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Want crunch to go better? Pay for it

In a new feature which lists the top 10 things game development can learn from film production, producer Tess Jones notes that the movie biz's "golden time" means producers avoid overtime.
In a new feature which lists the top 10 things game development can learn from film production, producer Tess Jones notes that the movie biz's "golden time" means producers avoid overtime. "When a film crew member hears the words 'Golden Time' they will either shudder or smile. The term refers to the large salary jump crew members earn when hitting the 16th hour of work on a given day," writes Jones. "At 16 hours, many crew contracts hit paydirt, receiving an entire day's salary for hours 16 through 20, regardless if they work 1 minute or 4 hours." This has two major benefits, she argues: the creative energy comes flowing back onto the set, and producers avoid triggering golden time if they can -- for obvious reasons. "At the end of the day, the producers are responsible for overages, and they do everything in their power to avoid them. If a crew goes over, it is the producer that is punished, incentivizing them to do everything they can to effectively manage the work hours of their crew." "I'll leave it up to you to decide which system is better or worse," writes Jones. "Crunch is loved by some, hated by others. Film golden time has a similar split. Crunch can drive up quality, or demoralize a team." "One thing is clear, however. In the film industry, crew members are mandatorily and openly compensated for their extra effort. If a film goes into overages, it falls squarely on the shoulders of the producer and management, instead of punishing team members for unexpected events," she notes. "Does this incentivize producers to avoid long hours at all costs? You bet. Does the crew appreciate this and work harder for it? Probably." The full feature, which lists nine more things the game industry could learn from film, is live now on Gamasutra. -- Photo by Giorgio Monteforti

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