This is me after 'negotiating' for film drivers minimum work and pay conditions.
I get budgets and the exhorbitant costs of productions but they do know we get to see their box office takings right?! Drivers are earning less an hour than they were 10 years ago and some productions still try to drive down our minimum work conditions. Then there are those who take on new inexperienced drivers because they can pay them much less and the new drivers don't know any different and would do it for even less just to get their foot in the studio door.
This financially and professionally undermines the dedicated career film drivers who've got years of on and off set experience, multiple licenses and endorsements and put themselves through further training between gigs.
My motives for creating and pushing the Film Drivers waka has been questioned lately and it's the same now as a driver as it was when I was a payroll accountant - so that crew get what they're entitled to, and that's also why I do all the admin for any drivers I represent. For free.
Now - any advice for moisturiser?!
Everytime we swing down country, the time on the ferry and how it affects our Log Books debate comes up. Some know the online rules, others - what they've been told, but then there are some who've been told different things from officers when they've been pulled up. Here is what's online fyi...
Last night was our last swing from location back to studio for this gig. I'm not sure how the planets were aligned last night but there was some weird juju across the whole city. Not only did we have our own challenges but we passed a 5 car concertina with emergency services everywhere then the next swing one of our drivers had to dodge a body on the motorway. A body! What's that about?! When I went past 15 minute later, it looked like all the emergency services had just moved themselves from one side of the motorway to the other.
Weirdest thing of all though is there's no mention of either event in the news.
It was so heart warming to be part of such a tight and experienced team where our Captain, Anna Low @xenahellwoman was impeccable with her calmness and positivity and trust in her teams ability, meaning every one of us got to contribute to solving the dilemmas of the night.
Today I miss them all already.
90% of our drivers work mainly in the film industry with hustles on the side. We enjoy what we do and who we do it with. No matter what department we're working in, no two days are the same and that's what most of us are attracted to, rising to the challenges and reveling in the adventures. It sounds exotic but it's no different from other industries where we work long hours, often at night and in the rain with everyone pitching in to wrap and set up unit and tech bases, drive the same route a hundred times a day in a shuttle, or sit for hours in a vehicle waiting for cast members or ATL's. But we do this often in the most picturesque locations in New Zealand, which is what makes it such an attractive and addictive option for drivers.
One of the aims of the NZ Film Drivers Alliance is to offer training modules so everyone's on the same page. A brief overview of powering up a few weeks ago was revealing to even some of our most experienced drivers so that's where we're going to start.
So, if you're already a film driver, based anywhere in New Zealand, and want to be listed, go here.
If you're interested in becoming a film driver, go to the same place and we'll call you to talk through your driving experience and give an overview of what we do.
And if you need experienced, trained drivers for any department, you're welcome...
What did you do on your day off I hear you ask?
I've barely had time to do laundry since we got back from being on location down south for a month. In filmworld going on location can go all manner of ways but for me, this was another memorable one that I enjoyed every second of. I got to drive 19 vastly different vehicles including a herocar. Stuff got broke, fixed, lost, found, picked up, delivered and moved around making every day different and the whole time away an epic adventure.
Best of all, I got to be away with one of my dearest friends, Anna, making it more like a holiday with paid activities!
As a swing driver, usually we drive whatever truck to wherever then get flown back for another truck or home till the end of filming, then we get flown in to swing them back.
Sometimes we're lucky enough to be kept on location for the whole gig but we have to be prepared to do almost anything and I'm always in, steel caps and all.
On this one we've done cleaning, paperwork, shopping, security, airport runs, traffic control and were even extras driving hero cars yesterday - all in temperatures that haven't gone above 5°.
When you have a thoughtful, generous boss, tight team, and stellar accommodation, it feels less mahi and more adventure.
We finish next weekend and I'm sad already...
Swing drivers are often not classed as crew because our hours are on either side of call and wrap times so we're not usually included in catering. On this gig we were told in no uncertain terms that we were to eat with everyone else AND THEN we were asked our sizes for the crew hoodie!
In our world, it doesn't get much better than this...
We swung down country yesterday but when we arrived there was only mist so imagine our delight when we woke up to this view! Nobody needs to tell us how lucky we are. Personally I've got bruises from pinching myself every single day.
Isn't it lucky the only frock I brought for Frock Fridays was my tartan?!
You can't see the wind buffeting our trucks but boy, we can feel it. It's going to be a grim ferry crossing ! Lucky we always check our loads are secure before we drive...