SAG May be Getting its Contract On

This is good news even for lowly-PA-non-actors like me, and here’s why.

Regular PA work on a film or TV set usually gets you between $150 and $250 a day. Some gigs are lower, but this is pretty standard.

Right now, work is really scarce, because the Screen Actors Guild don’t have their shit together (blame whomever you will). So the other week I get a call from a guy I’ll call PRODUCER. It goes like this:

PRODUCER: Hey Ryan. You don’t know me, but do you want to work my crappy little short film this weekend? It’s pretty low-paying, but it’s work.
ME: How low-paying is low-paying?
PRODUCER: Well, it’s … ummm … it’s low … like, low ….
RYAN: How low? Low?
PRODUCER: Yeah, it’s low.
PRODUCER: $150 for three days.
RYAN: $50 a day, eh? That’s shitty low. I’ll take it.

In my defense, it was really one pickup half-day, one return half-day, and one shoot day that he said was going to be a half day but was really 10 hours, which makes it a full day.

But still, $50 a day for a whole weekend is nasty low.

The reason people like me (who are still relatively new in town) are so desperate for work that we’ll take $50/day jobs for yahoos is that the de facto actor strike has so brought the town to its knees that this is the only way we can keep the money coming in. And I have a wife. She likes things like eating and paying rent. Me, I can do without those things. She’s the picky one.

So the SAG stupidity is keeping the studios from starting new shows, which means the old, experienced PAs are only working 12 days a month instead of 20, the less experienced PAs are working 3 days instead of 12, and forget breaking in right now unless a UPM or AD slept with your mother about nine months before you were born.

It’s a great time, I tell ya.

Next time I’ll tell you why you DON’T want to work these $50/day jobs.
Ryan Elainska