Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bridge Invoice and work schedule information

Getting ready to put some things on ebay and found this invoice for the bridge model.  It's funny the things I've found and saved.  I'd probably toss all this stuff out, but it seems like some of you are interested.  Maybe?

I also didn't finish answering all of the schedule info.  In the previous post I discuss the normal film season schedule and the normal episode schedule.  The "normal" work week schedule was Monday through Friday.  The normal work day began at 6:00 a.m. and ended at 6:30 p.m. with 1/2 hour deducted for lunch--although lunch always went a little longer than that.  A lunch wagon travels with the show to feed us. If there was to be night work, then maybe the call time would be noon or later with the 12 hours extending into the night.  Back then if you worked a Saturday, you received 1.5 times your normal rate--even if you only worked that one day.  If you worked a Sunday, you received 2 times your normal rate.  It was very rare that we ever worked a Sunday and sometimes Set Dressing worked a Saturday--usually the film company did not.  Today work is based on a 5 day week--any 5 days with the 6th day at 1.5 and the 7th at 2 times your rate.

There were no sick days or vacation days.  If you showed up for work too sick to work, you got 8 hours even if you went home earlier.  It was an unfortunate way to spread the flu or colds since you would get your 8 hours anyway.  Department heads were usually on a weekly rate.  I used to say to my crew that the only way I could make more money was to go home early.  The only way they could make more money was to work late. It didn't always work out that way.  Some L.A. people had other deals like getting Saturdays "worked or not worked."  

I know the stereotype is that we are all overpaid and have all these benefits.  Truthfully, it is a very demanding business without excuses, explanation, and no reason needed for being fired.  If you are a daily hire, you are only guaranteed that day.  I often wonder if I had started at McDonald's back then instead of Magnum, if I wouldn't have been better off financially?  But am I bitter................

Another rule we had back then but has since gone away is that all department heads had to be driven while they were at work by a teamster driver.  While I won't go into the history of this policy, it was just a given back then.  I was allowed to drive from my home to work and park my car.  After that, all shopping, scouting, dressing, etc. during work hours, I was in a company car or van and being driven by a teamster driver.  No, this wasn't a luxury or even necessarily always desirable.  It just was and you didn't question it.  Over the years this rule slowly eroded and now I am able to drive a van, shop alone, and carry things.  Company vehicles and trucks are still driven by teamster drivers today who are an accepted and valued part of the company.

These are fairly standard situations for most film and TV companies.   There is potential for abuse in these intense working conditions.  Costs are high, demands are great, conditions often  extreme, egos sometimes huge, hours are long, and the work intense.  Sometimes it is difficult for the "outside" world with a 40 hour work week, regular breaks, vacation time, same location each day to always understand the hours and conditions of a film / TV company.  As someone once said to me, "I've never worked on a show that wasn't cancelled."




Marco said...

Just awesome!! Being my favourite prop it is just wonderful you did not throw this invoice away - it's too cool! It likely sounds crazy but exactly small bits of information like that provide the most fun to me. Mahalo!

James J. Walters said...

Great info Rick. That's a seriously tough, intense work schedule. But exciting also, huh? I'm sure there was never a "dull" moment. What a thrill it must have been to work on a show like this ... and on Oahu no less!

I noticed that on the invoice it says, "...used in the 2-hour episode Reunion." Wow, I never knew that "Did You See the Sunrise?" was formerly called "Reunion"!

paperwar said...


What a great piece.

How many modelminiatures did Mr. Stoltenberg finally produce for the


Dave said...

That's really cool - and a quirky souvenir from your time on the show! I bet you never thought that receipt would bring a smile to people 27 years later! Great pic and post.. Thanks Rick.

Dave from Perth

Magnum Decorator said...

Yeah, that's me Dave, Mr. Quirky! Well, if that's all it takes to please everyone, who needs those pictures that are still waiting to be scanned in India? I did just find more pictures of the big set in the Sharon Stone episode. Otherwise, I'll keep scouring the attic for more trivia (trash?) treasures. I hope some of this is going into my Karma Bank 'cause I may need to make a withdrawal soon.

You know, I don't even remember who Mr. Stoltenberg was, but I only did the beginning, middle, and finished models. I also remember making some sort of chrome battle axe for another episode--anyone remember that? What am I saying, of course you do!

As I usually say to people who ask me if it was a thrill to work on this show: Imagine being a little kid who gets job in a candy store and you can eat all the candy you want all the time? Yeah, I'm such a deep thinker sometimes.

Thanks again everyone for your comments and questions.

Aloha, Rick

Anonymous said...

Good stuff Rick,
It's a treat to see what was involved on the other side of the camera.
Question for you.What was more challenging,doing the Lost or MPI sets?

Thanks Rick

Magnum Decorator said...

You forgot to say in how many words! See the next post........

Anonymous said...

Rick, fantastic insight. Thanks for the time you spend posting this. Great stuff!

Noname said...

Really great post ! Could you link to the ebay auctions or at least let me know your seller name so that i/we can be on the lookout ?



rubber chicken said...

If I had that invoice I would have it framed and put on a wall. Honestly. : )

Anonymous said...

You mentioned how tough the business is. I'll bet its alot like the music business. Only the top dogs make any money. Everyone else can be replaced...

Thanks for the invoice for the bridge. The bridge is a very important part of MPI lore.

Luther H Gillis