Oscar-winning cinematographers John Toll, Roger Deakins, Emmanuel Lubezki, and Erik Messerschmidt, along with 11 other top cinematographers, recently penned an open letter to the member companies of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The letter addresses the brutally long work hours of those on set and “the hazards of unsafe working hours.”

Their letter was also signed by John Lindley, president of the International Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600. 

The goal is clear and simple, and they say change has to happen now. They even have an informative video of how dangerous these long hours can be. 

Life on set regularly consists of 14-hour days, sometimes even longer. The IATSE and the AMPTP are actively negotiating a new contract, and want to make sure this is addressed inside. 

You can read the open letter on Deadline.

It starts, “We are Local 600 Directors of Photography who are writing to express our ongoing concern about the hazards of unsafe working hours, a practice that continues despite all the medical and indisputable evidence of the harm caused by fatigue.”

They cite the numerous car accidents that have happened this way. 

They demand that “employers not treat our members like machines that can just work until they are broken and then be replaced.”

They also assert they need rest, saying, “Everyone needs and deserves a real and meaningful rest period between shifts to provide for a decent night’s sleep. We know that long and irregular hours can come at a cost, contributing to unhealthy outcomes and higher health costs.” 

Hopefully, this will open new conversations about expectations on set days and the way the industry regularly goes into overtime and extended hours. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.