‘Midnight Rider’ Accident Still Evoking Safety Concerns

Sarah Jones Midnight Rider Death

The Feb. 20 accident that killed second camera assistant Sarah Jones on the “Midnight Rider” set continues to impact producing four months later.

“After that incident, I can’t tell you how many crew people called me,” said Ellen Schwartz of Black Label Media on Saturday at the “How Many Wrongs Make It Right” panel, part of the Produced By conference held at the Warner Bros. lot.

Schwartz, who produced the upcoming “The Good Lie,” urged the 100 attendees at the panel — which focused on safety and the role of insurers — to let crews know that they can speak up about safety concerns without fear of retribution. “The biggest fear among crew people is getting fired,” she added.

Producer Deborah Moore agreed that it’s crucial for directors to know that the crew has been told to speak up about safety concerns. She also said that accidents tend to happen in unexpected areas rather than in obvious endeavors such as stunts.

“You have to be over-diligent,” Moore added.

Schwartz also noted that there’s a lower quality among crews in incentive-heavy states such as Georgia because of their lack of experience. “That’s my biggest problem with chasing incentives,” she added. “In Atlanta, this is all new to them. They have no passion and they think they know it all.”

Jones was struck and killed by a passing train during a shoot in Wayne County, Ga., and seven others were injured. Multiple government investigations are under way.

Jones’ family filed a lawsuit last month against the film’s director, producers, Gregg Allman, distributor Open Road Films and the companies that own the railroad tracks and surrounding land.

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  1. Michael Haverty says:

    To the person, who is using my name to write post, in my name please STOP!! I wrote one post. This was brought to my attention on a post I made on Facebook Film Atlanta. STOP!!!!!!!

  2. mlabert says:

    Why is it so difficult for the people talking down to the majority of the commenters to write in proper, complete sentences? And the people from Georgia are the ignorant ones…

  3. Ezra Love says:

    I have read, all these post and they sound as though you are all Wallmart shoppers. “While spouting buy American”
    The only ones that do make any kind of sanity. Is the one that was trying to tell you what hillbilys your more than Likely are. The best that anything any of you have done. Would be an extra, or strait to utube.
    If anyone of you of you would stand back for a minute, Mybe you could in fact see that. Do any of you Know Ellen Schwartz? Have you read the article” it looks as though she was trying to stress the importance of safety at a conference, for and at Warner-Bros. and from what I have heard about no passion nor experience. She is right, not all but most of the people that do work below the line jobs in Georgia
    And the most ridicules part of these post is that your all putting down the industry that you trying to work for

  4. Greg says:

    Whatever this crazy troll thinks, I don’t think we have to worry about it here in Georgia. This state and it’s cities have enough going for it. The thing that is the most frightening/repellent about those posts are

    Also don’t be fooled by the typos and grammatical errors. I sense they are a screen. Probably to divert attention from the true author – maybe Ellen Schwartz herself or someone defending her. Someone entirely to vested in defending this world view that Schwartz seems to be the biggest proponent of.

  5. jimarri says:

    So Ellen Schwartz, are you implying that Sarah Jones “had no passion?” Or would you instead entertain the possibility that the production (from California) intentionally misrepresented the safety of the location?

  6. mlabert says:

    So out of curiosity, I googled “Sir Michael Haverty”. The only things that came up were your Twitter and Facebook pages. Not a single things that at all mentions you being involved in the film or television industry in any way, shape or form. There were a few links to a puppeteer and playwright by the name Michael Haverty. Funny thing is that he lives in Atlanta.

  7. Sir Michael Haverty says:

    “Well this has been in fact a lesson”
    ( Ellen Schwartz)
    And her comment, that being crews from Georgia have no passion and are inexpirenced.
    And in fact started a slew of some of the most hateful remarkes including calling her a slut…wow!!
    So a friend of hers that we know in common. Had told me about these post.
    I said no way these people can’t be that stupid and or mean. No way, ill get on and see. Her response was
    Don’t bother, there vicious and backwards and they think there always right. They don’t even realize that who there bad mouthing. That give them jobs (Hollywood Los Angels Califorina) well of course i got on and right now I’m pretty aghast. This has been a life lesson, my word you are some very hateful people. I really feel bad, no I really mean that. No one should have that much hate wow..
    I do wish all of you the best in your life. And your life’s journey, But always remember this, love and be good to one another. Kiss slowly forgive fast and love with all your might. Because we don’t have tomorrow but we have today. I do wish you all the best of this world…

    • mlabert says:

      So, was it love that you were showing us when you made disgustingly incorrect assumptions about my life or when you called my friend “backwoods trailer trash”? Wow, my view of love must really be skewed. Thank you for clearing that up for us. Look back on your comments, “Sir”, as they are some of the worst ones listed.

