Flexible working experts Timewise and union Bectu Vision have released an in-depth feasibility study that assesses the financial implications of a shorter working day for scripted drama production.

Supported by Screen Scotland, the BBC and the Film and TV Charity, the report analyses the cost and schedule implications for eight-hour day versus the standard 10 day in film and scripted drama.

Eight-hour day is possible in film and TV production – report

A new report assesses the financial implications of a shorter working day

The report, titled ‘Designing a blueprint for a shorter working day in film and scripted drama’, finds that there is a general consensus across the industry that working hours are too long and unsustainable in film and television.

It reported that, in principle, it is commercially viable to extend a production schedule to reduce daily working hours from 10 to 8. This would increase the overall production costs by an estimated 4%.

To make this work, the report says that the industry needs to challenge the myths that it isn’t possible to reduce working patterns. Being more mindful in the commissioning and prep of productions including earlier scripts is also key.

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Timewise and Bectu Vision have recommended that industry partners support a trial production where the shorter day would run across all departments.

Timewise has had success in other workplaces thought to be ‘impossible to flex’ in, including nursing, retail, media newsrooms, teaching and construction sites. All face similar recruitment, retention and wellbeing challenges.

The project backers, BBC and Screen Scotland, are currently considering the findings from the trial.

Emma Stewart MBE, co-founder of Timewise, who has a background in film and TV said: “We have to face facts: current working patterns mean we slam the door in the face of inclusion. You instantly lose people with family commitments, caring duties, and the need to balance anything else in life. The irony? Our dynamic creative sector thrives on diversity and the art of the possible. We are the experts at imagination and making dreams come true. It will cost a production just 4% more, to create a better work life balance for staff. It is a price worth paying.”

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