Shooting schedules // Overtime

I am not on set that often - maybe 4-6 shoots a year as I try to avoid it mostly due to the insane hours.

14hour days seem like its normal nowaday, is this the same in your country/region or do you have a strong union or other governing body?

Just wondering if thats a local thing here, literally came back from a 14 hour day yesterday, and need to be back on set after a break of less than 11 hours between leaving the set and having to be back on set. This seems to be pretty much normal on commercial shoots nowadays…

I really hate it with a passion, I like my desk.


I dragged my nauseated ass out of bed for a 7am call this morning so man does this resonate. Today’s just a scout so it won’t be bananas but to answer your question, my days are typically 12 on the light side and 14 or so on the heavy.

You can usually see it a mile off which one it will be… usually when you see the first round of boards roll in.

I too prefer my desk.

My ratio of of camera to post used to be 80/20, now it/s 5/95. That was one of the major reasons. Much better work life balance, and you can keep doing it for decades. On location you rust a lot faster…

And yes, 12-14+ days with very short turn-arounds are very common, not just in commercials. The cost of an extra day on set is so high, they need to squeeze every drop out of it to an extreme. It becomes pure math against human tolerance threshold.

Days in post can be long too, but especially if you work from a home office, it can be much easier as it weaves seamlessly in the rest of the day, and you don’t waste hours on the commute.

In fact long commutes are known to be a major safety hazard for location crews, there are many stories documented where 1hr+ drives after 14-16hr days on end have killed people.

jup, i used to be on set a lot more and can confirm , driving from berlin to hamburg after a 16 horu shoot is dangerous.

today was 13.5 hours, tomorrow its allready planned to go 14 hrs drom the get go…

this is not cool

A non-trivial commute. I’ve driven that route, though that was back in '92 I think :slight_smile:

1 Like

I put in long days in post, but I refuse to start before 10. That was one of the reasons I chose post instead of set work. Granted, a lot of those people get longer breaks, but dragging my ass to a location for a 6:30 call is bullshit.

1 Like

I love bragging about how I typically finish my work day before 6 PM. I don’t mention that I’m up by 5:30 AM latest.

There are tradeoffs.

If everyone else starts late, they often also end late, and thus you should start late as well or you inadvertently burn the candle on both ends.

On the plus side an early start can give you a few hours of calm and focused work time before all hell breaks loose. And you margin at the end of your day if something goes sideways as long as that doesn’t become a regular occurrence.

We get up around 5:30, enjoy coffee together (in the yard during the warmer part of the year) and I’m at my desk by 6:30 or 7 for some uninterrupted work before everyone else joins the circus. Unfortunately I don’t always wrap by 5:30, though I have a lot more flexibility in my schedule. We have lunch and dinner breaks together, and the dog needs her breaks. BTW - we both run our respective businesses from home. So it’s a delightful setup.

Sounds like you both have quite a good lifestyle, Jan. Kudos.

1 Like

Really hope you’re not on a buyout and are charging overtime to ever so slightly soften the blow!

I am not a freelancer so :skull_and_crossbones:

can take time off for it … great…

I hate sets.


Replying from both ends of the spectrum:
Turkey 1993-2019
I have been a senior Flame artist and supervisor for both in house projects and also on set. The day starts around 9:30 because agencies start giving feedback on last day’s copies around 10-11, but the day goes on until 20 usually, sometimes way over. Lots of overnighters and weekends. Sucks if you’re in-house…
The set days have been limited to 10 hours standard with overtime up to 16 hours, since 2016. Gotta thank the camera/lighting people for that. They negotiated humane standards, that somehow didn’t trickle into the post world.

Norway 2019-present day
I am now an in-house Flame artist, also on-set Flame artist as we are a production company with own studio.
Office hour starts 9:00 sharp, and usually we are done by 16:00, sometimes it’s called an early day and we’re off around 15ish. Rarely do I have to work until 20:00. This leaves me with lots of time for freelancing abroad.
Sets start at 8:00 and it’s usually a 12 hour set day, rarely over.


It wasn’t always that rosy. Those are hard-earned lessons. You get older and you don’t get bedazzled by stuff as easily and just say f* t* s* and dance to your own music.

I started out in a small software startup in '94, where you had to come in at 10 despite being an early morning person, because you definitely stayed late into the evening as everyone else.

Spent years at HP as factory engineer, at times traveling the world solving the escalated cases. Also spent many years at Amazon. As manager with tech teams, all of which do their own ops support (no centralized ops org), you have engineers on 7x24 pager duty, and your pager is the backup. Plenty of waking up in the middle of the night by a pager. Thanksgiving is the busiest day at the office, not a day for grilling turkeys. e-Commerce has no weekends and no holidays. My teams were impacted if the home page went blank or had too much latency, or when something went wrong with URLs.

Left Amazon in 2010 for the camera department and then drifted into post over time, made that more less permanent as part of Covid.

Running my own boutique post business (not a freelancer either, a small business owner - it’s more than a one person operation) is a deliberate lifestyle choice and a lifestyle business. Job security is about the same as corporate life. I work about the same, don’t get valuable stock grants, but make my own rules and generally am a much happier person as many who know me have told me. And still get to work on very cool shit many days.