UPDATED, Saturday, 12:55 PM: The fundraising campaign which launched on July 30th to raise money for an app allowing those in the TV and Film industry to anonymously report unsafe working conditions and dangerously long work hours to their unions (via cell phone) has achieved more than its goal. After only 3 1/2 days on Indiegogo, Pledge to Sarah has raised $3,642 (and climbing); it had asked for $3,400. The fundraiser to build and host an app was put together to honor the memory of 27 year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones who was tragically killed on the set of the Randall Miller-directed Midnight Rider in February. Jones’ death has sparked an outcry for better on-set safety standards. Whatever is raised over the goal, will go to fund other safety initiatives. The organization hopes to bring the app to market via iTunes and Android stores as a free download by the end of August. For more information, read on.
PREVIOUSLY, Friday, 3:15 PM: Hollywood trade organizations and unions have yet to launch cohesive safety programs in the wake of the Sarah Jones tragedy. But one group of anonymous film and TV pros have moved quickly to launch a 21st century initiative in the name of on-set safety. The Pledge to Sarah organization this week launched a fundraising campaign to release a free safety app in honor of Jones, the camera assistant killed on the set of Midnight Rider in February. With the blessing of her family (which was confirmed by Deadline), they’re seeking $3,400 in funds to pay for development and hosting of the free app that will allow any industry worker to anonymously report unsafe working conditions or excessive work hours.
So who’s behind the grassroots org? The Pledge to Sarah group is comprised of 10 core working professionals in multiple departments of the industry from award-winning crew to PAs, many of whom belong to guilds and unions. The group has chosen to remain anonymous to keep the focus on their safety awareness efforts, which include ongoing initiatives to create and distribute safety awareness cards. Some knew the well-liked Jones personally; others were simply moved by her unnecessary death and are dedicated to spreading on-set safety awareness in the workplace, including previously established industry concerns over long and potentially unsafe work days that can lead to sleep deprivation-related accidents.
Organizers are hoping the lack of a guild- or union-specific affiliation encourages workers in all areas to speak up, department-agnostic: “The reason we’re doing this is that we don’t want there to be another Sarah Jones.”
Hotlines already exist for reporting on-set concerns, but “while these hotlines already exist they are sadly under utilized,” the group writes on their Indiegogo page. The Pledge to Sarah app aims to encourage production crew to report more frequently at the touch of a button, with anonymity guaranteed by caller ID blocking. Users will be able to submit timecards with personal info redacted for privacy so that unions and guilds can track long hours. The app is already in development and is expected to be released to iTunes and Android stores by the end of August.
“Those safety outlines are out there and they do work – you can report long hours to the guilds and unions and they keep track of and will look into that,” a Pledge to Sarah member requesting anonymity told Deadline. “People just don’t know it. Let’s at least put it at their fingertips.”
The Safety App will be available on iPhones, iPads, and all Android devices as a free download on the Mac App site, the Android App site, and the Pledge To Sarah website.