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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Did You Take The Weekend Off ?


If you live in the US it was a long end of summer weekend. Taking time off is good. If you had work, I hope your hours where reasonable. Recently I was on a long multiday shoot and had "issues" with some self appointed "director / producer" from hell. The experience level of this person in production was none, their social skills next to none, their ability to work with others very poor. Thats the really polite version. Perhaps the worst part : the expectation that one not only could but should work 16 to 18hr days with maybe 6hrs of turnaround. I was labeled as "unprofessional" because I found this unacceptable on a week long shoot. Quite the opposite, its because I am a professional that I know rest is as much a requirement for getting the job done as knowing your stuff and having good gear. Stupid mistakes happen when you have worked multiple 18hr days in a row without enough turnaround. You'll leave a switch in the wrong position, forget to connect on cable, not notice you're not in record because the camera has such a small out of the way indicator. All dumb mistakes that lack of sleep can cause. You also stop making good shooting decisions and get into survival mentality. The situation becomes thinking around not if  this a great shot, but how can we get the this done the easiest fastest way because everyone is tired.

The worst potential mistakes though are simply falling asleep on the job or making a mistake where some one gets hurt or worse. Then there is always the risk of falling asleep on the drive home from the job. That never ends well and in fact as resulted in at least one known death within the industry. I'm not that stupid. I will pull over and simply take a nap in the van or get a room.

Even if you think you can escape the need for rest short term, burn out happens when you don't take care of yourself. You health suffers, your relationships suffer , you suffer.

Haskel Wexler put out this video a couple years ago, but its still quite relevant today and not much has changed. While I will on occasion still do long 18hr days, it will be just one day. I'll get rest the next day and be ok. However, to be expected to work like this for multiple days is a recipe for problems both short and long term. Learn to stand up for yourself and your fellow crew people and know when to say no, or that if you want this long day today, we get 10hrs turnaround for tomorrow so you have a chance at recovery.