Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Why sure, I… wait, what?

Normally, I’m a big whore (stop snickering. I can hear you) and will take just about any job – with the rationalization that it’s all paying into my health insurance hours and pension fund, so it’s an investment even when the rate’s low, but today I got a call to do a show and when the best boy told me the rate, I thought he was joking:

Me: “Hahahaha! That’s funny. You should quit your day job and do stand up with jokes like that.”

Him: “I’m not kidding”

Me: [pause] “What have I ever done to you?”

Plus, the show is all night work.

Since I’m still a bit spotty (which is turning out to be big fun at the gym), I figure spending nights out getting my ass worked off* isn’t exactly what my poor immune system needs right now, so I struck a deal (since I don’t want to say “no” outright because if one says “no” too often, then best boys stop calling).

I’m working the load-in** tomorrow and a rig (at the worst stage in town – one that it’s rumored hasn’t been condemned only because of the owner’s political connections) on Monday, and some other poor sucker’s going to work the shooting days.

At least on the rig day, I won’t have to go to the gym, because I’ll get worked like a dog (yeah, it’s a shared truck, but we’re going to empty it, I’m sure).

*The lower the pay scale, the harder the crew get worked and the worse the working conditions will be.

**Load-in: when one loads all the equipment onto the truck at the start of a show. This one’s going to be a cluster fuck as grip and electric are sharing a truck (which we all hate because there’s no way not to get into the other department’s way).

Filed under: Work

7 Responses

  1. Charli says:

    I played rugby and if you wanted to play but didn’t belong to a team, you ‘whored’ yourself out. Girl, we are all whores.

    Sorry ’bout the low pay offer.

  2. Norman says:

    *The lower the pay scale, the harder the crew get worked and the worse the working conditions will be.

    True. As an editor, I’ve also found that the lower the budget (and the pay) the more the producers and directors feel that you should understand that it’s a privilege to work on their film.

  3. SpecimN says:

    I figure you won’t answer if I ask what show you are talking about?..

    Peggy sez: I have no idea what the show name is. The ‘start paperwork’ they gave us was strange and confusing.

  4. Chris says:

    Boy, are you ever right about “lower rate, worse treatment”.

    Commercial production (TV ads) in this are in the midst of a real paradigm shift right now. With the rise of the internet, 500 cable channels, declining Neilsen numbers and TIVO, the justification for fat budgets in this venue is disappearing.

    As a result, many production companies are moving from a rate of, say, $450/10 hrs to $500/12. This is a pay cut, which moves ads closer to the scale for movies/TV.

    Somebody throws you a 350/10, you can guarantee that they will grind you to a fine powder.

  5. Peter says:

    <i>Commercial production (TV ads) in this are in the midst of a real paradigm shift right now. With the rise of the internet, 500 cable channels, declining Neilsen numbers and TIVO, the justification for fat budgets in this venue is disappearing.
    As a result, many production companies are moving from a rate of, say, $450/10 hrs to $500/12. This is a pay cut, which moves ads closer to the scale for movies/TV.</i>
    On a better note, wouldn’t the rise of the Internet and all the cable channels mean that the volume of work is much greater?

    Peggy sez: Not really – it seems like most of the few non-reality TV shows are not shot in LA because of foreign subsidies. If anyone’s got hard numbers on this, I’d love to see them.

  6. Chuck-a-luck says:

    What, no write-up on the fascinating new stuff at Cine Gear?
    $5 burgers, but the wine was free.
    Don’t take too many shit jobs, or you are then the ‘gal who does cheapies’, and they call for just that.

    Peggy sez: Nah, Cinegear was a bit of a snore this year – plus it was boiling hot and we eventually did get the bum’s rush because of the dog.

  7. Dan says:

    “Peggy sez: I have no idea what the show name is. The ’start paperwork’ they gave us was strange and confusing.”

    Uh oh…that means the fish stinks from the head on back. I’ve only worked on one low budget that had a good producer, and it wasn’t so bad. But looks like your producer is a bit of a dink. I’m So SO sorry. The Ben Hecht quote is priceless!!!

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