Stop! Overtime!

I tried to find an appropriate picture of MC Hammer to make the title of this post make more sense, but sadly, I couldn't find one that really worked. :(
I knew an AD who had this on his wall.

A lot of people like overtime, because it means more money than they’d planned on.  Not me.  I budget.  (Well, Mrs. TAPA budgets; I mostly ask her when it’s okay to spend money.)

I don’t just budget money, but also time.  Twelve hour days are plenty, thank you very much.  I greatly value the free time I get to spend with Mrs. TAPA.  Away from you.

But, money’s money, and at least overtime means more of it.

Unless you’re me.

See, this low-budget, cable pilot I was working on had an eight day schedule.  The plan was to shoot Tuesday through Saturday, take Sunday off, then finish the next week on Monday through Wednesday.

We fell behind schedule, as you do, and the producer decided we needed to add another day.  Not Thursday, though.  No, we’d be working Sunday.

After all, the gear and the location were already rented for that day, anyway.  All you’re adding is the crew’s pay, and that wouldn’t even require overtime.

What’s that, you say?  How can they expect us to work nine days straight without any penalties?

Here’s how: the week starts Sunday, and ends Saturday.  We’d be working five days one week, four days the next.  Of course, there wouldn’t be a weekend between those two weeks.

I’m sure that’s exactly what the California legislature intended when they wrote the overtime laws.

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10 Responses

  1. I just found this blog tonight while I’m still at work at my Production Assistant job for a film producer……my eyes are so tired they’re all screwed up & I’m on a daily rate so I’m not getting a stitch of overtime & my social life has gone out the window cause by the time I turn up everyone has gone somewhere else. But it’s nice to know I’m not suffering alone. (Even though it’s all worth it). & I’m not even in LA, I’m in Auckland, NZ!

  2. Well, some employees do better – just read this news below:
    Joe – the charmer of David Letterman’s

    “Latest personal preference (love?) of Mr David Letterman , say
    trustworthy Late Show insiders, is one Joe (“the goofy boy”), employed as a writer and
    also used for cameo appearances in comical sketches, who charmed Mr
    Letterman at all levels…

    Safer option compared with the famous Letterman’s affair with a female

  3. Early in my TV commecial days, while working as a grip-trician, I once did a nine day straight stretch hopscotching from one job to another. But the end of that ordeal, I could hardly remember my name, much less whether I was supposed to be a grip or juicer that day.

    Cable productions are the new sweatshops of Hollywood. The 20% pay cut is bad enough, but on cable shows, the standard 12 hours ’til doubletime bumps up to 14 hours. When you throw in the hour lunch (which ends up being thirty minutes after washing up and waiting in line), that’s a 15 hour day on set. Add in travel time to and from, and you’re very lucky to have eight hours of shit/shower/shave/eat/sleep time before coming back for another 15 hour marathon.

    Trouble is, all the good (read: watchable) shows are on cable, and cable is on the rise.

    Overtime came about as a financial firewall to discourage productions from abusing crews by working endless hours. Producers are accustomed to paying time-and-a-half, but they absoultely hate to pay doubletime, which effectively shuts down most productions after 12 hours. It won’t stop all abuses — Cameron once pushed his crew on “True Lies” for seventeen days straight on location, but at least he had to pay through the nose (double-time, forced call, the whole incredibly expensive nine yards) for the privilige. Still, the 12 hour rule helps prevent routine abuse — but cable is erasing this last bastion of civilized working hours on set.

    Welcome to the increasingly ugly future…

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