Risk Management In Film

(Posted On: 12-10-2015)

In the film industry, Risk Management Plans covering Occupational Health and Safety do exist and must be put in place for every film made in order to conform to legislative requirements. However, because I was unable to obtain any Risk Management Plans for a film which covered other types of risk, it is impossible to know whether Film Studios actually use them other than for Occupational Health and Safety.

When we think of Risk Management in any business, even though very important, we are not just referring to Occupational Health and Safety, we are also considering any other kind of risk associated which has implications on the business itself. The list of risks can be many depending on the context and setting of which the film occurs.

In the film-making process, the setting or environment in which the film occurs can drastically change, causing various risks to befall a production, some risks which may be familiar and others which may have never been dealt with before. In film, this means there are many, many risks which can occur on a production.

When one thinks about how many films are made each year, it would mean film-makers constantly deal with a high turnover of risks, risk which are complex and can vary, depending on the film itself. This actually means that film-makers themselves are Risk Management Experts in their own right because they are not just constantly dealing with risks, they are dealing with risks which constantly change.

Indeed, the utilization of 'risk benefit', especially when it comes to stunts and action sequences is extremely heightened, all in the name of the thrill seeking audiences and the money to be made from them.

If Film is one of the highest risk industries, the fact that they travel the globe and visit many communities, shouldn't they then be obligated, to let communities know, in detail, what's going on in their own back yard so to speak?

Often in our community or local area, when an apartment complex is going to be built or construction takes place, more likely than not, those in the neighborhood would receive information from the council detailing the exact building plans where the community is consulted. On the contrary, when a film is made in a certain area, town or country, more often than not, film production companies do not provide the exact details of the dangerous activities that may be involved, to the people in the community, often these activities posing much more of a threat than the construction of a building.

The film industry will not communicate and consult with the community in exact detail, because this would simply run a risk of letting their competitors know their plans. Even though fire and explosions are controlled to a certain extent, these dangerous elements are still present and there is always a risk when dealing with these elements no matter how controlled.

This is an example of a reason not to communicate or consult but sometimes at the expense of ethical and moral values, where members of the community are oblivious to exact details, when they should be in fact more informed.

In fact there are many kinds or risk in film and it's 'sister' industry television which breach ethical and moral standards, for example, one only had to look at the numerous times journalists and camera crew, risk their lives in a worn torn or volatile country to secure a story for a major news station.

In film, every time a stunt person performs a stunt, no matter how controlled the stunt, the risk is still high, if a stunt person dies, the film will still go ahead because the stunt person is considered expendable - here we see an extreme case of Risk Benefit utilizing death in exchange for the immortality of the Stars presence and the success of the film. The only other industry I can relate to similarly, which incorporates a similar view is the military or Special Forces.

Considering how risk plays such a big part in film, it's quite surprising that the subject of Film and Risk at present is a very much neglected by most academics and scholars today which is why I decided to take up this subject as part of my study in Risk and Project management. In regards to the film industry and these topics I came across a knowledge gap. Here are some of the issues I encountered while studying the subject:

- I could not locate or find any sufficient examples of the Project Management Model being applied to the film-making process, even though it's quite easy to apply when considering the processes the film industry uses.

- On the internet there are many 'Risk Management Plans' for a variety of different industries however, for the Film Industry, there was not one example.

- 'The Australian Film and Television Industry Safety Guidelines' (144 page document) has been in 'Draft' format for 10 years. There ar

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