Pros and Cons of Being a Day Call

People who day call are vital to the industry, especially a skilled one. However, being one can be an awesome experience or a terrible one. In general it depends greatly on you and your personality. At the time of writing this, I’m currently day calling in the camera department. If you’re interested in using FilmLocal to help you find day calls, I’d suggest signing up and joining our Cast List or Crew List! Before we get into this pros and cons list, let’s answer the burning questions some of you may have.

What is a day call?

A day caller is the unsung hero that comes to save a troubled production, and it’s crew, from the heavy burden of a huge day or a sick member. Essentially, they’re someone who isn’t hired on for the entire duration of a show, but only comes in when they’re needed. This can be when additional crew is required or one of the main crew members is unavailable for the day. You don’t have any guaranteed days and are typically hired on for a couple weeks to only a single day at a time. Sometimes, you won’t even get hired until the day before. For the most part, you won’t be on the production’s crew list and sometimes you won’t even be invited to the wrap party! Now, let’s talk about the pros and cons.

A day call sleeping in

This is you sleeping in on Monday.

Pros of Being a Day Caller

  • No Commitment – You get to choose the days you work! Don’t like Mondays? Sleep in. Have plans Friday night? Take the day off! It’s all up to you.
  • Less Responsibility – Since you’re only there for one day, you won’t have to answer any of the tough questions. Your job starts and ends with that day.
  • Big Days – When a show needs additional crew, it usual means the production will be shooting bigger scenes. That means you get to be there for all the exciting stuff and skip the days that are just talking heads. For example; stunts can only happen a few times at most so a director will want to get as many angles on it as possible, that’s why they’ll call in additional camera crews.
  • Working With Friends – Unless your city is super busy, it’s usually someone you’ve already worked with before calling you to come in. That means you won’t be working with complete strangers for the whole day.
  • Work on Multiple Productions – Your free to work on as many shows you want. In theory, you can work on a different product everyday of the week. It’s a great way to network and meet new people in your industry as well as experience different shows.

Cons of Being a Day Caller

  • No Guaranteed Work – Depending on the city you live in and the time of year, there can be a ton of work or absolutely no work. You can go months without ever stepping foot on set and that can hurt your bank account.
  • Can Be Messy – Everyday you’re jumping into a new situation. If you don’t get enough time to prep and learn where and what your gear is, you will be flailing around trying to figure out what’s going on. 
  • Big Days Can Be Long/Stressful –  Although you only come in on big days, that can be the longest days as well. Also, a lot of money could be on the line or the stunt might be extremely dangerous. Tensions will be high and margin for error extremely limited.
  • Expendable – You have no contract to the show. If you screw up and cause the crew not to like you, you won’t be coming back.
  • Lose Personal Items – Anything can happen onset so you always have to be prepared. If you bring a lot of your own gear and wardrobe you better keep track of it! You might forget to put something back in your bag at the end of the day, and if you never go back on that production, chances are you won’t get it back.

Will You Day Call?

It takes a certain individual to start day calling. Let us know your thoughts on being a day call and if you’ve ever done one before!

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