Recently, Atlanta Film and TV chatted with an anonymous non - member of IATSE, who we’ll call “AJ.” AJ is a crew member who has worked on multiple film and television productions throughout Atlanta. AJ has shared with us what on-set work conditions are like for crew. And what their hopes would be regarding a possible strike.
According to No Film School, IATSE is the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts. IATSE is a labor union that represents over 140,000 professionals in all of the categories above. These types of workers are called "below-the-line" workers in the industry—"above-the-line" workers referring to on-screen talent, directors, producers, and writers.
Atlanta Film and TV: Can you give us some background about how everything started?
AJ: "I am not sure of the specifics. However, I believe it started when the pandemic hit. And, because of COVID, theaters shut down, and films were released onto streaming platforms. Now, working as a crew member, the hours are worse than they were before. I recently worked on a production for HULU and worked 16-17 hours. Most film and television productions now do what is called, 'French Hours,' where the film and television crew cannot easily walk away for lunch or breaks.
Atlanta Film and TV: Why are you passionate about this issue?
AJ: "Like other industries, we should have breaks and rest because it's a human right. I have had the luxury to be on a production notorious for long days in the woods. I worked on this production for 10 hours a day, with small breaks in the middle of the day. The film crew made our days, and I would feel good at the end of the day, vs. feeling defeated, exhausted, and scared to drive home because I was tired or dehydrated."
Atlanta Film and TV: What are the work conditions like for those who are members?
AJ: "Some of the work conditions are slightly better than others. I am a PA under the AD department, and I am one of the last people to leave. However, members who work in the costume department have longer days because they have a 3-hour pre-call time. Even though we may be shooting for 10 hours, in actuality we work 12 to 17 hours."
Atlanta Film and TV: What do you think the end goal of the movement will be?
AJ: "To be human. To rest, enjoy weekends and be able to attend family events, and be happier with film. I love the people I work with, and I'd rather be working on a production on any given day. However, I feel we would love it more if the conditions were better."
Atlanta Film and TV: What do you want to happen?
AJ: "I would love to be able to get more rest, and wouldn't want to work on days that are called "Fraturdays." I would like to have two full days off, and I would love to feel good working daily on a production instead of being overly stressed and tired."
For more information regarding IATSE regarding their possible strike, click here.