Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Brief Tale of Uncompensated Overtime


The morning found me at DreamWorks (doing well, thank you), where I had a long and interesting chat with one of DW's story artists. He told me that ten years ago, he was boarding on a Guild-shop CGI epic, and having a tough time pleasing the director:

I was picking up the vibe from him that he wasn't super happy with my work. They gave me a long and pretty complex sequence, and a pretty short deadline. I figured it was all on the line, I had to get the sequence to work, so I lived at the studio, worked something like 48 hours straight, pitched the boards -- which went over, thank God -- then went home and crashed.

I fell asleep in a chair, but I'd been living on diet Coke, caffeinating myself, and I jerked awake, pitched over on my face and really banged up my ankle. When I went back to the studio and the director was patting me on the back, I was hobbling around on crutches.

Has the statute of limitations on the overtime I never collected run out?

I told him yeah, the time-limitation had run out. (Especially since it was, like, ten years ago.)

This is a type of uncompensated o.t. that everyone does every now and again. I know I did some at Filmation. Fear, paranoia and large jolts of caffeine sometimes make you violate Guild contracts and labor laws with an unheeding abandon. In television more than features, it can go on for looong periods of time. I work to stop it when I can. Sometimes I'm more successful than other times.


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