  8. LAFILMMAKER says:

    It is so painful to see everyone giving this idiot attention. He is clearly not who he claims to be and clearly not worth anyone’s time. He’s a lonely pitiful human being who gets a cheap thrill from getting a rise out of people. If he is in LA, he’s probably sitting at a Starbucks on the free wifi waiting for either his wannabe agent in the valley to call with his big break or the manager of the local Bed, Bath and Beyond calling him in for an interview after receiving his third job application. Unfortunately, losers like this are a dime a dozen in LA, because this is where everyone comes to “make it”, most waiters, fast food employees and others are all “actors” with attitudes. They think by being here, they are automatically in the business. This guy is bitter at everyone who is actually doing stuff with their lives while he sits back and pretends to be someone he is not while hiding behind a keyboard. Please try and ignore him so he will go away.

  9. mlabert says:

    Now I am really going to lose it. Who the fuck are you to criticize me or how I was raised or how I am raising my child?! If you must know, my parents have been happily married for 50 years. As for me and raising my son, you can go to hell, you heartless son of a bitch. And if you think any of us believe that you make 7 plus figures a year, you are seriously delusional. I didn’t complain about wealthy people. You don’t know me and you don’t deserve to. As far as writing or producing a script on Sarah’s life, you sure as hell don’t deserve to do that or to learn anymore about her than you already do. Bravo for your comment, AC. I hope that I get a chance to help you guys with it.

  10. Sir Michael Haverty says:

    Let me tell you one of the reasons I make a 7 plus figure a year. Is that I can tell you with inn the first page of a film script. Wether or not to give it the green light. Take you for instance you come from a home that either was broken or your parents fought all the time. Or your mother raised you. You are more than likely raising a child by yourself.
    You complain about people like me who are wealthy. And can’t see there worth, that’s why your broke by the way. But this really is not the point of any of this anyway is it.
    Again show me don’t tell me.

  11. mlabert says:

    Seeing as I am not an actress, I would not be either as “first team” refers to the principles and “second team” refers to their stand-ins. But being the all knowing film power that you are then you already knew that.

  12. Sir Michael Haverty says:

    Mia Bert
    Really the bulk of what? Yes the below the line jobs are in Georgia. Tax incentives. Look you have a film degree..and? Again you fail to grasp..this Is why Georgia has filming jobs is because of people of LA. The same people. They we I employ people like you. But only because of tax credits. The bulk? You have a film degree and you use the word bulk! Anyway if you were on set would you be first team, or second team?

  13. mlabert says:

    Yet again I amazed by your inability to grasp the rules of grammar in the English language. I actually have a film degree. Your ability to rattle off a bunch of production company names does not mean a thing. My seven year old could do that. I am not trying to say that the deals or distribution are not done in LA. I am talking about the hard work- the actual shooting of the project. That is what is done here. That is what Sarah was doing on the day in question. We do not sit in air conditioned offices and talk about the project. It was not any member of the GA crew that failed to secure the proper permits and follow the safety guidelines that were required- that falls in the hands of the LA producers and director. I am not sitting in front of a Xbox, you ignorant insulting fool. Stop making assumptions. I could give you the list of projects that I have worked on but do not feel it is necessary. Again, the more you talk the less credible you appear. Learn how to spell and construct basic sentences before you keep yammering on.

  14. Sir Michael Haverty says:

    Mia Bert,
    I did not start this topic, all of you did I’m only responding. To how is all LA. People’s fault and how people in Georgia. Are the best on and on and on. Only the deals are made in LA oh ok and how would you not know this. All are made in LA. Let me give you some of the names now these are only some not all.
    CBS,NBC,ABC, Show time HBO, Netflix, Universal Studios, Warner Bro’s Studios Sony picture’s, Paramont Studios, Disney Studios, MGM, Screen Gems, produtions company’s plan B, smoke house, those are only a few. And so what film has Georgia film company produced and and distribution around the world? You see this is how I know you in front of your Xbox. Please don’t be foolish. Again if you were in the film busines. You would know who you) your employer is..Hollywood California.
    Now go back to your Xbox.

  15. mlabert says:

    Maybe if you actually knew something about Sarah then her friends and family would be more willing to work with you on this.

