Good evening,I was wondering how you all handle gunshots in performance. Do any of you use prop guns with blanks anymore? If so, what safety measures are in place? Plastic guns with a sound effect?
Thank you for your feedback.Katie Alley
Respectfully, George, that worked fine 30 years ago but there is no reason to have any kind of fire-able weapon on stage now. We've had too many people killed, deafened or injured from blank-firing guns and using them isn't worth the risk at the educational or non-profit theater level.
I've been doing a fair amount of expert witness work with theater safety and these stories break my heart as well as the hearts of the bereaved and the wallets of those who didn't put use the safest method possible.
Use a wooden or rubber replica and a sound effect. The audience knows they are seeing a play, they will be far better with that than something that could hurt them or someone else.
It's a risk-benefit analysis. The risk of something going very wrong is far, far, far greater than the benefit of doing it with a weapon that is fireable.
A recent example from our friends in the film world: What We Know About the Fatal Shooting on Alec Baldwin's Movie Set
And having the volume controlled at the sound board, rather than from something hidden in the prop "gun" helps protect hearing, too.
Respectfully, George, that was fine 30 years ago. Now there is zero reason to have any kind of weapon that can actually fire used in educational theater and a whole host of reasons to stick with non-firable replicas from rubber or wood and a volume moderated gun shot effect instead.
We've had too many incidents of deafness, injury and even death from prop guns firing blanks. To use a blank-firing weapon safely takes a trained armorer with another equally well trained person to double check the work. And even in professional situations where people who claim to have those credentials are working, people still get killed.
Our students can act and the audience will accept "it's a gun" without needing to be nervous about there actually BEING a gun in the space.
------------------------------Kristi Ross-ClausenSafety Maven/ConsultantIATSE 470/Actors Equity MemberAlliance for Wisconsin Theatre EducationAssociation for Quality in AV BoardAVIXA/USITTTeacher, Author, Speakerwww.theaterhealthandsafety.comAppleton, WI------------------------------
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