way? Chill the fuck out, and enjoy the fact that besides pulling the trigger on a homicide, morally and legally culpable or not, Baldwin probably just shot his career in the heart as well.

        Learn to take "Yes!!" for an answer from Fate.

        Otherwise, apply the recommended balm, fill out the form below, and file it:

        Friday, October 22, 2021

        Karma Is A Cast-Iron Bitch

         h/t Mike

        Allow me to be the first to pile on. :

        Some days, we have to work for a post. Like think, and stuff.

        Other days, the muse gift-wraps them, and drops them in our lap.

        Today is definitely the second kind of day.

        Alec Baldwin kills DP, shoots director on set

        To whom this set of observations applies, spare me your butthurt.

        1) Of course they use real guns on movie sets. Since ever. File under "Duh!"

        2) Some propmaster dun fucked up, massively, and should shortly be charged for manslaughter and aggravated battery via gross negligence. There should NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER be live rounds on the main set, let alone anywhere near prop weapons.

        3) It's not the actor's job to ensure safety of prop weapons used on set, it's the propmaster and the weapon's handler's job. Weapons are supposed to be double-checked on loading to prevent this sort of cock-up.

        4) It's likely that when Baldwin was shooting, he was, almost certainly exactly per rehearsals and blocking, aiming at the camera. Which is where the director of photography and director sit, 90% of the time. And in real life, there's no way to tell you've fired a real bullet rather than a blank after the first shot, until bodies hit the ground. Blood doesn't explode from people's chests, they just crumple. Be glad it was a western, and not a gangster film. He could have taken out a swath of people, instead of just the two he hit.

        {We add in amendment, that if, instead, Baldwin was waving the gun around off-camera, and pulling the trigger, or some other form of jackassery, he should be charged and convicted like any other perp. We find that unlikely in the circumstances, but not entirely impossible. See #6, below. We look forward to a definitive explanation as this story develops.}

        5) Andrea Widburg's witless commentary about gun safety at American Thinker regarding this incident only proves she's a cinematic idiot, who should STFU when she's in over her head. But she won't. Firearms Safety is literally the first and second topics in the official industry-wide safety bible. It's lifted directly from NRA guidelines, and then amplified. So by definition, when something like this happens, rules written in blood were obviously and flagrantly violated. I say it again: STFU Andrea; you're abusing the internet privilege to be an uninformed jackass with a keyboard.

        6) I said for 20+ years in motion picture production, going back to the beginning of this blog, that even allowing for "only using blanks", it borders on professional incompetence for any propmaster to ever hand an actor any weapon not made of rubber. Because they're idiots. Like 99.9999% of them, by actual observation. (FFS, John Wayne even shot Ward Bond in the face on a bird hunting foray IRL. That should tell you something.) Triply so around weaponry of all types, or anything even sharp.

        7) The takeaway isn't that @$$hole Baldwin will not be charged; he bears exactly no culpability nor intent for the crime AFAWK. That's as it should be. Don't be stupid about this. And if time changes that, we look forward to Baldwin getting what he deserves.

        8) What you should be focusing on, is that despite that reality, you can now claim, FOREVER, that exactly like Ted Kennedy's car, Alec Baldwin has killed more people with guns than your/my/anyone's collection of misnamed "assault" weapons have, ever.

        9) He'll NEVER be able to escape that legacy, not even when he dies, and he's going to hear it 1000 times a day until that happy occasion. It's going to be on bumper stickers, lapel buttons, memes, and a gajillion other things, for all time. He's just taken himself out of the anti-gun speaker's pool forever!

        10) If that reality, and not the imaginary injustice of not charging him with the killing that likely wasn't his fault, doesn't warm your heart, you're simply a lunatic.

        Learn to take "YES!" for an answer from the Fates.

        And just to doubly piss you off a little more, this is one of the reasons that motion picture productions that have fled SoCal to non-union states always have these sorts of fuck-ups. When productions go off the reservation and hire unprofessional non-union fuck-ups for a cut rate, they get what they pay for. In this case, a dead DP, a wounded director, and an actor who will, to a metaphysical certainty, be justifiably scarred for life. Not to mention metric fucktons of bad publicity for the event.

        Baldwin's a victim of both a cheap-ass production (he's one of the producers, btw: Own Goal Achievement - Unlocked), and a total fuck-up homicidal weapons master.

        And karma is a cast-iron bitch.


        (And rest assured, Gentle Readers, while we are giving Baldwin the benefit of the doubt at this point, if it turns out, against likelihood, that @$$hole Baldwin was, in fact, totally and jackassically responsible, we will revise and amend our judgement of him the moment his homicidal culpability becomes apparent, and add to the clamor for his prosecution and conviction. We would hope, at that point, for the entire judicial machinery of the state of New Mexico to fall on him, from a great height. We're certain, when the whole truth comes out, he'll get what's coming to him. He's only done, to best recollection, three things right in Hollywood: played a great ghost in Beetlejuice; absolutely nailed Jack Ryan in Hunt For Red October; and warmed our heart when he fell into the bear pit in the climactic scene of The Edge. We still haven't forgiven him for taking Kim Basinger off the market at the time.)

        Double bonus: I think we've seen the last SNL Baldwin-Trump skit forever. With any luck, Baldwin just retired permanently from everything.

        UPDATE: You might want to read this article in the Daily Beast, that just confirmed everything I already told you about amateur propmasters and cheapskate production, which was why those crew members on the camera crew walked off the set, and saved their own lives.

        Imagine that: We got it right, 5 hours before they did, and we didn't have to talk to anyone there. Almost like we might know WTF we're talking about where such on-set shenanigans are concerned.