  16. mlabert says:

    The more you talk, the less credible you sound. I love how you are the only person that keeps shooting down Georgia. Yes, productions may be negotiated in LA but the bulk of the work on these projects is done here. I would love to see some of the things that you have actually worked on, on the set or in the studio, not just casually spoken about as we are all suspecting at this point.

  17. Sir Michael Haverty says:

    Bantering my word,
    I have done this since high school speaking of… No I won’t even go there uh to film south or film southern, Hunger Games is a Hollywood Califorina prodution. so Mybe all the California Hollywood should stay away from Georgia? Trust me that’s what there working on as we speak. And then Georgia will be left doing what?
    Bad rap videos..you whom ever you are. Are in fact a good laugh.

  18. Southernfilm says:

    Please stay in California, mh and don’t travel outside that state bc I def don’t want to work with you on set…. Don’t worry about us in five years we will be just fine, I don’t want u bringing my state down. I’m on hunger games by the way… What show are you on? Bc any real professional and respected professional in our industry would not have his assistant typing on variety.com nor would he be so persistent in throwing disgusting comments around losing major respect for himself and his state. I suggest u get off of here and shut up. Gun laws have nothing to do with this artical.

  19. Michael Haverty says:

    Alright people,
    I’m going to play my hand here

    • Sir Michael Haverty says:

      Alright people,
      I’m going to play my hand here I do financing for films. And what I was and am looking for is this. A well written, conceived, compelling script on the life of Sarah Jones. So without all this bantering back and forth. That’s what you should be thinking of. Or doing as we speak I have allredy received two script treatments. That’s how Hollywood thinks. So if any of you, or know of someone let me know this will be the mark of a true person with passion, you can go on my Facebook and message me privately. And I will send you more about myself and our produtions.

      • acsmallwood says:


        OMG! You want to write a script about Sarah Jones? Well why didn’t you say so?!? Guess who you’ll need to talk to in order to do that? Her family. & guess who helps her family with these inquiries? Sarah’s friends in the ATLANTA film community. & guess who that includes? ME! you stupid stupid fool. (Actually, we’ve already had several people reach out to us, so you’re a little late to the bandwagon).

        But, if you want to send me your script I’d be happy to throw it in the trash for you.

        How about you get off here now? You’re only embarrassing yourself the longer you continue to post arrogant, ignorant & tasteless garage riddled with spelling errors & incorrect grammer. Seriously. you really think anyone who knew & loved Sarah would want YOU (who has no knowledge of or respect for the community she was a part of) to be the one to make this film? We’re good, thanks. We have plenty of talented, successful individuals already on our team – some of them are even from Hollywood! Can you believe that? Us backwoods bottom feeders actually have real life Hollywood connections. How exciting for our poor, sad, passionless selves. speaking of passion: have you seen Slates for Sarah? You know where/how that movement started? THE ATLANTA FILM COMMUNITY.

        Once again, no one here needs you & your “insider” connections.
        cheers. xx.

  20. Michael Haverty says:

    T-A-X Incentives. That’s the only reason there are runaway Hollywood produtions. And if the new Tax incentive measure dose pass the California senate. Next week then it will far out preform any other state.
    And with in 5 years, states like Georgia will have trickled down to a drop. Here’s the thing I can tell that none of you have ever seen a big Hollywood movie prodution besides being an extra. And as far as film south has commented on. Utube dose not count. And please..remember that the only reason that Georgia has an film industry is because of (Hollywood Califorina).. So as far as you being prod of your state??
    What dose that have to do with the filming industry. This shows your nativity. About the entertainment busines. And if you are really in the know or are really concerned about on set safety you should know of this. As of July 15 2014 the cost of insurance Bonding for Georgia. Will go up dramatically because of your new gun laws that went into effect. That being Abel to carry a conceal weapon into Church’s Schools and bars…? This will along with a SFO officer mandatory on set. Will take a huge bite out of the Tax incentives
    But with these new measures in effect. Georgia will be a safer place hopefully to film? But with the extra cost of these. The cost of filming there will go up. And for that the workers in Hollywood dose thank you.
    (Film Hollywood)

  21. mlabert says:

    S-A-R-A-H! Why is that so difficult to get right?! Also, she was NEVER referred to as “sticks” so whomever told you that was blowing smoke up your backside and trying to sound knowledgeable, much like you are.
    And why do you assume that everyone who works in Georgia are bottom-feeders that moved there because they couldn’t make it in LA? Personally, I moved here in 1985 with my family. I grew up here, went to school here and work here. Quite frankly, I am extremely proud to call myself a Georgian. Many people that I know in the industry here have lived here for a long time. Yes, there are people that have moved here from LA due to the increased work from the tax incentive but also because this is a “right to work” state. Also, how do you figure that movies such as “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” & “Mockingjay” and series like “The Walking Dead” are the jobs that no one else wants?
    On another note, I know and have worked with one of the previous commenters that “Sir” Michael instructed to “go back to your trailer” and he couldn’t be more incorrect about her. Sorry that you view all people from Georgia as backwoods, trailer trash. Just like being from Great Britain does not automatically make you a knight.

