Day 8 of Assassinaut started with a safety meeting and ended with a bang.
Today was the first day we used prop guns to fire blanks as the commander of the astronauts teaches the kids how to fire a weapon. So it was important to have the rules of the prop guns laid out to cast and crew beforehand as well as the process for them arriving on set, being handled in the scene, and what to do in an emergency.
There were actually two types of prop guns on set: one that fires blanks and one that fires airsoft BB’s. Both were kept inside a locked Pelican case, accessible only by the two people who had been trained to handle them. The actors, too, had taken a gun safety course.
Though our actors were only firing blanks – or in many takes simply miming the recoil of an unloaded gun – the seriousness in which safety was considered and executed was appreciated. I want to thank our producer and 1st Assistant Director (AD) for that.
While some may have thought the safety precautions were excessive, it didn’t bother me since I’m usually standing next to the camera. For instance, when we did a shot looking down the barrel of the gun and the 1st AD announced the gun was unloaded, I had no qualms asking him to show me and inspecting it myself.
Remember that safety is everybody’s priority on set, but nobody cares more about your safety than yourself. I had no reason to doubt the gun was unloaded, but it took me less than 30 seconds to confirm it. Why wouldn’t you just take the quick moment to be sure?
All that said, filming gun scenes is pretty cool. It’s loud. It’s exciting. It feels very Hollywood.
(When I worked on the feature film Red Herring we had several gun scenes and I took home a blank ammo casing as a souvenir from the shoot. I was thankful my 2nd AC found me another blank ammo casing from today for me to take home as well.)
After the gun scene was over, we shot a quick transition shot of the characters moving between locations and called it a day. Nobody was hurt, no guns were lost, and the footage looked excellent.
Thankful for that, I loaded up my car to head home for the weekend – the first time since starting my Assassinaut adventure – before we head down to southwest Virginia for more hot exteriors, buggy woods, and difficult terrain.
“That’s a wrap on a great week 2,” our 1st AD called out, “Thank you everyone.”
And like this post, day 8 was a short one.
Day 8 Wrap Out
• Today was an improvement from yesterday as everyone – from art department to production – took criticisms on the chin and worked to step up their game.
• A lesson in safety was given to my 2nd AC while using an airsoft gun to shoot a prop and knock it over. We all wore safety glasses except he had forgotten to put his on until the director reminded him right before calling “action.” He quickly put them on, *bang!* the gun fired and, immediately, the 2nd AC said, “Well, that hit me in the forehead.” Safety matters, kids.
• Overheard on set: “I’m totally cool working a full day, but this is cutting into my undertime.”
• I’m pretty impressed with the Dragon’s ability to manage its temperature considering the sweltering heat we’ve been shooting in. As long as you calibrate it after its warmed up and in the environment you’ll be shooting in, it seems to keep the sensor temp in a good range.