Deborah Hershman, the wife of camera assistant Brent Hershman whose 1997 death prompted the first push about the dangers of drowsy driving in the industry, actor/director Anson Williams, Army Wives actress Wendy Davis and Midnight Rider crew member Joyce Gilliard will be speaking Tuesday, Feb. 20 in a panel discussion called “Let’s Talk Safety.” The talk, which will take place from 7 PM to 9 PM at the Harmony Gold Theater on Sunset Blvd., was organized by Midnight Rider hairstylist Gilliard via her newly launched iSafe! organization.
Gilliard was seriously injured when her arm was almost torn off as a result of a director who put his crew on a live train track to shoot a scene in the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider. Her friend, 27 year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones was instantly killed when a train barreled through the “set.”
The panel discussion is taking place on the four-year mark of Jones’ death to address “the 3Cs of the industry: Culture. Concerns. Change.” The event is free to those in the industry. “Change begins with conversation,” said Gilliard. “We are all family when we work on these productions for 14+ hours a day. We all know each other and we all want each other to be able to get home safely.” The motto of the organization is Work. Be Safe. Go Home.
Hershman died when he fell asleep at the wheel and slammed his car into a utility pole after working a 19-hour day – which had been preceded by four 15-hour days. Years ago, Williams himself fell asleep at the wheel and ran off the road after working a long day. Luckily, he was unhurt but it prompted him to develop a product to keep people from falling asleep while driving. Davis worked with Sarah Jones on the set of Army Wives.