So in the recent by and by, I had a meeting with the crew of a successful animated series at one of our signator studios. I advised them that it was a good idea to not do uncompensated overtime. (There's a surprise.)
My talking points:
1. Work a full eight hours. If you take a long lunch, stay over at the end of your normal eight-hour day. If you go to the dentist for an hour or two, make up the time.
2. When you work a ninth or tenth hour, put it down on the time card as the ninth or tenth hour.
3. If you come to work on Saturday, understand that it's your sith day of work and paid at time and a half.
4. If you work on Sunday, know that it's paid at double time (this assumes you've worked Monday through Saturday.)
5. Encourage others not to work uncompensated overtime.
6. Fill out your time card accurately, (It's a legal document).
7. If you are asked to "put down eight hours" on your time card when you've worked nine, ask (politely) if the person is saying you are t0 falisfy the timee card.
8. Being honest about how long it takes for you to complete a job helps the employer accurately track how long production work actually takes. (You're really not doing the company favors by lying about it).
Overall, I thought it was a good meeting. Everybody understood the usefulness of declining to work extra hours for no pay. I said I understood that there's a lot of pressure on artists to "meet the schedule" even as management shortens it. But I pointed out (as I always do), that the more they work free overtime to meet the schedule, the more the bar gets raised and the more they're cutting their own throats.
As the meeting broke up, an artist came up and said: "You know, they've cut next season's schedule and the board people on staff are already pulling all nighters to keep up with the work."
I replied that it's important for them to work an honest forty hours and do as much as they can, but not knuckle under to an unreasonable schedule by cheating. (Which, of course, is easy for me to say since I'm not the employee who's under the gun.)
As the artist left, I said that I knew it was tough for board artists to hang together and not work unpaid overtime, but if they didn't, they faced a pretty lousy reality.
I guess we'll see what happens. In the meantime, I hope to have meetings at other studios.