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Old December 30th, 2015, 08:55 AM   #1
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Father of Allman movie worker killed by train tells judge director should remain in j

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Former "Midnight Rider" director Randall Miller has asked a Georgia judge to set him free less than a year after he pleaded guilty to felony charges in the February 2014 train collision. A 27-year-old camera assistant, Sarah Jones, was run over by a freight train as Miller's crew filmed a scene on a railroad bridge without a permit from the trestle's owner.

Miller's attorneys say he deserves to be freed early because of good behaviour as well as concerns for the 53-year-old director's health.

Jones' father, Richard Jones, responded with a letter to Superior Court Judge Anthony Harrison asking him to deny the director's request.

"There is a need to maintain a strong message to the film industry that those in charge of their cast and crew will be held responsible for their safety," Jones' father wrote in a letter dated Monday. "That such reckless disregard for safety will not be tolerated."
More at the article: https://ca.news.yahoo.com/father-all...222.html?nhp=1

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Old December 30th, 2015, 08:53 PM   #2
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Re: Father of Allman movie worker killed by train tells judge director should remain

This was an accident that did not have to happen. This director made decisions in defiance of the property owner's rights. His victims will never get a chance at "early release" including the girl who was killed.

Second chances are a good part of our system, but this guy got a second chance when he only got two years.
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Old December 31st, 2015, 07:06 AM   #3
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Re: Father of Allman movie worker killed by train tells judge director should remain

Well said Tim!
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Old December 31st, 2015, 08:35 AM   #4
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Re: Father of Allman movie worker killed by train tells judge director should remain

Let him feel the weight of his actions.

We are Sarah Jones.
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Old December 31st, 2015, 11:48 AM   #5
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Re: Father of Allman movie worker killed by train tells judge director should remain

If I was him I'd be so ashamed of my actions I wouldn't have the stones to ask to be let out early.
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Old December 31st, 2015, 12:33 PM   #6
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Re: Father of Allman movie worker killed by train tells judge director should remain

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Originally Posted by Dylan Couper View Post
If I was him I'd be so ashamed of my actions I wouldn't have the stones to ask to be let out early.
And yet, he was crowing about how when the facts came out, he'd be vindicated.

And when they did, it was anything but. Delusional much?
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Old December 31st, 2015, 02:46 PM   #7
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Re: Father of Allman movie worker killed by train tells judge director should remain

Imagine that. A Hollywood director wannabe type with grandiose levels of self-belief and his own inability to fail. I for one am shocked.

Glad he has some time to cool his heels and have a reality adjustment courtesy of his fellow inmates. Gives the film industry a chance to permanently move on without him.

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Old January 2nd, 2016, 12:21 AM   #8
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Re: Father of Allman movie worker killed by train tells judge director should remain

I find it difficult to understand the logistics of “ . . . .as Miller's crew filmed a scene on a railroad bridge without a permit from the trestle's owner".

I expect things were somewhat more complicated than a “permit”.

i.e. Would the trestle owner, in the normal course of events, have taken on the responsibility of notifying the owner of the rail line who, in turn, would have alerted all train systems that use that rail line?

The director should have separately posted spotters a few miles from the bridge in both directions as backup for communication failure across any of the other involved parties.

Nothing changes of course in respect of Mr. Miller’s residual jail term - any prudent Event organizer would make a point of understanding the ramifications of having people on a track/bridge carrying traffic and engaging appropriate action.

If there is a medical condition that cannot be attended to in the jail system, no problem pulling out an inmate for medical services then returning them to the jail system.

I am very surprised to hear that the sentence was two years. This does not place much value on a young girl’s life.
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Old January 2nd, 2016, 01:59 PM   #9
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Re: Father of Allman movie worker killed by train tells judge director should remain

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Originally Posted by Karl Walter Keirstead View Post
I find it difficult to understand the logistics of “ . . . .as Miller's crew filmed a scene on a railroad bridge without a permit from the trestle's owner".

I expect things were somewhat more complicated than a “permit”.

i.e. Would the trestle owner, in the normal course of events, have taken on the responsibility of notifying the owner of the rail line who, in turn, would have alerted all train systems that use that rail line?

The director should have separately posted spotters a few miles from the bridge in both directions as backup for communication failure across any of the other involved parties.
Yeah, that's about how it works. Laws surrounding railroads predate the settling of the western United States, and some of the biggest landlords in America are the railroads. It doesn't seem like much real estate when you think of it as a 6ft wide track and 20 or 30 feet on either side of it, but when you think about the fact that they're two thousand miles long and they zigzag across the US... it's a lot of land.

It is extraordinarily expensive to shoot legally on railroad land, which is why it is so often done guerrilla style. The two guys you speak of as spotters.. those guys work for the railroad and probably cost $1k/day... each. Then you have a guy on-site at the shoot, plus the permit cost... you could not do it for less than $10k/day just for the location cost. This is for a film whose whole budget was almost certainly south of $100k.

