Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Know your limits

Normally, I don’t like to turn down work under any circumstances barring extreme weather, rabid bears, or Michael Bay.

Most of the time not even then.

But sometimes I get offered something that I know damn good and well is going to suck so much that it’s just better to stay on unemployment and carefully count my pennies, which means my fantasy of spending New Years riding through the streets in a limo spraying passersby with champagne is now on hold. Again.

This particular  job on offer was an internet series thing paying not very much (of course), but that wasn’t the problem.

The problem was the hours. The show had a 12 hour guarantee (which means we’d be working 14 hour days at the minimum) for a six-day week.

My problem centered around the six-day week. I’m not going to haul out the “I’m too old for this” cliché, but six-day weeks really hurt me, both physically and mentally.

Hell, I have enough trouble with five-day weeks. By day three, my feet hurt, by day four my shins ache before lunch. After lunch my knees join in and complain.  At the end of day five just walking is excruciating.

Day six? I can’t even get off the truck without the help of painkillers.

Once it’s all over, it takes two days to recover well enough to be able to do it all again the next week.

Six day weeks are beyond painful. That one day off  involves getting up, doing laundry, and then going back to sleep. No chance to clean the house, run any errands, get anything done. Bank? Forget it. Gym? Forget it. Friends? Pffft.

Oh, and since I won’t have any time to shop or cook (and we’ll get off work every night well after all my good take-out places have closed) there will be no food in the house, not even that really old jar of pickles that migrated to the back of the fridge.

I’ll eat that the second week when I wake up after a 19 hour day, ravenous because I didn’t want to eat the dubious looking second ‘meal’ that was set out at 4 am.

Not that I’ve been there a million times before or anything.

It was difficult for me to decline, since the job offer came from a very good friend, but sometimes I have to know my limits.

I’ll probably regret the decision once I’m scrounging for whatever loose change I can find in order to buy groceries, but for now it’s well worth it.

Filed under: Work, , , , , , , ,

3 Responses

  1. ironrailsironweights says:

    I understand exactly. My sales job has a five-and-a-half day work week, with about four to five hours work on Saturdays. That may not seem like much, but it makes a huge difference not having two full days off each week. I’d rather work ten hours a day Monday-Friday and get Saturdays completely off.


  2. Verdy22 says:


  3. Knowing when to say “no” is an essential skill for any free-lancer. There’s a compelling economic argument for six day weeks when working a feature on location, but in that case you’re being put in in a hotel or condo, fed at least two decent meals a day with access to ample craft service on set. There’s usually local laundry services, so all you really have to do on Day Seven is drink, sleep,and recover. On location, we’re essentially treated like big babies, with food, housing, and transportation taken care of. Our only task is to show up sober at the transpo vans six days a week, then do our work.

    But a six-day week in town, living at home, with none of the support a location feature guarantees, for a crappy New Media rate? That’s fucking ridiculous. Taking care of yourself is the first priority of every free-lancer.

    You made the right decision.

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