  22. Sir Michael Haverty says:

    First Sarha Jones is fron SC. Not Georgia, second the crew from LA. As you say we’re working in Georgia,
    And for insurance reasons, there workman’s comp. Was through the state of Georgia. They meaning the LA, crew as you put it and everyone was in fact working in Georgia. So when you say LA, where in LA. The border is 120 miles of county and encompass several Townes. Film people from Atlanta say how far Savannah is from Atlanta so there not the same..? Listen here is the bottom line. Reference the word (passion) here for a moment for those of you who are not in Hollywood. The word in Hollywood means someone who came to Hollywood and knocked on closed doors and spent years the busines and finally succeed. And that’s only if you have Amazing (Talent) in front of or behind the camera. Those people have PASSION!! But the people who either give up or aren’t talented enough, go to a tax incentives states like Georgia. Where they pick the low fruit on the tree. Below the line jobs such as Georgia there known as bottom feeders. Beacause they can’t make in Hollywood. You may not like to here this, but if you did have passion and talent you would be in Hollywood trying to make it . Not Georgia picking the low lying fruit. And that’s a fact. Live it learn it love it.

    • Film southern says:

      Do u work in the film industry? If not you have no opinion here. And if you do shame on you and stay out of my state bc I don’t want you on my crew. Your attitude is exactly what’s wrong in the industry. There are many roots here and you don’t have to be in la to “make” it. We are not the bottom totem pole workers here films have been shot for years it’s just with all the money spent and everyone in the world wanting spot light you hear of other states with films. We don’t want the celeb status Hollywood bleeds for we do it for creativity, gasp even passion, not for the celebrity but for the artistic expression and yes it’s a great living money wise as well. Half of the people who go to la DONT make it, they get lost in a world of greed, expenses, and dog eat dog world of Hollywood. Sarah was from sc but lived here, she was part of our film family and the way you talk its disgraceful to her memory, dedication, and her passion.

  23. GAFILM@67 says:

    this is bull, I’m a production film crew member in GA, and if anyone has passion and concern it’s the crew here made up of 80% crew from LA, and guess what 90% of all crew in LA are from other states. LA producers only care about $$$$ there is no Passion, no care for crew out of most of them. This lady has a major ego problem. Don’t throw it in our face because an LA producer/production came out here doing a crappy unprofessional, and illegal job that got one of OUR crew members killed. WE have to follow your rules generally on a show, half of what happens on set is bc the Producers have hissy fits and the directors demand it be done, so get off your high horse.

  24. THINK Then Speak says:

    So… an L.A. based director goes to Georgia and insists on shooting on a railroad track that he didn’t not have permission to be on. Sarah Jones loses her life in the process, and Ms. Schwartz lays the blame at the Georgia based crew. It must be nice to live in her delusional world.

    I think FilmTVRisk said it best, “The Midnight Rider tragedy was not caused by where the film was shooting. It was caused by production not recognizing (or ignoring) the danger and not following industry practice for filming on railroad property.”

    Nice try Ms. Schwartz, but you’ve only proved your an idiot.

  25. FilmTVRisk says:

    As a production safety and risk management consultant for more than 20 years, my experience has been that crew members of any level of experience can remain safe with proper leadership and with objective guidance.

    Having a safety consultant provides an expert who is outside the chain of command. The consultant identifies the risk, recommends the precautions to control that risk and who can ‘be the bad guy’ when a safety issues needs to be addressed without asking a crew member to feel that they are risking future work.

    No responsible producer, director or department head retaliates against anyone who raises a safety issue. A good safety consultant knows how to keep the crew safe while allowing production to flow smoothly.

    The Midnight Rider tragedy was not caused by where the film was shooting. It was caused by production not recognizing (or ignoring) the danger and not following industry practice for filming on railroad property. Following the most basic risk assessment and recommendations from a consultant would have prevented this accident.

