Every day is an adventure, and with those come a LOT of headaches. Gear not working, hungover audio guys, traffic, the occasional Diva (sometimes it’s the producer, sometimes it’s the DP, sometimes it’s talent. Once I even saw a PA who… Well, he didn’t last long), and a thousand other things.

One of the biggest headaches, though, is scheduling. That seems to fit for the people making the schedule (working with a film crew is like wrangling children. And you thought cats were hard…) as well as for those who are trying to work different shows.

Being a day player, and fairly new to town (over three months in Atlanta already?!), I don’t especially expect to work every day. More than half, definitely, and I’ll always work over taking a day off, but wow, talk about a scheduling nightmare.

Just because you’re held for a day doesn’t mean you’re booked. It means that that company now has right of first refusal on your day – if someone else calls and you want to work with them, you need to clear it with the first company. They, on the other hand, can cancel on you until 24 hours before the shoot (depending on the company and your relationship, etc). Now, if someone else calls you can ask them to confirm for you, since now you’re turning down other work for their shoot, so you have some leverage to keep your day booked.

That all being the case, I regularly get held for shoots that then get cancelled, get dates changed, or have budget cuts and need to get rid of people. That’s part of the business, and you have to plan for it.

I also get called for several different jobs for the same day, so losing a few days here and there isn’t a big deal. It’s just annoying. I’ve worked 6+ shows in the last couple of weeks, and had days that as many as three shows called to ask about my availability for… That I then ended up not working because they changed their schedules last-minute. I’ve also had weeks where almost every day gets booked, but never until the night before.

Once you book a show that lasts a little longer, it’s easier, though you’re completely at the mercy of the show. Until then, day playing, it’s nothing but a mess. Hopefully, as mine has been, a busy mess, where the biggest question is “will I get a day off this week?”.

About Randy Lee
Shooter. Editor. Colorist. Filmmaker. Coffee Addict. Workaholic.
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