Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Welcome to Wally Wednesday everyone! Here's the newly cleaned Wally after a recent bath. If this picture says anything, it's "It's good to be clean! Wheeee!"

Another day at the office today. The show FINALLY locked its first episode (of 4), the second episode goes to the network this evening, and the third episode is nearing it's first complete assembly. I'm starting to see a light at the end of a very long tunnel, I'm just not quite sure yet if it's a train or not.

I saw this article up on the internet today. It's one of many about the state of reality television employees, specifically, the "writers" of the shows. Because reality television is notoriously non-union (at least for writers and editors), the production companies feel free to take full advantage by signing employees on a "weekly rate" - a weekly FLAT rate. This means that no many how many hours you work in a day (and a day was minimum 10 hours), or how many days you work in a row, you get paid the same flat rate. It's in gross violation of basic labor laws. When I was coming up through the ranks, doing this kind of work was called "paying your dues." We knew we were getting screwed, but there wasn't anything we could do about it. Complain and you would likely find yourself unemployed. We all feared that trying to really do anything about it, like contacting a government agency, would probably put us in a situation where we'd never be able to find work in Hollywood ever again.

I worked on a show which lasted three and a half months, and I got 9 days off in that entire time. I would often work from 8am until after 9 o'clock at night with no time off for lunch, and twice, I worked over 24 hours in a row. Yet still, my time card would be kicked back if I didn't write in a standard 10 hour work day. The rate was then divided into 40 hours regular pay and 10 hours OT so it looked like it was on the up and up.

Although I don't necessarily agree with the WGA calling what most reality writers and editors do as "akin to writing," I do agree that something needs to be done about the reality production companies taking advantage of people. I'm all for unionization. If they unionized reality tv employees, there wouldn't be as much of it. Part of its appeal to networks is that it's cheap, and the reason it's cheap is that they have no overhead with the crew. Maybe eventually, when all the unions get everything sorted out, we can get back to having decent television again.


Blogger Diane said...

Love me some Wally!

1:04 PM  
Blogger LA said...

Nice shot of Wally.

I will do my part, Edit, by not watching reality shows. Every time I get involved in one, which by modern standards is rarely, I am filled with self-loathing and regret.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Auburn Kat said...

I really don't like a lot of the reality tv shows but I do watch some of them. I definitely agree that the writers and crew should be treated better!

7:44 PM  
Blogger M-M-M-Mishy said...

Wally is so cute. How old is he now?

6:21 AM  
Blogger EditThis said...

Mish - He's 8 now!

8:06 AM  
Blogger M-M-M-Mishy said...

He is spry as a puppy.

P.S. "Spry" is a fantastically underused word.

8:30 PM  

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