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Registered: 12-2017
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ALEC BALDWIN - Explains What Happened


Here's what happened in technical terms as they relate to film production:

Director of Photography (DP), Halyna Hutchins, was also operating the camera and was thus double posted as the "DP/Operator" for this shoot. This is a normal hat configuration in the motion picture business and often used on low budget films or by directors that are extremely particular about the composition of their shots. Being DP/Operator explains why Helyna Hutchins was behind the camera.

On the tragic day, Hutchins, in her capacity of camera operator, was shooting what's known as an Extreme Close Up, abbreviated ECU. This particular ECU was of the hammer of a gun being slowly and quietly cocked back through 3 of its 4 positions as each one made a dramatic clicking sound. At the director's direction, the DP was trying to frame the ECU as clearly and dramatically as possible. In order to more clearly see the hammer of the gun in the ECU (as it was slowly being pulled back), Hutchins facilitated the director's intent by guiding Baldwin in the exact positioning of the gun in the camera frame. This is known as "cheating" -- the act of moving an actor, piece of furniture or prop slightly so it can be better captured by the camera. In this case it was the hammer of the gun that was being cheated down so that it could be revealed on-camera more precisely.

Unfortunately, in the process of cheating the gun for the ECU, Hutchins had directed Baldwin to point the half-cocked gun down at her mid section. Then, when Baldwin released the hammer, the gun fired. Baldwin did NOT actually pull the trigger, as he said, he merely let the hammer snap closed.

Although Baldwin did not specify, it looks like the Director, Joel Souza, was hit by the same bullet that passed through Hutchins. Souza caught the bullet in his shoulder because he was probably stooping down close behind Hutchins to watch the monitor hanging off the side of the camera.

Having been a Director (and earlier a DP) for many years, as far as I can see, the actions and cinematic procedures of the filmmakers were normal and responsible. The only thing that was not normal, of course, was the live cartridge that was in the prop gun. Who put that in the gun and why?

After closely following this tragedy for several months, and now hearing Baldwin's technical account -- as promotional as it may be -- I am comfortable stating that this whole matter was a "perfect storm" accident and should be dropped.

Baldwin was not a line-producer (hiring) or an executive producer (financing) on this show. He was a creative producer (also known as a packaging producer) dealing only with the screenplay (for which he co-wrote the story) and the casting, including himself in a principal role. He cannot therefore be held responsible for set operations or budget allocations. In other words, it was not Baldwin's hat to hire crew. He had nothing to do with hiring the Armorer, the Propmaster the AD, the DP or any of the crew. The Director hires the DP and the AD. The Armorer (a relatively new post) works for the Propmaster. The Propmaster reports to the Art Director. The Art Director, in consultation with the Director, is hired by the Production Manager, as are all below-line crew members. The Production Manager is the one who physically hires most of the (IATSE) crew. Department heads (like Art Director, Production Designer and Editor) are hired in consultation with the Director and the Producer or Producer Unit. As complicated as it sounds, set operations usually do run quite smoothly.

The only thing that troubles me is the new post of Armorer. Baldwin comments on this when he stated that for years the only ones that handled guns were the Property Master or the First AD (when the Prop Master was not on set). With the advent of the Armorer post, set operations seem to have been confused in the name of creating "security." Splitting off the newly-created post of Armorer from Property Master, created a "responsibility gap" between the Property Master and the Armorer if not also the AD.

As far as the AD and the Armorer, they should be forgiven.

The Armorer and AD most likely did nothing that could not be explained by the above considerations or the normal errors and omissions extant in any human endeavor. Sure human life was lost, but human life is lost in many industries much more than the motion picture industry.

Even the U.S. Military shoots its own in so called "friendly fire" incidents.

If the Armorer and the AD did not bring the live rounds to the set, and there is no evidence that they did, they should be left alone.

The only question remaining is who did bring the live rounds to the set. Was it oversight or sabotage? While Baldwin dismisses sabotage, the interview ends with his question. I agree, this is the most salient question, the question that needs to be answered -- otherwise the shooting on the RUST set should be put to bed.

Watch the interview at:

Part 1 https://youtu.be/ZOKpiWrUPUI
Part 2 https://youtu.be/y-HyUbJYBOY
Part 3 https://youtu.be/gx_-N4BiX4M





Last edited by James Jaeger, 12/4/2021, 2:48 pm
12/3/2021, 12:14 pm Link to this post PM James Jaeger Blog
 
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Re: ALEC BALDWIN - Explains What Happened


IMPORTED COMMENTARY:

Bobbie wrote:
Bullshit. Why has it taken so long for this to come out? Why didn't he or others say this from the beginning? He aimed a loaded gun at a person and either pulled the trigger or somehow released the hammer. No bueno. This is just going to be a lawyer and judge fest with many millions of dollars flying around. Lawyers are good at it.


--------------------
Jaeger Wrote:
Actor Baldwin was lining up the shot with the DP's exact instructions as the Director supervised on the monitor beside her. The DP instructed Baldwin to pull back the hammer and tilt the gun (we call it "cheating" the gun) so the hammer could more easily be seen by the camera. Are you a filmmaker? A DP? Have you ever marked off or blocked a shot? If not, you will not be familiar with this routing camera action. As a DP and a Director, I have done shots similar to this many times. Blocking, marking and cheating props are routine operations in motion picture production. The only question is how did a loaded round get in that gun, into the prop box or on the set. The blame game is over. We now need the MORON authorities in the state to do THEIR jobs and figure out WHO brought the bullets onto the RUST set. Then we need to find out if it was an accident or sabotage. I will bet it was sabotage and that sabotage had something to do with the union strike that was going on. Remember, some time prior, Baldwin went on a news camera sticking up for the union and he even said '!@#$ the executives, they don't give a !@#$ about you.' So management also had a motive to ruin Baldwin's life as did extremist Trump supporters after Baldwin did all those SNL impersonations. There is thus no shortage of people who hate Baldwin and have motive to sabotage his production and/or life.

12/3/2021, 4:18 pm Link to this post PM James Jaeger Blog
 
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Re: ALEC BALDWIN - Explains What Happened


IMPORTED COMMENTARY:

Bobby wrote: Okay. But why wasn't this brought out in the beginning? And HE AIMED THE GUN at her. Right?
12/4/2021, 1:38 pm Link to this post PM James Jaeger Blog
 
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Re: ALEC BALDWIN - Explains What Happened


When you are shooting a movie, no one on the set really understands what's happening with the shot other than 1) the Director, 2) the on-camera Actor, 3) the Operator and, 4) the Script Supervisor. Everyone else is performing set operations or prepping for the next "set up." They are not paying attention to the current shot, the performance or the camera moves.

Given these things, Baldwin's technical explanation with George Stephanopolis is the first time even filmmakers were able to understand what exactly happened. They were doing an ECU. Does anyone know what that means? If not, they have no business evaluating this event.

Were I, or any other director, shooting this scene, the same thing would have happened. The only variable is a live round was present when it should have been a dummy round. You use dummy rounds for ECUs. This is why dummy rounds were invented.

Lastly, Baldwin did not "aim" the gun: the DP, under the Director's command, guided Baldwin's aim for what we call a "cheat" on the ECU. Like "ECU" if one does not know what a "cheat" is, they have no business evaluating what happened in connection with this tragic event.

Last edited by James Jaeger, 12/4/2021, 1:43 pm
12/4/2021, 1:41 pm Link to this post PM James Jaeger Blog
 


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