The Unglamorous, Punishing Hours of Working on a Hollywood Set

You think you have long working hours? Shooting a movie or TV show can mean you spend the majority of your time -and the vast majority of your waking hours- at work. Gavin Polone has first-hand experience.
A week and a half ago we had an unusually long shooting day on the show Iā€™m currently producing, Jane by Design. The crew call time was at 7 a.m. and we wrapped at 10:46 p.m. ā€” fourteen hours and 45 minutes after subtracting our one-hour lunch break. And some had an even longer day: Our actors, including guest star Teri Hatcher, showed up for hair and makeup at 5 am, which meant that hairstylists and makeup artists, as well as someone from the transportation department and the set production assistant, also showed up to meet them and were there until wrap, giving them a total of sixteen hours and 45 minutes. Many of you who are less familiar with the culture of filmmaking may find these hours to be pretty crazy, but those of us who regularly work on sets know there was nothing out of the ordinary about this day ā€” and it wasn't even that extreme compared to other movies and TV series, which often go beyond the standard schedule of a twelve-hour day.

Stars get paid well for those hours, but the many others on the crew are just making a living, and they rarely complain. Polone talked with different workers about how they view their work schedules in an article at Vulture. Link -via Buzzfeed

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When Georgia became the latest state to give tax credits and other incentives for movie production, many of my friends celebrated. They had been doing work as extras in small indepedent productions but now they were going to get a shot at the big time.

For the first year or so they were going crazy running all over the state working as extras. They almost never got paid, they did it for the glamour. There was a non-stop flow of posts on Facebook from them about which star they caught a glimpse of or where the next shoot would be. They'd even post clips or screen captures of the half a second of screen time they got as the camera was panning.

Don't see many of those posts anymore. Eventually the shine wore off. Spending entire weekends or vacation days sitting around being treated like cattle for the possibility of a split second of screen time or near proximity of a star (but no chance to interact with them) got old. And the dreams of being discovered came crashing back to earth.
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I work in the camera department for film, tv, or pretty much any freelance position I can get. As a newbie, even I can say that I haven't worked less than 12 hours on anything, nor would I want to. Its really hard work, physically and mentally, and the pay is not that amazing (yet), but I love what I do though, and most of the people I've had the pleasure of working with would say the same. I don't ever HAVE to go to work, I GET to, and that's how I can justify working 14+ hour days without the benefits of a comfy desk job. I wouldn't have it any other way, and I can't wait to experience more. Sure, I'm barely scraping a living, but thats how the game goes. You have to start at the bottom and work your way up. If I didn't love what I do, I would never have gotten into the film industry, and would have majored in medicine or something. =]
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