Staying on set for long hours is dangerous, and it's going to kill people.
What's the longest you've ever stayed on set? I think I'm at 14 hours, but I have a friend who told me about a few 18-hour days that made my skin crawl.
Working in Hollywood is getting dangerous, and it may have always been that way. Crews are starting later, working longer, and it's affecting everyone. I have so many friends who have spoken to me about falling asleep on the drive home, or having to pull over and nap in their car, just to have to turn around and go back to work.
Things have to change, and one Instagram account is helping sound the alarm by publishing these kinds of stories for all to see.
"IATSE Stories" is run by Ben Gottlieb, a lighting technician who wanted to show his support for his union, but also hold the industry accountable. It features anonymous stories of those on set. DMs are open.
The stories shown on the page are startling. It features tales of long days, mental health strains, quick turnarounds, and abusive behavior. In some quick chats I had with others about this story, I heard stories about sets that run out of craft services because people are taking every meal there, productions that skip second meals, and crew sleeping in their cars rather than risk the drive home.
These practices are atrocious, but in an industry where these jobs are competitive and hard to find, they've become commonplace and accepted.
So what can be done to change? The unions need to step in and support their workers. There has to be accountability on set, and with studios and production houses as well. This is not stood for when it comes to the actors, and it cannot be put onto the crew as if they are less human, or less worthy.
If you have these kinds of stories, we encourage you to reach out to IATSE Stories and speak out.