“No-one should die for a shot.” Mark Milsome update

In November 2017, Mark Milsome – a Camera Operator – died after being hit by a Land Rover when a stunt went wrong. He had been working on the Netflix and BBC drama Black Earth Rising.

His father, Doug Milsome (himself a big screen cinematographer) told the inquest that industry standards “should never have allowed” a camera operator to die when a stunt went wrong.

The Mark Milsome Foundation (set up in the wake of Mark’s tragic death to promote safer working in film and TV) have a detailed account (from the Daily Telegraph) on their website.

The foundation has also published a one-side-of-A4 ‘lessons learned’ report – here:

  1. A safety briefing that includes all crew and producer/s should always take place immediately before any stunt or dangerous, unpredictable action is shot. That safety briefing should be recorded on a cell phone to help everyone focus on the importance of the meeting and serve as a record of what was agreed in the event that anything should go wrong.

  2. All safety briefings should conclude with a clearly defined opportunity for crew, production and cast members to speak up, openly and honestly, without fear of being criticised, with any concerns they might have. Those concerns must be resolved before any filming takes place.

  3. A danger zone must always be identified and clearly communicated to all crew. No one should be present in that zone whilst filming under any circumstances. A manned camera must never be placed in a danger zone or in the path of a moving object. A remote head or similar must always be used to protect human life.

  4. When employing any new crew member, especially when they might be directly responsible for crew safety such as stunt co ordinator, VFX supervisor, First AD etc Production must do due diligence in thoroughly researching claims of credits, qualifications, experience and content of showreel material. This must include more than one verbal recommendation from an independent person who has worked with the new crew member before.

You may feel that the current safety procedures already incorporate the above, but it is important to remember that Mark died on a set surrounded by mostly experienced crew and production, working for two of the most respected and experienced broadcasters in the Film and TV industry.

I have a report on the Coroner’s hearing from October 2020 on file if anyone needs to see it.

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One Response to “No-one should die for a shot.” Mark Milsome update

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