Slates For Sarah: A Movement for A Fallen Film Crew Member

Life is a cruel son of a bitch sometimes. This unfair world takes people well before they are supposed to go and we are left lingering in the aftermath wondering whySlates-for-sarah such a thing had to happen.  Before her death became a hot news item these past few weeks, I am sure NO ONE knew who Sarah Jones was.  I didn’t and now look back at her life as if I should have paid more attention.  Last month, Jones was killed while working as a camera assistant on Gregg Allman’s biopic Midnight Rider. The crew was setting up a shot on a train track thinking there weren’t any scheduled locomotives coming through the area during that time. When a train suddenly came down the tracks, most of the crew didn’t have time to react. Jones was struck and killed. She was 27 years old.

Since her death, the film community has came together and tried to raise awareness about the safety hazards for crew members who work on a movie set while getting Jones’ name out there. A group of people have contacted the Oscars to include Jones’ name in the segment “In Memoriam”. There is a facebook page called “Slates For Sarah” that has also gained steam the past week. It’s a proper name since crew members like Jones held the slate at the beginning of each take.  Sitting at 62,000 likes and basically including photos, kind words and different things from people around the business who either worked with or knew the woman. I think it is an important stand to take for Hollywood.  Why are hard working people like Jones never talked about or given the proper respect? They are a huge part of a film’s production and add the tiny details on a set that often go unnoticed.

These crew members don’t get to grace the cover of magazines or do promotional interviews. They bust their ass for 12-13 hours a day in sometimes hazardous conditions to make sure a film set runs smoothly.  I am sure people screamed at Jones to get off the tracks that day but she wanted to make sure things were set up right and in a way, she gave her life for her craft. In a business well known for ego driven souls and greed, it is nice to see such a large amount of people come together for one of their own. Vanity can be shut down for a day apparently.

Eric Henson, a fellow crew member, says Slates for Sarah has given people a chance to celebrate Jones while also raising awareness for the safety of these crew members. “It’s a really tragic situation, but it’s given us an opportunity to look at how we make films and how to make it a safer environment.”

Jones didn’t waste a minute of her life, always carrying a camera on set and never wasting an opportunity to make a connection. In wake of her death, thousands of people have come forward with messages and pictures. Sometimes you never know the measure of a life until it has expired. A woman who worked with actors and creators, Jones is being remembered for her work and her passion. Whether or not safety measures improve, it’s good to see this kind of rally in Hollywood and around the world.

I really hope the Oscars make the decision to include Jones on their program tonight. Put her name up there and remind all the actors, directors, and producers in the room who grinds their teeth and puts their life on the line for their films to be done right and look their best. This is an important message.

Without workers like Jones, film wouldn’t look right or come together so tight in the end. I have been saying for years that there should be a stunt coordinator/performer category because they make action films look so good. Why is it so hard to honor the people who work behind the scenes with the filmmaker’s to ensure a good product comes forth?

Jones’ death could bring about some change in the industry or it may not do anything at all. I simply hope it wakes people up and reminds them why the credits at the end of films run so long. There are a lot of people who are involved with a movie and each and every one of them deserves a mention.  People like Sarah Jones deserve a special mention from time to time.

Visit the Facebook page right here. The images and messages there are worth the trip and like alone-https://www.facebook.com/slatesforsarah

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Thanks for reading this latest Dose of Buffa.

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Author: D. Buffa

A regular guy who feels a journalistic hunger to tell the news. I blog because its wired into my brain to write what I think in print. I offer an opinion. A solo tour here. Take regular stories and offer my spin on them. Sports, film, television, music, fatherhood, culture, food, and so on. Commentary on everything. A St. Louis native and Little Rock resident who wants to write just to keep the hands fresh and ready.

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