One of the most important factors in your day is the turn around.
“Turn around” is the time you have between wrap one day and call time the next. The minimum required turn around varies from 12 hours for actors to 8 hours for teamsters.2
If you require someone to show up in less than their turn around, that is a “forced call,” and the production must pay that crew or cast member a lot of money. That’s why most call sheets say something to the effect of “No forced calls without prior approval by the UPM.” They don’t want you hanging around on set an extra 15 minutes just so that the following morning is a forced call.
Now, you might be thinking, “Why do actors get a larger turn around than everyone else? Fucking actors! They already get paid more, but now we’re guaranteeing them more time off, too!”
Which is an understandable reaction, except that everyone else’s call time is based around the actors’. If you gave the actors a ten hour turn around, it would mean hair and make up would have to show up after nine or nine and a half, the ADs after eight and a half or nine, and on down the line. Super lame. For once, the little perks we give actors actually protect us below-the-liners.
It can still be rather inconvenient, at times. If you’re on a show with one central character, someone who’s in most or every scene, get ready for some late Friday nights.
Say you start at 7:00am on Monday. Not bad. Twelve hour shooting day, get out at 7:00… but wait, you had an hour lunch. You actually wrapped at 8:00pm. That means, Tuesday’s call can’t be earlier than 8:00am. Then 9:00am Wednesday, 10:00 on Thursday, 11:00am Friday. And that’s if you actually stick to twelve hour days. A slow director can make Friday’s call 2:00pm, even without night work. It can be rough.
You’re in a slightly better position if you’ve got an ensemble cast, where the actors one morning aren’t necessarily the ones who wrapped out the night before. The next tightest turn around is the camera department, at 11 hours.
If you’re not good at math, that basically cancels out the hour lunch. Wrap at 8:00pm Monday, start at 7:00am Tuesday again.
Now, it doesn’t always work out as neatly as that; things go wrong, scenes take longer to shoot than planned, and so on. But I have had good weeks where we had the same call time every day.
Of course, a twelve hour day isn’t actually that great, either.
Maybe this will cheer you up: