The (Exhausting) Reality of Film Production

Film production is tiring. Everyone knows that, right?  But what exactly do we define as exhausting in our industry?

Most “civilians” work 8, sometimes 10 hours in a day. This is a “normal” work day for them. Industry folk on the other hand consider anything less than 12 hours to be a short day, and if you somehow miraculously work only 8 hours, it’s called an “8 and skate” as you breeze in and breeze out so quickly. I must apologize if this seems a bit disjointed, but I just worked 47 hours in 3 days, you see.

I was lucky enough to crew on one of the top scripted cable TV shows of the Summer, and this week production on season two started up again. Awesome people to work with, from the top down, but the hours can be a wee tad brutal. A 70 to 80 hour week is not impossible when things really need to be shot, though production does all they can to avoid those situations. Still, sometimes it happens, and when it does, you’re looking at working double the weekly hours of normal folks. You don’t know tired until you’ve had to finish work at 3am on Saturday morning, only to have a 5am call time on Monday.

Of course this is nothing compared to music videos. Those notoriously run 18 or more hours in a day.  Yes, 18+.  My personal longest was a 25 1/2 hour video shoot in the desert. One director actually did a 35 hour shoot, though we all wonder what quality you get at that point. Mind you he is one of the top directors in the world, but come on already, these hours are why people die driving home.

Why post this? Because the reality of production is often far less glamorous and incredibly more exhausting than people realize. I still recommend you follow your dreams and do all you can to get into the industry if that’s what you want, but just do so with your eyes open. Of course as you now realize, that’s something that gets increasingly difficult to do as the weeks pass. In fact my eyes can barely stay open right now.

Anyway, this is disjointed and I am dain bramaged, so methinks I’ll post and edit a bit later when the ol’ noggin is firing on more pistons.

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