  26. Jon Johnson says:

    The shamefulness of this article comes from Variety’s piousness to propagate the swill written/spoken ingenuously by its writer, and the supposed superiority of producers.
    The crews from ANY location, state or country, are only and always as good as their experience can allow them to be, some great, some good, some horrible. When productions go looking for the cheapest, not least expensive and best, but cheapest means of creating a good or great production it reflects in the hiring allowances.
    PA’s, interns, and new members of departments follow their leadership. Experienced department crews usually know what and how to do their jobs. Most if not all real working crews work tirelessly under Production office threat daily throughout every production. These crews strive very hard for safe and non hostile work conditions, but are thwarted by production routinely.
    Variety has, by allowing this article to give such disingenuous words, offered to perpetuate the facade of production, at the line and above the line, thinking to blame the crew for the mistakes of productions horrible decisions.
    Yes, crews live in fear of being fired and being blacklisted by producers. They do live with this reality because it is so persistently a part of the film, TV, and stage industry.
    Yes, crews live in fear that some decision they agree with will lead to injury. Many times crew members take it on themselves to try to prevent disaster at risk of losing their jobs due to irrational decisions by production. Yes, crews hope every time that these crap decisions don’t lead to either their getting fired or some horrible disaster.
    When the AD’s, producers(all levels), and even some director’s, don’t value life and honesty, and actively interfere with skilled and experienced department heads and crews from doing their job, horrible tragedies occur.
    Sarah Jones was an example that should never have happened, and it did because of above the line, inconsiderate, hostile and disrespect lack of value for the safety and sanctity of a human life. The crew and actors involved suspected there was risk, but they also expected the above the line managers to have managed it better; unfortunately they didn’t. That is not the crews fault and no amount of rhetorical rebuttal can change the facts.
    This is simply negligence that is a pervasive line of thinking wherever producers are found, and the callousness spoken by the entire production management line of staff often tells how poorly they know what THEY, the producers, are doing.
    Don’t blame crews because you as a producer are only out for a quick extra dollar at someone-else’s expense, or life.
    Variety needs to do a better job of vetting their stories, or at least provide some sense of responsibility in what they produce. This story is another example of how producers don’t really get it.

  27. Benjamin Gravitt says:

    Seriously, Variety? Giving press to someone blaming this accident on the fact that it was in Georgia? I know you bang on the Hollywood drum, but this is shameful!

    To say that we who work on film in Atlanta have no experience or passion is simply idiotic. To blame the death of a crew member on our lack of passion is insulting.

    This tragedy would have happened anywhere the film was produced because the above the line producers and his team were negligent and caused the death of our friend and co worker. That team is trying to spin the story to cover their assets and you are playing into it.

  28. tonycopemyriad says:

    Moore : single most stupid comment on the internet this week! What a bizarre, pompous and ignorant association. Or is she simply using tragedy to promote LA production…?

  29. Courtney says:

    Schwartz is a producer at Black Label Media. isn’t that the same production company that Molly Smith is a principal producer? Smith was the executive producer on The Blind Side that was filmed in Georgia, won an oscar, 7 awards, and 23 nominations. oh yeah, it net around $210 million (give or take.)

    Schwartz’s negative comments about Georgia crew include SARAH JONES. it turns my stomach seeing Schwartz’s posts of Sarah on her social media galleries. if you don’t respect Georgia crew, PLEASE stop using Sarah as your photo-op. tasteless act of selfish promotion IMO.

  30. Joey says:

    I’m not sure that any level of experience or passion makes a person capable of dodging a train. This article is a joke.

  31. paul mason says:

    This tragedy is the due to the greed and arrogance of producers; it has nothing to do with the experience level or professionalism of the very seasoned Atlanta film industry.

  32. Jerry Pece says:

    Ellen Schwartz it is so embarrassing that you would use this tragedy as a sounding board for your own agenda concerning incentives.
    Interesting Bedfellows….Randall Miller,Jody Savin,Jay Sedrish,Nick Gant,Michael Lehman, Andre Danylevich and ELLEN SCHWARTZ. Welcome to their club. Your lack of regard and arrogance has earned you an Honorary Membership. You can consider yourself famous now…because I promise you that a multitude of people in the film industry will remember your name and comments.

  33. The blame here lies with the very experienced film’s director & producers. Did they “have no passion and they think they know it all.” Probably.

    Thanks, Ms. Schwartz, but you have no idea what is happening out here in the new film markets.

    Variety, why would you support comments like this? It makes it seem like you are aiding in promoting the misconceptions about this tragedy.

