Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Yay, work! Oh, wait….

I just got called to work tomorrow, which is a good thing!


Just like a shiny happy quarter laying on the sidewalk in Malibu that’s got sticky gum on the underside so you can’t see it and you pick it up and get gum all over you (guess what happened to me today), there are a few things about this job which are not so shiny and happy.

This movie’s hourly rate is almost $10.00 under union scale – not a bad thing by itself, but generally any movie with a rate that low is disorganized.

I think the entire time I’ve been doing this I’ve worked on ONE movie with a budget under 10 million dollars that wasn’t a complete cluster fuck – the problem is that at the lower rates, you can’t get really experienced production people. Good Assistant Directors (and producers and UPMs) don’t come cheap.

The best boy is making his manpower calls for Monday on Sunday afternoon (he should have made them Friday) – when I talked to him, he said they ‘got beat up really bad on Friday’ and he doesn’t know the location for tomorrow, so he’ll have to have the AD call him and tell him.

That’s bad. It means that the show is disorganized, and (what affects me more) that set lighting’s second in command is not on top of things.

The cloud in the silver lining is overtime. Disorganization and chaos usually means 15, 16, 17 or more hours, and when you start clocking in overtime like that, the rate gets a lot better really quickly.

We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Filed under: Work

7 Responses

  1. Dave2 says:

    I was part of a project recently where they hired a very inexperienced crew and boasted about getting two workers for the price of every one pro they didn’t hire. Everything went way over budget, and it ended up costing them more than if they had just hired professionals for those tasks in the first place. There is no substitute for experience on jobs that require creative and imaginative solutions that aren’t always taught in classes and books.

  2. umm, i’ve been on a number of shoots on tiny budgets and know a lot of people who have been on even more and they’ve all been professionally run, well made, on time, etc etc.

    it may be because over here (england) we’re used to having no money and so most of our folk are there for the commitment to it, rather than the paycheck, i don’t know. but it’s a rare film indeed that tops about a four or five million dollar budget and i’d put the average indie british film up against an american film any day.

    it’s the people, not the budget, that makes a production.

  3. Catherine says:

    GOD, I hate when people start their (invariably snarky) comment with that condescending “ummmm”.


    Good luck with the shoot, hope it was better than you’d anticipated.

  4. Norman says:

    Ummmm (just joking…)

    My experience is that the less they pay and the more disorganized they are, the more they think that you should feel it’s a privilege to be working on their “work of art.”

  5. over react there much, catherine?

  6. Catherine says:

    No. If you frequent the web at all, you would know there are rules of common courtesy. Here’s an example of this rule in action on a message board:

    “Q:Why can’t I start my posts with the word “um,” be a snotty jerk, or present my views as God’s TV gospel?

    A:Don’t start your posts with “um” or “uh” or words like that because nine times out of ten, those words precede a snotty correction directed at another poster. It’s rude and dismissive and it drives the staff nuts, so please, don’t do it. The same goes for “sorry, but…” and “excuse me, but…” and, really, any other snitty post-starter.

    If you can’t talk to other people as if they’re intelligent, you can’t post. Don’t talk down to your fellow posters, don’t lecture them, and don’t state your opinion as fact. And please don’t think we’re going to argue technicalities of whether you said “uh” or “um” at the beginning of the post; we can tell when you’re being snide and snotty about other people’s opinions.

    If you’re having a problem keeping your temper under control, get it under control, or post somewhere else. It’s supposed to be fun. It’s not combat. It’s not necessary for it to become personal.

    If you want to point out an error, that’s fine, but please find a way to do it that isn’t the written equivalent of an eye-roll.”

    I’m not going to get into a flamefest with you on this poor woman’s blog, Abrasive Entertainment. Come on over to my blog and we can duke it out if you like.

  7. Peggy Archer says:

    No duking..

    It looks like we just had a misinterpretation about a typed entry.


    I make no statement about the quality of any one country’s film output, or the quality of any film at all.

    In Los Angeles, in the unionized film industry, the smaller the budget, the worse the working conditions for the below the line crew.

    That’s all I meant, and I stand by my statement. Most of the time low budget stuff goes exactly the way Dave typed.

    Although craft service yesterday actually had some healthy food out.

    Unheard of.

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