UPDATE: The Pledge to Sarah app, designed to boost safety on film and TV sets in memory of Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones, is now available in the Mac and Android app stores as well as on the Pledge to Sarah website. It was created and crowdfunded by a group of anonymous production crew following the February 20 train tragedy that killed Jones and injured several other crew members.
“The site Pledge to Sarah and the Set Safety App were created because we believe that no one should ever lose their life due to an incident on a film production,” organizers said. “Whether it is an on-set safety issue or an exhausted drive home at the end of a long day, we all need to speak up and be heard.”
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, OCT. 3: The free app created in honor of fallen Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones has debuted just months after a grassroots crowdfunding campaign came together to fund it. Organizers behind the Pledge To Sarah safety awareness website have released the “Set Safety” app for Android users, with an iOS version expected to hit the Apple platform this month.
The app, intended to promote safety on film and TV sets, gives users quick access to safety hotlines for reporting unsafe working conditions and excessive work hours. It includes access to Contract Services Administration Trust Fund (CSATF) safety bulletins that can be read at the touch of a finger for the direct and immediate viewing of specific safety guidelines. Users can also anonymously send in photographic evidence of safety and time card violations to the app, which will then forward submissions on to union and industry organizations who are tracking complaints.
Organizers created the app to proactively promote safety and safety awareness following the February 20 death of Jones, who was killed in a train accident on the Georgia set of Midnight Rider. Director Randall Miller, producers Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish, and 1st assistant director Hillary Schwartz are facing criminal charges of criminal trespass and involuntary manslaughter from the tragedy, which also left several other crew members injured.
The group behind the app is comprised of anonymous film and TV professionals from multiple departments of the industry from award-winning crew to PAs, many of whom belong to guilds and unions. They have chosen to remain anonymous to keep the focus on their safety awareness efforts, which include ongoing initiatives to create and distribute safety awareness cards. The group exceeded their $3,400 crowdfunding goal on Indiegogo within days of launching the campaign in August and plan on expanding the app’s offerings in future updates.
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,” one member who asked to remain anonymous told me in August. Hotlines already exist for reporting on-set concerns, but “while these hotlines already exist they are sadly under utilized,” the group wrote on their Indiegogo page.
The app can serve to keep more production crew informed as they are asked to perform duties that may or may not fall within industry safety standards. “I was on set at 12:30 at night and they were shooting off fireworks for a shot,” an organizer told me. “I had the beta version of the app on my phone and was able to go straight to the CSATF website.”
Related: ‘Midnight Rider’: 1st Assistant Director Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter
Available now for Android users, the app can be found as a free download on the Google Play store by searching “Pledge to Sarah” or “Setsafety”. The Safety App is awaiting Apple approval and is expected to be available on iPhones, iPads, and the Mac App site this month. Find more info on the Pledge to Sarah Facebook page.
Meanwhile, this weekend’s 5K walk-a-thon led by Jones’ parents and her brother Eric has raised over $31,000 of its $50,000 goal. Led by cast and crew members of The Vampire Diaries, on which Jones worked, and The Originals, the walk-a-thon will be held Sunday, October 5. A second walk-a-thon in Santa Monica, CA has been added and will take place simultaneous to the Atlanta event. Participants in both walks will be live Tweeting to raise money during the event via online donations. Proceeds will be used for programs for on set safety awareness initiatives, educational scholarships, and social media outreach via Slates for Sarah. More information can be found on the SafetyforSarah website, which was launched in August by the Jones’ family to bring attention to safety issues across the entertainment industry.