  34. Loet Farkas says:

    Why support this woman’s ignorance with a reaction. You can’t fix stupid! That also goes for the writer and editor that allowed this statement to go to print.

  35. Sherry says:

    There are very serious charges coming out of this tragedy. When that happens we will see who is responsible. None are from Georgia. The crew was lied to after asking appropriate questions and being assured that all procedures were being followed.

    It is a shame that these people have turned this into an L.A. vs. Ga. issue. Seems like they are using the tragic death of Sarah Jones to advocate for their wishes, which makes me want to puke.

  36. CA Filmmaker says:

    What an absolutely amateur and senseless thing to say, particularly in a public forum. This woman is living with her head in the clouds of a posh executive office somewhere. How can she blame an entire region for the careless acts a few amateurs? Sarah Jones is a victim of a very small group of reckless idiots. It is not the union’s fault, it is not all of “Atlanta” or the Georgia film industry’s fault. This is the result of a few amateur filmmakers starting with Nick Gant and Meddin Studios in Savannah (no where near Atlanta) who is literally weeks away from having all of their assets sold through the bankruptcy courts and these other morons who were stupid enough to stand by while this all happened. How did this become about incentives and location? Georgia has top-shelf crews, some of the best in the country and, is one of the VERY few places who is actually doing it right and attracting massive investments in the industry!!!

    • Let me be first here i hope. To have a level head for a moment. First what we all forget here is that a young woman lost her life..and it’s really heartbreaking, having said that i do and have in part or full have benn directly involved with with several film projects. And deal and meet with top Hollywood producers and studio heads almost on a daily basics. Either directly or through my investment advisers. And I have heard on several occasion. Complains of being incompetent in both States Georgia and California. And no the entire film crew was not from Calif. they infact hired 20% local to qualify for Tax incentives. But having said that this will all be mute in a couple of years anyway California has just passed a sweeping Tax incentive program that will meet and surpass any tax incentives program other states has in place. So this will bring back most if not all the runway produtions. As a very Hollywood insider Hollywood will be reinventing itself anyway, think the Galmor and Romance of the Golden age. But having said that Georgia should not bite the hand that feeds them, by talking bad about LA. Because Hollwood is LA. And trust me they do and have been listening. Let Safety prevail on all film sets around the globe. And let’s make wonderful meaningfull Films. And let’s try to understand that we all care about What happend to Sarha (Sticks)Jones
      lets all keep her in our heart..
      Sir Michael Haverty

      • CA Filmmaker says:

        “Sir Michael” first of all, thanks for being the first to have a level head, we don’t know what we would do without you. I would normally not respond to such an idiotic comment, but yours is especially impossible to ignore. As an “insider” you must know that California’s new program does not come close to what Georgia offers, even in its optimal state. Not to mention the fact that living costs, travel, hotel and crew are significantly less, securing permits, insurance and other logistical issues are far more efficient in Georgia than California. I am an LA based film professional who has worked in both states, California missed the mark, again. There are only two types of people in the business, those who are in the business and those who talk about being in the business. Neither your poor grammar and spelling, nor your boastful self-proclamations make you an “insider”, in fact, it makes you appear to be full of crap. I agree with acsmallwood’s previous comment, If I were you I would consider adult supervision before posting.

      • acsmallwood says:

        First of all, to explain that you have “been directly involved with several film projects” makes me feel like you do not actually work in the film industry? Thus, it also leads me to believe you might actually not know what you are talking about (the lack of proper grammar & spelling also contributes to this judgement).
        Lastly, please at least make sure to spell Sarah’s name correctly and why are you referring to her with a nick name “(Sticks)” that isn’t even remotely a truth? are you trying (again) to prove yourself as a knowledgeable individual with obscure attempts at context clues?

  37. mlabert says:

    I am disgusted that Georgia crews keep getting blamed for Sarah’s accident. It was not Georgia crews that failed to obtain the proper permits or make sure the safety concerns had been attended to- that was the big “Hollywood” producers responsibility. And to say that all of us Georgia hayseeds are inexperienced is so incredibly ignorant. Are you aware of all of the productions that have taken place here since 2008, when the state first initiated the tax incentive? We are hardly inexperienced. Lots of folks have relocated to the area after having worked in LA for years- do you lump them together with the “experienced GA crews”? How about the people that come into town from Wilmington and that area to work on projects? To quote Stu Redman from “The Stand”, “country don’t mean stupid”. (Not that I am saying that GA or Atlanta is to be considered “country” but I am sure there are many folks that would think of it that way.) Quit blaming this on the crews and start looking at where the blame really lies.

