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Film students at College of the Desert push to make production sets safer after Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ shooting

Students in the film program at College of the Desert are gearing up to produce their final video projects of the semester right now, with a new push to make film sets safer.

"What people don't realize is that people get hurt all the time on film sets because of lack of safety protocols," said adjunct professor Stephanie Bell.

Bell brought in a panel of production safety experts to speak with students and continue the conversation after a gun Alec Baldwin was holding on the set of "Rust" in New Mexico somehow fired a real bullet, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and rattling the industry.

"We’re taking this opportunity to further that and make sure that we’re doing the best that we can," adjunct professor Kevin Lyons said.

COD film program students had a lively discussion about all the opportunities on set for things to go wrong with industry experts that included stunt men and women, a Covid compliance officer, and an armorer weapons specialist.

"Really everybody's responsible on a set to be safe," Bell said. "It's very easy to have small accidents happen and they turn into big things."

Bell said the increased scrutiny on safety comes at a time when the Coachella Valley as a production location is growing on the map, with new demand building for local crew members.

"They're always coming out here from L.A., from all over the world and the country looking to film out here," she said.

Student James Snow said the "Rust" shooting has been an industry wakeup call, and a tragedy he said that never should have happened.

"Mitigating risk is very important," Snow said. "Even if it's someone that’s holding the weapon in their hand, they still should look. I get that there's people there that are in charge of that; the actor shouldn't have to worry about that – but still, I think it could have been prevented."

Alec Baldwin told ABC News late last week he never pulled the gun's trigger. The criminal investigation remains ongoing.

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.


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