I received a lengthy email correcting several points on Thursday’s post. In order to protect the reader’s anonymity (something I’m familiar with), I’ll try to hide any personal details.
First, it turns out Severn Sandt is a woman. I used the masculine pronoun because I was unfamiliar with the name Severn, and a quick google search implied it’s usually a guy’s name. Sorry, Ms. Sandt.
Second, timecards on non-union sports shows work very differently than a union scripted series. They report 30 minute blocks, rather than 6, which seems harsh, but at least explains the 9:00/9:10/9:30 issue Sandt mentioned. Rounding down ten minutes rather than rounding up twenty doesn’t sound quite so bad.
I also received an update– Sandt was fired. And you might be surprised to learn that I think that’s terrible.
As I said, I think it’s in poor taste for the higher ups to ask you to not report overtime (or “contribute an hour or two of your OT to the cause” as Sandt put it), but it’s not really the worst thing I’ve heard on a set. Producers, UPMs, etc, are constantly trying to find new, creative ways to cut the budget. Sandt went a little overboard, but not to a fire-worthy degree.
And I sincerely doubt she would have been fired, if this letter hadn’t made the rounds on the internet. If you’re going to fire someone, it shouldn’t matter whether their behavior publicly known or not. And if you wouldn’t fire them until the behavior was publicly known, don’t fire them after.
I’m sure the network was happy Sandt was trying innovative ways of cutting payroll, until this memo embarrassed them. That’s pretty high up there on the list of shitty reasons to fire someone.
I sincerely hope my post did not contribute to Sandt being let go. I don’t know her at all, but if this memo is the worst thing she’s done, she’d still be in the top 10% of people I’ve worked for.