The film industry in New Mexico is creating new jobs and new careers; one that you may not have heard of is the job of set medic.
Brian G. Lax is a set medic, currently on the set of “Brothers,” being filmed in Las Vegas.
Lax, a Canadian immigrant, has worked in the paramedic field for 16 years. Lax attended the United World College of the American West and worked for Rocky Mountain Ambulance in Las Vegas for several years. A year and a half ago, he heard about New Mexico’s growing film industry and took a position as set medic.
Lax said he does not see many emergencies on the job and only an occasional trauma; most often the emergencies he treats are medical ones like diabetic crises and cardiac episodes. When interviewed, he was in the process of dispensing Tums to a crew member.
The most exciting part of his job, Lax said, is the stunts.
“During stunts, when you have things blowing up, glass flying everywhere, cars flipping over. That’s pretty exciting,” Lax said.
Particularly exciting are the scenes where the stunt man comes flying through a window, shattering the glass, he said.
Those stunts, Lax said, are engineered by having small explosive charges explode the window outward an instant before the stunt man comes flying through it, creating the illusion that the person flying through the window shattered it.
But it doesn’t always work that way; if the charge goes off even a fraction of a second late, it really is the stunt man shattering the glass. Lax is just out of view of the cameras in such scenes, ready to leap into action as soon as the director yells “cut.”
And “cut” is the word; people are often cut during such stunts, Lax said, and he doesn’t know until it happens whether the stunt person will have a superficial cut or scratch or a severe injury such as a severed artery.