I was on a commercial shoot for Nickelodeon. We shot in NJ. The local company that hired me (in NYC) treated me well, but the producers from LA and her team treated me like complete garbage. My call was at 2 or 3 am. Which I get, early calls are a thing they suck, but you push through. I was way over my 12 hours and we were in a wide shot. I knew this because the 2nd AD had us locking down the set so no one would walk in. The LA production coordinator walks in as they’re filming and says the producer wants chairs for her and her friends. We are in a wide shot. He is now in frame. I tell him we’re in a wide and he yells while raising his hand like he’s about to swat me, “I swear to Christ if you don’t get those fucking chairs.” I stand up and run to wear the chairs are. He needs 6. Mind you this man isn’t carrying anything. He will not help me. He makes me walk across set to give this producer and her friends chairs. I hand her the chairs and she goes off on me. “We’re in a wide. What the fuck are you doing?” I try to explain and she calls me an idiot and says she’ll “hold my chairs”
I’m a 31 year old man. I don’t care who you are, don’t talk to me like that. Don’t physically threaten me for some fun game of yours. I called out the LA Production Coordinator on his shit, to which he half heartedly apologized, and said the producer pays the bills and I have to do whatever she says. She wanted chairs. She changed her mind. She’s mad. She’s in the right no matter what. He didn’t even address the fact that he physically threatened me. If I had stuck to locking down the set and not listened to him would he have hit me? I was sent home an hour or two later. This was in July. The didn’t pay me until October and that was only after threatening to report them to the city for non payment. I was paid very little and most companies will work me for 20 hours straight and get away with paying late or trying to ghost and not pay at all. Now, I have worked on shows with amazing people. And those are the people I enjoy going to work for and will always answer the phone for. But more and more I’m meeting people that are abusive and will threaten you if you try and go against them.
This needs to stop. Every other department has unions. Why can’t production assistants?The whole attitude of low ball pay and denying over time. I’ve seen people post on crew hire groups that there are than sands of PA’s that will do the job for less so stop thinking you’re special and take what you’re given. From now on, if you wanna pay me the minimum and treat me like garbage, you’ll get minimum effort.