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We've all heard about movie shoots with ridiculously long workdays, e.g., we've heard actors talk about getting up at the crack of dawn, working until the wee hours of the next morning, sleeping a short time, and getting up and doing it all again the next day. But actors and directors are far from the only ones making the movie. What do all the cameramen and boom mic guys and gaffers and PAs do for those long shoots? I would expect their (union) contracts to permit only a certain length of workday, or only a certain number of 18-hour days in a row. Do they all work 18-hour days too, day in and day out? Do they alternate days? Do they have a lot of downtime that doesn't count in their workday? Do they just get paid a ton of overtime?

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    Do you have anything that actually says these "extremely long work days" are occurring on union jobs in the first place? If they're shooting outside the US (in countries without unions) or in a state that is right-to-work, they can opt to ignore the union rules and only have to follow whatever the government rules for work hours are (if there are any such rules). – Catija Nov 3 '15 at 20:00
  • Sometimes when actors talk about "crack of dawn" or "late at night", they're talking about exterior shots that must be completed at night or in darkness. – Johnny Bones Nov 3 '15 at 20:53
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What do all the cameramen and boom mic guys and gaffers and PAs do for those long shoots? I would expect their (union) contracts to permit only a certain length of workday, or only a certain number of 18-hour days in a row. Do they all work 18-hour days too, day in and day out? Do they alternate days? Do they have a lot of downtime that doesn't count in their workday? Do they just get paid a ton of overtime? <<

The last.

The details depend on the trade and their relationship to the studio, assuming a studio pic made in the USA. In some cases, like the teamsters, they may actually drive to a location, park, wait around for 14 hours, then drive home. In between, other people are unloading, setting up, breaking down, and reloading. Teamsters drive. Period.

Here's a link on extras:

http://tvtix.com/extras/union-rates.html

This conforms to what I've seen with a number of trades: 8 hours is regular, over 8 is time-and-a-half, over 12 is double. Over a certain hours per week kicks everything up again, and there are "bumps" in addition (like working in a hazard or unpleasant environment).

Sometimes it's $x/hour, with a minimum number of hours. (I think electrical has rules like this.)

This is one reason why movies are so expensive and why Hollywood relocates, especially to places that offer financial incentives. (The other reason is that budget numbers are utter nonsense contrived by the studios to rob people who have a piece of the back-end, and to avoid taxes.) It also kills L.A. for anything between the renegade indie and the studio film: Filmmakers with a modest budget can't afford this.

For a "working man" (i.e., someone who's not rich and/or famous) you're happy to work the crazy hours because you may hit a dry spell where you're not working at all.

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the 'average' shooting day is 12 - 14 hours, union or not. It's like any other job, everyone works a 5 day week (usually Monday to Friday) and for most of the crew, except production staff; AD's, PM, Location manager, ALM, P.A.'s who get paid weekly flat salary, you are paid an hourly rate plus overtime, time and half, double time, triple time after 10 hours and 'turn around' which means if you don't have 10 hours off from wrap to the next day's call time you are compensated. The Director is paid a flat fee negotiated depending on who they are just like talent. They all have minumus and go from there.

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