Thursday, October 1, 2015

Set Safety (Or Lack Therof)

This semester marks my first semester at Ithaca College as a TA. One of the courses I'm a TA for is Fiction Field 1, which is the second production course that many students take. On average, most students in this course have taken Intro Field, some studio courses, and have been on a fair amount of sets already. Some are even seniors, which is why the next story really bothers me.

We were doing a lighting lab in class (note: this is after the lighting demo we did, in which we described how to set up and dismantle each fixture) and students were incorrectly setting up fixtures left and right. We had a 1K that needed to be set up in the hallway, and I entrusted two of the students (one a senior and one I've been on set with before) to set it up. Not only did they set it up upside down but it was two inches away from the fire detector. Thats right, the heat sensitive fire detector that if triggered would douse the entire school in multiple feet of water. Luckily Phil Wacker stopped them before any of that happened.

But this speaks to a broader concern on safety, one that I think Ithaca College is attempting to address. There are seniors and even graduates who wouldn't know an unsafe set from a safe one. This is unacceptable, and so is IC's response to it. Their half credit "safety course" that Steve Gordon is teaching this semester is barely comprehensive, not to mention it uses solely third party material. On set safety is an essential concept that few people at this school grasp, and its amazing that there haven't been more injuries. In my opinion On Set Safety should be a half semester course, in person, that is required of everyone in TVR and Cinema. We shouldn't rely on professors of other courses to cover this topic in passing, or not at all.

As a bonus for reading my rant, here is a picture of a set up done recently by seniors from the park school. It was left like this for the duration of the set up too. Wires thrown everywhere, XLRs over AC current, unsandbagged lights, etc.

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