How Surging Demand for Streaming Content Is Endangering Stunt Performer Lives
Stunt performers have a thankless job in the entertainment industry. A flawless performance by stunt people will either go unnoticed or be subsumed into the stardom of a prominent Hollywood actor. However, ever since video streaming services pushed out hard-copy video rentals as the preferred method for consuming home video content, the entertainment industry has been trying to keep up. As a result, productions began sacrificing safety standards, leading to a spike in stunt performer injuries and fatalities the industry hasn’t seen since the 1980s. This article explores how the recent streaming content boom is putting the lives of stunt people in danger.
“Everyone and Their Brother Is Now Saying They’re Stunt Coordinators”
According to an FX study, more than 520 TV shows are estimated to appear throughout 2018. The figure represents more than twice the number of shows in 2010. With Facebook and Apple entering the market for scripted content, production demands can only increase.
According to veteran stuntman Jim Vickers, “demand for content is so extreme that productions are just hiring whomever… There are no requirements with SAG that stipulate what you need to be a performer or a coordinator.”
As a result, people with little-to-no experience in stunt work are sometimes hired as stunt coordinators – a position that is responsible for ensuring the safety of the stunt workers throughout film and television productions. According to experienced stunt workers, the incidence of preventable injuries has increased in recent years.
For example, in a lawsuit against Sony Pictures Entertainment regarding a stunt worker’s serious injury from an on-set accident, the plaintiff alleged that producers and stunt crew had negligently failed to place proper safety equipment on location during an action sequence involving a Jet Ski stunt. As a result, the stunt worker suffered a disabling traumatic brain injury. The producers even decided to include the actual footage of the horrifying accident in the final cut of the film.
“They Just Said, ‘I’m Done.’”
Even productions with experienced stunt coordinators have been affected. For example, when J. Harris was hired for 20th Century Fox’s blockbuster “Deadpool 2” to perform a motorcycle stunt, she had no prior stunt experience apart from motorcycle racing.
Despite the fact that the experienced stunt performers who had been training Harris protested that Harris wasn’t ready to perform the student, producers decided to move forward with the scene. According to witnesses on the set, Harris lost control of her motorcycle and crashed into a concrete planter, tossing her headfirst through a plate glass window without a helmet.
Weeks after Harris’ death, two stunt workers who were present during Harris’ death, died in circumstances that suggest suicide. Monique Ganderton, one of the industry’s most successful stunt coordinators who knew the deceased workers, commented, “Two people I know don’t work in film anymore because of what happened to [Harris]. They just said, ‘I’m done.’”
Consult Our Santa Clarita Catastrophic Injury Attorney
Some accidents are so severe that they result in permanent life-changing injuries. If you suffered such an injury as the result of another person’s negligence, you should seek the professional advice of an experienced Santa Clarita catastrophic injury attorney. At the Law Office of Robert J. Kaiser, we have over 20 years of legal experience handling personal injury cases, including catastrophic injuries. We will provide you with passionate legal advocacy to help you hold those responsible for your injury legally accountable for their wrongful conduct.
Call us at (661) 441-3446 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with our experienced catastrophic injury attorney today.