Death on a Movie Set: 5 Ways the 'Midnight Rider' Tragedy Changed Hollywood Safety

Sarah Jones - H 2014
Curtis Baker/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Camera operator Sarah Jones' tragic accident was a wake-up call that inspired safety apps and even encouraged film crews to call the first shot of each day "the Jonesy."

This story first appeared in the Nov. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

1. Prison Time: The Feb. 20, 2014, death of camera operator Sarah Jones, 27, in a train accident filming the Gregg Allman pic Midnight Rider led to Randall Miller becoming the first director sentenced to prison for an on-set death (he pled guilty and will serve two years).

2. Set Safety Apps: The International Cinematographers Guild has introduced the ICG Safety app with industry news and info about reducing risks on set. Pledge to Sarah, a filmmaker group, designed the similar app Set Safety with funding from Indiegogo.

3. Activism: Jones' parents still fundraise for set safety via the Sarah Jones Film Foundation, and the ICG and Local 479 guilds have partnered with Warner Bros. TV and The Vampire Diaries (on which Jones worked) on an internship for camera operators. 

4. Safety Hotline: IATSE, the guild that represents camera operators and other crewmembers, has set up a hotline (1-844-IA-AWARE) for members to flag safety problems on dangerous film or television sets. 

5. "The Jonesy": Production crews worldwide have dubbed the first shot of each day "the Jonesy." Crews share in a social media movement called "Slates for Sarah" by posting pictures of production clapboards with labels commemorating Jones.