Hollywood sets: What it’s like working 14-hour days, and whether a strike is coming

After a COVID hiatus, Hollywood productions are now trying to make up for lost time and fulfill the endless desire for new content across streaming platforms. And it’s taking a big toll on the people making that content. One of the biggest unions is the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage (IATSE), which represents set designers, lighting technicians, and make-up artists. Its members complain of long shifts with no meal breaks and few days off to recuperate. 

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, a new Instagram account called IATSE Stories is filled with tales of 14 to 16-hour work days, and people so overworked that they become delirious or self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. One person claims to have worked 76 days straight. The account isn’t the work of the union, but the IATSE is now negotiating its contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).