When you spend 12 hours (or more) working, a soft pillow and a warm bed are your best friends at the end of the day. That’s until you hear, “Hey, we’re going out for drinks, you should come!”
You stop to consider the situation at hand: a night full of rest or a belly full of beer. What do you do?
3 Reasons to Hit the Bar
There’s no shame in deciding to go out with the crew for a drink — and here are three reasons why it’s actually a good idea:
The number one way you get another job in the film industry is word-of-mouth and having connections. Going out for a couple drinks with crew is a great way to establish these connections in a low-profile environment.
Most of the time that crew end up going out for drinks, they end up talking shop. That’s a prime opportunity for you to share your experience, your passions and your ambitions. If at least one crew member calls you in a few months because they remembered that you wanted to be a Gaffer and have a job for you, that drink was worth it.
Unless you don’t like going out at all, this is a real chance for you to unwind and have some fun after long days. Filmmaking is arduous, stressful and you spend a lot of the day dealing with large amounts of pressure. Having a beer with friends is a nice elixir at the end of the day.
Don’t think that because you are working that you can’t have fun at all. It’s all control. As long as you don’t go overboard, unwinding appropriately at the end of the day is OK.
Crews that work best together have established a strong bond of teamwork and that doesn’t happen overnight. But that teamwork has to start somewhere — perhaps over a drink or two.
I’m sorry to say, but there are countless numbers of people who are great at every job on a film set. What makes you stand out is how you get along with others you’re working with. A crew that can joke with each other as friends, but also work hard as colleagues, is going to be on a lot of projects together.
3 Reasons to Hit the Sack
On the flip side of things, going out to the bar can be a bad idea. Here are three reasons why choosing to head home instead will benefit you more:
When working 12 hour days, you barely have time to get enough sleep as it is. If you work over 12 hours and go out, you’re going to be tired the next morning. There’s a good reason why coffee is a constant requirement at craft services.
Even if you have the day off the next day, you risk spending it laying in bed, getting over a hangover, or being unproductive when you should be using it to re-energize yourself and do daily household tasks like laundry.
Bars, clubs, restaurants — they all cost money. If you’re working for peanuts on a low-budget shoot, is it worth spending a sizable part of your paycheck for a couple of drinks?
Being responsible with your money is part of being a professional. If you’re making tons of money on the job, but have no work lined up, it’s best to hold onto the dollars. If you’re working for cheap and struggling to make ends meet, blowing cash on a super mug of beer isn’t being fiscally responsible.
On a few contracts I’ve signed, there’s been a clause that states using alcohol and drugs is irresponsible set behavior. I agree wholeheartedly. You shouldn’t be drinking, smoking, blowing, snorting, sniffling, snogging — whatever — while working.
What about after hours? Take this into consideration: If you drink too much, show up hungover and can’t do your job appropriately, you will not be a professional. The easiest way to avoid this? Don’t give into any vices at all — stay away from the bars.
What should you do?
For the best of both worlds, it helps to set a deadline on how long you’ll stay out and to restrict the amount of drinks to one or two.
If you do end up having more drinks (or whatever vice, for that matter) know your limits. And more importantly, practice those limits.
Part of the reason that working in the film industry is so fun is because of the people you work with and the times you spend with them.
I don’t like to sacrifice that part of the job and you shouldn’t either. You don’t have to go out every night of a film, but give yourself the chance to make some memories.
And if you’re shooting on location, well, what else do you have to do?
Note: In no way do I condone binge drinking or drinking to excess. Always drink responsibly and always make sure you have a sober, safe ride home. Finally, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!