I was asked to work on a studio-based show for TV with a fast turnaround of two days prep, one day edit, one day tidy up and get to air. Having worked on it the year before and ending up working 37 hours straight to get it done in time for broadcast even though the contract was for a max 8.5 hour day, I was hesitant, to say the least, but was assured by the hiring company my contracted hours would be stuck to by the client this time, and they did a LOT to try make sure that was the case.
But of course, I receive a call from the client at 11 PM the evening of my first day:
Client: So, what exactly are your hours on the show this year?
Me: I’ll be doing 8.5 hours, which is my contracted maximum, but we have planned things out so well, the first day was on track, and I’ve arranged a shifted pattern with the other editor so you are always covered. To be honest, there’s no reason we can’t make this schedule.
Client: Oh wow, they are keeping you on a tight leash this year, huh? It really doesn’t allow you to really be free with your time. Not like last year. It’s not great, right? I’m concerned.
Me: Well, I’d prefer to stick to the hours, and like I say, we have planned meticulously and are on a very rigorous deadline, so as long as that’s kept in mind, there’s no reason for me sticking to the agreed hours should be an issue.
Cut to three days later, and I am once again a husk of an editor, having worked three times as many hours over the two days than agreed because some clients think plans, schedules, and contracts are totally optional.
Have you ever had a client assume that you just don’t need to sleep?