Friday, December 11, 2009

Days Off.

For those of you who don't know, the working hours in this industry sucks. And I don't mean the "damn, I just did 18 hours in the rain yesterday!" kind of sucky. I mean the "damn, I can't make it to the grocery store/bank/dry cleaners/doctor's/auto shop/post office" kind of sucky.

Let's say your call time's 7am. With travel and breakfast time calculated in, you leave the house around 6am. You then work a full 12 hour day so you don't get off work until 7pm. Or 7:30 if you're on one of those productions where you don't get a paid lunch. Add on the travel time (hellloooo L.A. traffic!) and you don't get home until 8:30pm. You're gone for a good 14.5 hours each day. Add in 7 hours for sleep, and your 24 hours turns into just 2.5 hours of "free time" which you'll probably spend taking a shower, eating dinner and looking up directions to tomorrow's location. Times that by five days a week. And that's on a regular 12 hour day. I don't even want to do the math on a 14, 16, or 18 hour day.

Meanwhile, you have laundry you can't do, checks you can't cash, and packages you can't send (yes, I'm aware of ATMs and APCs, but sometimes, you need a real human behind the counter) because all of their hours of operation are after your call time and before your wrap time. That pushes all your errands to Saturday (sometimes Sunday if you have errands that don't include a bank, post office, or taking your car into the dealer's). Calculate the time you spend waiting in line at each place (don't even get me started on how much longer everything takes around the holidays) and there goes your weekend. What sucks is when you don't make it everywhere in time and fall mercy to their reduced "Saturday hours" and you now have to wait until next weekend to finish what needed to be done this weekend.

And if you have kids, a high maintenance dog, or a needy significant other? Forget it.


BoskoLives said...

As much as I agree with you about being kicked in the ass by the hours, you might want to take into consideration how many people in the industry would gladly change places with you, i.e., how many would love to have a job.

I just finished working as a sound mixer on a 5 week feature in Detroit, and had to return to L.A. soon after with a few weeks of undone laundry, a pile of emails in need of a reply, and my last few pay checks to deposit traveling with me.

Now I find that I have tons of time, and the fact that I have only one day of work scheduled for next week is the reason I'm able do everything. That being said, because I'm limited to the future money from that one day of work next week is the reason that I won't be doing anything, spending anything, or even driving anywhere unless I have to.

Happy holidays,
Jerry w

A.J. said...

BoskoLives - I agree. I'm incredibly lucky to be working right now. However, despite the reference to the rain (it's raining here in LA for those of you who aren't here) and the holidays, this was meant to be a non-time specific post and more of a "here's me bitching more about this silly business" kind of post.

Michael Taylor said...

There's no doubt the hours in this business are often insane -- when working a job such as the one you describe, there's no time for anything but the work itself and whatever minimal efforts are required to keep you going.

It was worse in the days before cell phones, when you had to depend on getting a few precious minutes on a production phone while on distant locations -- but a cell phone is not an ATM, and it won't fix your broken car.

The flip side of that coin is when the job is finally over, you are free as a bird, weekdays and all, to do anything you want within the constraints of your personal budget.

And after three weeks of such freedom, you're dying for another job...

Ours is a boom-and-bust business in every aspect, and we're just along for the ride.

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