Working Time On Set – 18 hours ‘Normal’ Working time?

Don't be afraid to ask your agent as much as you need about the casting

Initially I wanted to write about the budget and compensation for actors in their different position. Now I find another trend that is even more worrisome – the issue about working time.

What regular working time used to be:

When I first started working here in Thailand, regular working time was 12 hours including lunch and anything else. Working time would start from the call time – the time that production wants you to be on set – and ended when you could go home. You were always looking at the clock and hoping that 12 hours would be over and the 13th hour would start. The 13th hour meant overtime.

What is happening to regular working time now:

In recent years that has begun to change. Somehow the productions decided that the 1 hour for lunch should not be on their time. So they said 12 hours plus 1 hour lunch. Making it in fact 13 hours of working time. And many times you would not have ‘1 hour’ for lunch, but would be rushed to continue to shoot.

Guess what, it didn’t stop there. The latest posts on this and other pages have asked talent to work for the same budget as before but now for 18-20 hours. This means the production is getting half a day of work from you for free. And because the conditions are known prior to the shoot, you have no means to complain, ‘You agreed to the conditions before’.

Another trick is what they call เหมา (Mau) which means paying a lump sum including everything. This lump sum leaves it up to the production to decide how many hours you may have to work – be it 24 hours, or maybe more in future – since you ‘agreed’ to that condition.

All of this is for one reason only: to save costs for the production so that the production can make more money.

What regular working time is elsewhere:

Like Damian Mavis described so elaborately in his article in Canada, regular working time is 8 hours. Everything after that is overtime, which is paid 1.5 times the regular pay per hour.

In Thailand regular working time is 12 hours; already 4 hours more than elsewhere. We have allowed this to become 13 hours in some cases.  Production can now argue ‘this is standard’ for their production.

What happens if we do nothing:

If you accept to work under these conditions, it will only get worse. In future we will have more and more posts of 18 hours regular working time until 18 hours of regular working time has become ‘the standard’.

What we are doing:

As such, we at the AAT have concluded to only accept posts in which the working day is 12 hours including a one-hour lunch break. We hope talent and productions will help uphold this standard. And hope that other groups will help us in this cause for the betterment of industry standards for the talents.

 

Do you want to know how to become an actor / model in Thailand? Check out this video or this article How To Become an Actor in Thailand:

Do you want to learn more about me? Check out my website: http://www.robinschroeter.de

 

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