“Big Little Lies” is a dramatic television mini-series based on a 2014 New York Times best-selling novel by Liane Moriarty. The television mini-series premiered on HBO in February of 2017 and this 7-episode mini-series was an instant hit. With a cast as powerful as the content of the show, it came as no surprise that it won 8 of the 16 Emmy Award Nominations and also took home numerous Golden Globe Awards. The powerhouse cast is comprised of big names such as Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley. The storyline closely follows the lives of 3 mothers tangled in their own emotional turmoil and their close friends and acquaintances in an affluent community in Monterey, California. The show tackles themes of emotional and physical abuse and centers around a murder investigation.
The first season of this show was no small feat to produce, with many of our Local 399 Drivers and Location Professionals working on the production. The production split its time between Los Angeles and Monterey to help tell the story of these character’s lives. What originally was intended to be a one-season mini-series, following the original novel’s plot line, began filming season 2 in March of 2018. It has been reported that the cast enjoyed working together on the production so much so that they continued the storyline past the novel’s ending and the premiere of the 2nd season will air in March of 2019 with the addition of A-list Cast Member, Meryl Streep.
Due to this production starting off as a mini-series, with no intention to produce a 2nd season, the original Driver rates for this show were set at Movie of the Week rates. However, with the series getting picked up for a second season, Secretary-Treasurer Steve Dayan and President Kenny Farnell filed a grievance on behalf of our Drivers for retro pay because our 399 Drivers that worked on the 1st season should have received episodic rates for season 1 instead of MOW Rates because the Company produced an unexpected 2nd season.
Local 399 Driver Jorge Vasquez explained, “The cast was awesome and easy to work with, and with such a popular cast, I’m glad they did a second season and hope they come back for another. We were very surprised to see another season since it was supposed to be a one-season mini-series. Thanks to our Local 399 Representatives backing us up at the Union, the retro checks were a great surprise, since we go from show to show and at times once the show is over we don’t think about our rates. The second season has just made us all come back and feel like we never left. Kind of like a family reunion.”
After a couple months of negotiating with the company Dayan and Farnell were able to settle the grievance and won over $200,000 in wages to be paid retroactively back to our Local 399 Drivers on that show. The checks the Drivers received ranged in amounts based on how long they worked on the initial season.
“I’m beyond excited that our Members were able to take home some extra cash for their much-deserved efforts on such a highly acclaimed show. In light of the changes to the show’s original schedule, our Members deserved to be made whole and paid the proper Episodic rates. We are grateful to the company for their efforts to correct this situation quickly and recognize that their crewmembers are just as important as the cast when it comes to bringing a television show to life.” – Secretary-Treasurer Steve Dayan.
After receiving and processing the checks from the Company, Dayan and Farnell visited the Basecamp of Big Little Lies 2 at Zuma Beach to hand out some of the checks to Drivers that are still working on the production in its second season.
“It’s a great day when you can visit a show and hand out checks to your Members,” said Teamsters Local 399 President Kenny Farnell.
“I loved working on Season 1 of “Big Little Lies”, it was a lot of fun and I was proud that I could contribute in any way to the production. It was fun to film both here in Los Angeles and in the beautiful city of Monterey, where we were often met with such appreciation from the Locals for showcasing their beautiful town and supporting their Local Businesses.” Teamsters Local 399 Driver Patsy Rust.
When asked about the excitement surrounding being awarded a check for her time working on Season 1, she replied, “I was totally surprised by getting a check for my time working on Season 1 of “Big Little Lies”. It was totally unexpected. This additional check helped me pay for my upcoming vacation to visit my family in Sonoma County to attend my Brother’s wedding.” Patsy continued, “I really feel represented now by my Local and our Business Agents. I have never had this much contact with the Union until the last couple years. It has caused me to attend more meetings and try to get involved where I can because I’m really happy to be a Teamster now and grateful for those at the Union Hall that work to support us each and every day.”
“The extra cash will sure make this summer a lot easier on my family since the kids never stop and the bills keep coming; working or not,” said Jorge Vasquez. “Being a part of the Union has been a life changing experience for me and my family, without it I don’t think we’d be able to have and experience the things we have so far. Everyone at the Union Hall is very personable, making me really feel comfortable to talk to anyone and I am not afraid to ask questions at anytime. It was great to see Steve and Kenny come out and give us our checks in person other than just a check in the mail. Thanks for all you do behind the scenes. The things Members don’t often see.”
The second season of “Big Little Lies” is set to premiere in 2019. As the production continues to film we wish every cast and crew Members a safe and fun shoot. We hope that each of the Drivers that were awarded a retro check will be able to enjoy the extra cash this summer. If you worked on “Big Little Lies” Season 1 as a Driver and believe you should be receiving a check but have yet to receive one, please contact Business Agent Kenny Farnell at the Union Hall: 818-985-7374 or email him: KFarnell@ht399.org.