1911s and more

 

PewTube Episode II is now live, after more than a day of arguing with YouTube to get it to upload.

 

Currently trying to chase down Fire Marshals – State was closed for Veteran’s Day, then today said to try City, who is out… but folks at Cleveland Playhouse were talking about possible issues with trying to do a theatrical firearms workshop here – something about like a $7K bond required by a fire marshal if using live firearms on stage. Semantics matter in legal issues, and since blank guns aren’t legally firearms, and a classroom isn’t a stage, or an empty theatre isn’t always covered by the same requirements as a theatre with an audience in attendance, I need to figure out what exactly we’re talking about. Gun laws are a mess in this country, and replica guns aren’t exempt from that. Witness things like the poor actor in NJ who has a felony gun charge against him after using a pellet gun in an indie movie shoot a couple years ago where the director and producers didn’t get permits, or the states where blanks are considered pyrotechnic devices and therefore require a pyrotechnic’s license (which is built around the assumption you’re setting off fireworks, flash pots, and other such effects) to set them off in front of an audience. California has entertainment-industry-specific permits that nobody else either requires or grants.

Granted, we have it better than Canada (all replicas are regulated) or the UK (post VCR-act, anyway) so I probably shouldn’t complain. It’s just hard to keep track when you move states, or work in various municipalities, and the theatres and films we work with can’t be counted on to know this stuff. Nor can the local police who are the first to show up when there’s a complaint.

Also… while it’s not directly related to actors, this week’s tragic shooting of a security guard by a police officer highlights the importance of first impressions and safety. Apparently the responding officer’s first impulse when hearing of an armed individual and showing up to see a black man with a gun was to shoot him. That could just as easily have been an actor on an un-permitted indie film, as we hear about periodically. I’m sure I’m not the only one with friends who include actors and stuntmen who build their livelihood around looking intimidating, and aren’t all white. I never want to see them pop up in a story like this, so make sure your productions are legit, safe, that they’ve notified people in the area before using any kind of firearm prop in an area where they can be seen or heard by the public, that there are signs posted, and obvious film crew when possible. Post PAs on the corners who can stop random people from wandering on set. Make friends with the neighboring businesses. And for the love of all our brothers and sisters in arms out there, don’t do anything that would risk getting someone shot for real. I’ve had SWAT teams called on me for practicing with swords in public, but I walked away from those. With guns they may well shoot on sight.

 

 

 

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