I have been a film runner for the last 2 years, and it’s the most undervalued job I’ve been unfortunate to be involved in. It’s so undervalued and underrated even that over 90 per cent of runners get paid 3,000 pounds below the minimum wage a year. There’s also an over 90 per cent chance that those runners are working 10 hours a day and 6 days a week.
The reason why the industry gets away with this is the demand for running jobs. There’re countless students university has drilled the importance of running and how pivotal a role it plays in entering the industry, that this exploitation is viewed as given. In fact, it’s not even viewed as exploitation. Students are conditioned to believe this is what they deserve. That rate is the penalty for ambition. There is no other way to break into the industry.
This rate means that countless film runners, simply don’t make enough to even begin repaying their loans. They have to live in a state of suspended financial pressure an uncertainty until an opening to progress in that company comes their way. Some might even liken it to the equivalent of waiting for a man to die, just so you can move in on his wife.
To most runners, the promise of where the job might lead blinds them from what the job is asking of them and how unappreciated (money-wise) some of those things are.
A society is as civilized as the things it nurtures or promotes, alongside the quality of life it encourages and helps its inhabitants achieve and maintain. I dread to think what the implications of this are, if runners, graduates in their field, some with honors even, are studied. No one who works that hard deserves to be subjected to such a rate and a questionable quality of life.