I don’t complain about much. I’m good with long hours, I don’t mind working a little harder to get a show in good shape and turned in on time. I can even handle parking blocks or even miles from a location and cramming into a shuttle with 7-23 other people to get to set.
Being asked to work as a local states away from home, however, bugs me.
What that means is finding (and paying for) a place to stay when you’re many hours from home, sometimes out of state or even the country working on a project. It’s not uncommon in reality’s non-union universe, as it saves the production company money on their most tightly-budgeted shows.
Of course, for most people, it means shelling out for rent or hotel out of their own pocket. That is, unless they happen to have an accommodating friend or relative near location who’s willing to put them up for weeks or months as goodwill slowly wanes after too many nights of rattling keys in the lock at two in the morning.
I actually enjoy the road, though I’ve become fairly post-production-centric as the years have rolled by. I live on the edge of Los Angeles, but have been put up on location over the years in great places like New York, Northern California, Vancouver, Nashville and even Texas on shows that not only provided me with a roof over my head during production, but usually a polite per diem (usually $30-40/day) to cover the cost of eating and purchasing incidentals.
It can be a lot of fun to be away from your hometown, but unless you’re able to secure a rate that makes it worth it to you, working as a local is, in my opinion, best left to the actual locals.
Reality friends: Have you had great or tough experiences working as a local or hiring people willing to work as locals?
Troy DeVolld is a Larry Brody buddy and one of the masters of the reality TV genre. This article originally appeared on his Reality TV blog. And while you’re thinking about him, why not buy his book, Reality TV: An Insider’s Guide to TV’s Hottest Market?