1998. Continued death from overwork despite conclusive evidence that 8 hour shooting days cost less/are more efficient than longer days

California state law mandates a maximum sixteen-hour work day. While a majority of “deal memos”—negotiations between the producers and the unions—are based on the twelve-hour work day, “sixteen hour days are common.  Being on the clock twenty or more hours is not unusual.”   The costs can be terrible:  “sleep deprivation affects the body and mind in the same way as alcohol intoxication, which means the high voltage electricity, pyrotechnics, cranes, Condors [a hybrid crane], car stunts and firearms are all in the hands of workers whose judgment may be seriously impaired.”  The irony of this is that, of course, nobody does their best work in the sixteenth hour.  A study by veteran line producer Robert Schneider disproved the long-held myth that “movie crews have to work a 12-hour minimum day to counter the high daily costs of stage, location, and equipment rentals.”  Schneider showed that an eight-hour shooting day is less expensive than a longer shooting day, which is inefficient because the production has to pay premium rates. He budgeted a $40 million dollar studio feature film and showed a $1 million dollar savings shooting the shorter day (Scarbrough 1998).  This empirical evidence, published in 1998, had no impact on film shooting schedules.

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