    • Sir Michael Haverty says:

      First thank you for the corrections. Duly noted, I have been involved with financing to include films for several years. And yes as an insider yes, meaning I meet with studios on a regular basis. As far as the name ( Sticks ) it is a reference term for the clapper, marker. You do know what a marker is being 20 in the business. And Sarah was known as Sarah sticks Jones. All these comments and post are from the Georgia film community. And what there worth is, and they are as good if not better that anything from Hollywood? I will leave you with this. In a well written script. There is a saying show me don’t tell me.

      • acsmallwood says:

        You have “worked with studios”, but you do not actually work in the industry / are not on set / do not know everyday set going ons.

        Also, Sarah was NOT known as Sarah “sticks” Jones- I have no idea where you got this from (?!?). I was close friends with & worked with Sarah & it is ridiculous that you are trying to relate to her by using a made up nickname to try to show your “insider”ness.

        You continue to prove yourself as nothing more than a wannabe Hollywood type – trying to jump on the “Hollywood is better” bandwagon.

  38. Casey Moore says:

    You get the crew you pay for, and you can get great crews anywhere you go. Trying to shift the blame for this accident with false and misleading statements will not make things better.

    • Sir Michael Haverty says:

      Ok I’ll stand on the soap box one More time. Sarah’s nickname may have not been Sticks I may have been misinformed. But speaking of nicknames I see that you, whom ever you might really be. I do of course use my real name I’m not hiding behind some online name. But having said that, and as far as a Hollywood wannabe haha. Ok really love I think by your underlying hostel feelings here I think that you may want to vent these feelings on something a little more positive. And as far as Hollywood.. I’m sorry tell me another place that make film deals. I must be at the wrong place. Look love I’m very sorry that your flustering about. Your having a hard time in the busines.? We all have it took me a very long time to get where I’m at. And that’s even coming from what some say Hollywood Royalty. But I do hope that I have as far as a financial place. I do hope that I have made a difference. In changing people’s lives through film, and I do know that my time here on Earth. That the people who scream the loudest always have less to give.
      I have been financing films for over 10 years. I don’t pretend to be something that I’m not. I’m sorry that your upset what happened to Sarha. It is so sad, no I did not know her. But nonetheless it breaks my heart that this happened to this young woman. You see that sign on Hollywood Blvd for Sarah Jones I put that there. And as far as my spelling corrections on my last post. That was my new personal assistant.
      Her boyfriend left her with a two month old baby girl. But not before he took all there cash from there bank account. And so she needs a job and someone to pay for a sitter. So I gave her a job, so a wannabe? Yes I guess that I am I wannabe nice to people, even people like you. Good luck in your life and no matter what you do never give up.. Peace

      • acsmallwood says:


        This is my real name. Why does that even matter? Half of the things you say don’t make any sense. Maybe it’s your assistant though, who knows.

        Yes, someone died. Someone who I was friends with, who was a truly wonderful person & whom deserved to be better taken care of in a professional capacity. That is the conversation here. That is what we are discussing & you are over there ranting about how great Hollywood is & how Georgia shouldn’t “bite the hand that feeds it” when you don’t actually work on a set or know anything about the Georgia film industry.

        You are the one who started out bashing GA film & making reference to being a Hollywood “insider” etc – then trying to act like you actually know anything about Sarah? I simply called you out on your falseness. I don’t bode well with people claiming personal opinion as fact.

  39. Brandon says:

    Interview people who are educated on the subject. First give her a map to show her Atlanta in relation to Savannah. Second get her a jurisdiction map as well. The “Georgia” IATSE (479) does not have jurisdiction in Savannah. I don’t agree with blaming a region for this but if she is going to call Atlanta out maybe she can explain for what? Cause it is clear she has no clue what she is talking about for the Georgia area. She comes off as someone with no knowledge on the subject matter of this article. The truth is this practice of creating short cuts is an industry wide problem. But the fact she says Atlanta let’s the reader know she has no clue what she is talking about with regards to the area and probably did the interview to plug her upcoming show which is mentioned in the article too.

    • Sir Michael Haverty says:

      I did ask someone who did work with Sarha, and they did call her (Sticks) so having said that. Go back to your trailer in the backwoods of Georgia. Go catch up on Jerry Springer shows. What a joke..
      Good by!!

  40. Jack says:

    I am completely aghast at the statements and blame in this article. I will again say that the jealousy, bigotry, and intolerance of these ignorant people is a grasping-at-straws attempt to place GA, and its people, in a bad light.

