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How To Make an Appointment When You Don’t Know Your Schedule

wonderingeyeoftheeverydaytraveler commented on Friday’s post:

Unless you’ve all found weekend hours ( do you even get weekends in the biz?) for this kind of thing, what about sick time for important stuff like doctor/dentist appointments?

On most shows, you won’t know what your schedule is next week, much less next month or six months from now. For a TV series, you can probably ask about your summer hiatus schedule, and the last few weeks of December are dead for everyone, generally. But beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.

There are some rules of thumb you can use, though, if you want to keep your downtime to a minimum. On single camera shows (and movies), Friday’s call time is almost always later than Monday’s.1For this reason, I try to make appointments on Friday morning, in the hopes that I’ll be in and out before my call time.

Office PAs usually work in shifts, so if you know you have an appointment coming up, you can ask the production coordinator to put you on the late shift that week. Again, you might not finish your appointment before call time, but at least you won’t be as late.

Multicamera shows have very regular, predictable weekly schedules. Three days of rehearsals, block-and-shoot day, then show night. Personally, I like to have an appointment on day 1, because everybody comes into work late after show night. Your show may be different, but it’ll have its own rhythm you can fall into.

But all of those things are assuming you know if you even have a job, which isn’t necessarily so. Gigs come and go, and you might schedule an appointment during downtime, only to land a job on the same day.

The thing is, everyone is in this situation. Your boss knows how hard it is to schedule any kind of appointment, and so she’ll sympathize. Unless your appointment is on a day that the show absolutely needs all hands on deck all day, you’ll be fine, so long as you give your superior a few days’ notice.

If the appointment happens to fall on your first day on the job, do everything you can to move it. Otherwise, you’ll end up in the same boat as Joey.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. This is due to turn around: actors get twelve hours between the end of one day and the start of the next. When you’re on set 13 hours (12 hours shooting plus an hour lunch), you often see the call time of each day an hour later than the day before, especially if you have one actor in every scene.
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