Imagine what the logistics would be to shut down a road or highway to shoot on it, then consider the fact that the people on the road can take an alternate route - the train, which could be 100 cars of goods, with other trains behind it - can't.

Of course, the whole permitting process is for good reason - we can see (now) what happens when you don't go about it that way. And it's tragic.
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Old January 2nd, 2016, 03:03 PM   #10
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Re: Father of Allman movie worker killed by train tells judge director should remain

Yes, spotters up the track are ONLY for backup in case of communication failure. I don't want any filmmaker ever thinking this could work as their only method of safety.

The ONLY way to accomplish a scene on a working railroad track is with the full cooperation of the railroad who are in constant contact with a dispatcher and train crews. It is not just a matter of securing permission and posting spotters. Here's why.

If you post spotters at the end of a walkie's range, which could easily be 1/2 to 1 mile, especially in a wooded area, you are only looking at about 30 to 60 seconds more warning to clear the track. This is insufficient warning to clear cast and crew from the tracks, let alone on a bridge trestle high above a river where their only safety was to run TOWARD the speeding train.

Spotters would not have worked in this case and should NEVER be solely relied up when filming on tracks. One cannot refute the laws of physics, including how much distance a train can cover at full speed or the working range of VHF or UHF handheld radios. So, as Karl pointed out, spotters are only for backup.

We finished a big TV series this spring and filmed throughout the winter on and near railroad tracks. The tracks were owned by a company that runs a steam train up a short track for tourists in the summer but they also rent the far end of their track for storage of freight cars. During the winter, they would have one short train moving a maximum of 20 miles an hour maybe once or twice a MONTH. Regardless, we had full permission of the railroad; we knew a day in advance of the approach of a train; the railroad safety reps were there every day there was a train (and a few days there weren't, just to check up on us) and every single crew member who worked near or crossed the track wore a safety vest.

When we were outside, everyone who worked near the tracks or crossed the tracks wore their safety vest every day. Safety just became a normal way of doing things.

Us old timers need to "normalize" safety like this for the new filmmakers and new crews so that everyone gets used to 'that's just how things are done around here' even with the unique hazards we deal with on a daily basis. There is no room for guerilla filmmaking when dealing with hazards that could get someone killed.

Part of that is by pointing out the falsehoods in things like just posting PAs with walkie talkies up the track. It would not have worked then, and it won't work in the future.

No, their criminal negligence extended far more than this. They KNOWINGLY put their cast and crew in a very dangerous situation; the director, producers and 1st AD knew full well they didn't have permission to be there; they were reminded of this AGAIN the night before by the location manager; in spite of that, they concealed this fact from their cast and crew, and they concealed this fact from the unions who might have asked some questions, by deliberately calling this a "camera test" day, which they also knew full well was completely false. So it was not just a matter of negligence in not informing the cast and crew about the hazards or making a mistake with serious consequences, they actually took steps to CONCEAL this from the workers. It is in proceeding anyway with the full knowledge of the hazards plus the steps they took to conceal this from the workers and the unions that changed this from a tragic accident into a criminal act.
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Old January 2nd, 2016, 07:36 PM   #11
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Re: Father of Allman movie worker killed by train tells judge director should remain

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Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
It is extraordinarily expensive to shoot legally on railroad land, which is why it is so often done guerrilla style. The two guys you speak of as spotters.. those guys work for the railroad and probably cost $1k/day... each. Then you have a guy on-site at the shoot, plus the permit cost... you could not do it for less than $10k/day just for the location cost. This is for a film whose whole budget was almost certainly south of $100k.
The budget for "Midnight Rider" was actually around $5 million. Shooting on an active railroad trestle is indeed not inexpensive, and would have been considered a big day for a film of that size. The production not only stole the location, they shoehorned it under the guise of a "camera test" the day before principal photography, thus skirting the crew requirements, including a medic. Many deplorable decisions made by a production team that were known for pulling off dangerous guerilla-style shoots and bragging about it afterwards, which has been well documented.

In an industry that likes to sweep things under the rug, fortunately this horrible incident (we don't call it an accident) has and will not be forgotten by union crews. Sarah's name adorns every slate and we have all become far more vigilant in looking out for safety concerns as they come up.
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Old January 3rd, 2016, 05:04 PM   #12
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Re: Father of Allman movie worker killed by train tells judge director should remain

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....you could not do it for less than $10k/day just for the location cost. This is for a film whose whole budget was almost certainly south of $100k.
In which case, you can't afford to do it safely and legally, you just have to rewrite the scene!! Very simple!

I may want to eat in a very expensive restaurant, but haven't got nearly the budget to do it. So what's the answer - just eat anyway and run out without paying the bill? Or decide all we can afford is somewhere a bit cheaper and within budget?

At the end of the day it's only a film - not a matter of life and death. There was no absolute need for the scene to be shot as such - just a directors whim. If it was just his own safety he was risking for this artistic whim I suppose it would be one thing - but to risk his whole crew.......?
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