    I’m a Californian, that’s right…and I have had too-many-to-count inexperienced crews IN CA who have taken advantage of people and situations for the sake of being the damned arrogant filmmakers, producers and directors to get their own way.

    Funny how all the comments here are in opposition to the article.

    Why in gods green earth would you make false statements like this?? – I’m sorry, I forgot that green jealousy can lead people to say do anything to advance their own agenda. Sad and a bunch of BS.

  41. Ric Reitz says:

    Using the logic of Ms. Schwartz:

    LA has not had a hockey franchise for as long as NYC, let alone most of North America. Therefore, the Kings lack the experience and passion to beat the Rangers and win the Stanley Cup, even though the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012. This city without snow thinks it knows it all. Therefore, it is unsafe to play hockey in LA.

    Please allow me to debate her on a panel in an open forum anywhere in the world!

    • Ric Reitz says:

      Well, the Kings won the Stanley Cup again. Congratulations to my LA friends. (See my earlier comic simile.) I guess a city without a deep history in hockey can compete with other cities rich in hockey history. It doesn’t mean that Canada (home to the Hockey Hall of Fame), Nordic countries, or areas where snow and ice are more common, are any less great. It just means that skill and passion may be found anywhere. Ergo…

  42. Judith More says:

    I moved to Savannah from London 3 years and found the best crews I’ve worked with. Passionate, skilled, experienced and still chasing the best job they can do instead of chasing the overtime. The people who caused this accident came from LA and LA can take the blame for them.

    • Amy S says:

      This is an industry wide issue which has been going on for years. It is not limited to above the line – it happens below the line too. We’ve all seen it – some of us have the scars to prove it. Whether it is a producer/director going after a camera shot or a stagehand not strapping down a load of decking before loading it on a truck. Film crews and stage hands are killed or maimed across the board because people are willing to take short cuts with safety to get the job done under deadline and under budget. It is completely ignorant for anyone to believe this is just an LA issue. This is and remains an industry wide issue. How many more people have to be hurt or killed? Sarah was not the first and sadly, it does not appear she will be the last. The big names and unions in the industry must step up and unite against those trying to ignore or stop the needed reforms. I love this industry – but I don’t want to die for it.

  43. Bob Johnson says:

    The fact the no one has been charged yet in this needless death is unfathomable to me.

  44. Marci Liroff says:

    So wait, now they’re blaming the local CREW for this tragedy?!! They were told this was a camera test and did what they were supposed to do. Support the shoot. They had faith in the “higher ups” that safety precautions had been considered. Some even voiced concern (Bill Hurt and others) but went ahead with the shoot anyway as professionals. This way of thinking CANNOT be perpetuated and must be addressed. I call BULLSHIT! This has NOTHING to do with shooting in a tax incentive friendly state. Nothing.

  45. Greg Gutierrez says:

    What an ignorant statement!

    “Schwartz also noted that there’s a lower quality among crews in incentive-heavy states such as Georgia because of their lack of experience.”

  46. Steven Huerstel says:

    Your comments about people in the incentive heavy stated not knowing what their doing couldnt be more off base. In fact on many sets I’ve worked on outside L.A. Its the L.A. Crew members who aren’t as in formed. We’ve been making movies here in La. For many years and our crews are well informed. Sometimes better at their jobs than your Ca. Counterparts. And to imply that we son’t have the “Passion” that you L.A. People might have is idiotic on your part. I have a feeling you haven’t been to these “incentive” heavy places to see this gor yourself so your just guessing. And its my understeanding that it was the L.A. 1st AD and L.A. Producers that caused the situation that killed Sarah Jones. You owe a huge apology to her parents. And keep up the good work;) Steven Huerstel

  47. Ellen Schwartz is an ignorant asshole that shouldn’t be producing. Producers killed Sarah not locals. ATL had nothing to do with that accident and the workers there are as experienced as anywhere.

  48. Katia de Pena says:

    Wrong. My greatest fear is not getting fired. My greatest fear is that I or another of my crew will be seriously injured or killed.

  49. Marc S Fischer says:

    I have Produced 4 major studio films in Atlanta and love shooting there. Their crews are great and first rate. Being an incentive state had nothing to do with the accident. I am actually bringing another film to Atlanta this summer and look forward to the experience.

    Marc S. Fischer

  50. moebius22 says:

    Were all the above the line “Midnight Rider” crew based in LA or Georgia?

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