A hostage situation

While working on this film, that has a very tight budget, a person in the cast needed the night off to go to an event for a previous project. It seems our schedule changed and this person was now needed to shoot on the event night, and we had a conflict.

We were all on weekly contracts which means the movie owns your time for the weeks of the film. They can call you in when they need you. In a low budget film this makes sense because schedule changes like this can save them money.

What this person did though was call the set before the work day and negotiate their wrap time for that day. In order to be on time for the event, their work day had to be done by 5. No one wants an angry actor on set, so the 1st AD and the Director and the Producer usually make their best effort to accommodate this kind of thing, and, after all, everyone understands the importance of publicity for their projects. They tried but an early departure on this day could not be accommodated, we had a full day of shooting ahead. And yet… this person got their way.

How did they get their way? By not even coming in until the Producer agreed to a timely release. After much shouting, this person came in and went to work late and finished early due to taking the set hostage.

I didn’t know any of this before it happened. I just knew that we stopped shooting the scene we were on and they sent me home. I only found out the next day that this all transpired.

So I ask you, faced with the same situation, What would you do? We need to take advantage of those opportunities for self promotion where we can right? We also need to be good to the projects we take on, if you sign a weekly contract you’ve agreed that the film’s schedule is your schedule for that week. What of your word?

How do you feel about using the only leverage you have it that situation? Stopping everything until you get what you want is surely a way to make the powers deal with you.

No, I’m not naming the person that did this, it’s not important. The question they create though, is. We know a well placed photo or mention can make your star rise, but what about the reputation you create with this kind of behaviour? Do you believe in the ripple effect, or the short term memory of the biz?

What do you think?