Nothing is farther from the truth. I worked on film sets for almost 2 decades, Film and Fiction for TV as well as commercials. One of the sayings we have in the business is "Hurry Up and Wait". Depending on your job on set, there are down times, long waits, for lighting setups and even longer for any stunts setup, special effects or setting up squibs for scripted shootout victims.
Location shooting has been the preferred way for some time now and that means you end up in situations that are at times difficult to withstand and far from luxurious.
I'll give you an example. Here is a glimpse at a typical day in August in Toronto, during a heat wave. It actually happened and so it's a great example.
We are on location for 3 days, in a very fancy home, shooting a night scene in a large richly furnished living room with windows onto the gardens. The house will be entirely covered by a large black tent. No natural light will enter the room and the electrics will light the room. The Grips will lay the track and by the time we are ready to shoot, there is barely room to stand and do your job on set. The set is hot because no air gets in and the HMI's used to light the scene generate serious heat. Can't have AC for clean sound recording. During a fight scene, the amount of body heat and sweat that can fill a set such as the one I've described, is something a banker or a clerk will never know and should be grateful for.
Most thrillers and action films are shot at night. Night is mysterious compared to day and so working in film means you will spend most nights in smelly alleys, corridors of decommissioned hospital wings or industrial wastelands. You will eat more dirt and sand than you ever imagined was possible if you happen to be shooting a war film, with choppers going.
Shooting outdoors in summer and winter alike is a challenge for all on a film set. All the special winter gear on the market, modern fabrics that are supposed to protect us from extreme climate conditions, they don't work when you are on location shooting a film outdoors in winter. Those special parkas and boots work fine if you are on the move and having a normal person kind of day, which means you wouldn't stay out for 18 + hours in the cold all night and into the wee hours of the morning, then head home during morning rush hour to get into your cold empty bed, since your partner has already left for their "normal" boring job, just to do it all over again in exactly 6 hours from when you left the film set and got into yr car. I used to get 6 hours turnaround, it happened. I believe 8 is more humane, especially when there is traveling involved to locations out of town.
Shooting in natural settings in summer for those epic scenes with Indians on the shorelines of the Of Georgian Bay, for example. Beautiful setting. Unfortunately, you will be eaten alive by all kinds of flying specimens, during day time and night time, deer flies and mosquitoes, they take turns.
The hours are long, the locations and weather conditions can be seriously overwhelming at times.
I have worked in locations that were industrial wastelands, looks great on film, however I am still wondering 20 years later, what that stuff was that covered the ground in areas at the old decommissioned Silos on Toronto's lakefront. The reason I still think about it is that that "stuff" gooey stuff to be exact, actually ate away at the 3 inch heel and sole of my steal toed work boots, compulsory footwear on a film set, all year round.
When you work in film and you are about to start a new film or a new TV Series, say goodbye to your friends, wife, husbands, kids and normal life for the entire shoot.
Once you are on the production, you eat, sleep and literally shit when they tell you to.
The days are long and you will work through most nights, so say goodbye to sex as well, at least with your regular mate that is. There is a reason why there are so many divorces and well documented drug and alcohol abuse in the film industry and not exclusive to the actors on set either. Actually the actors have it pretty cushy compared to the crew. They get to go warm up or cool down in their trailers, in between scenes, during lighting setups.
The fact is that when you decide to work in film, the moment you step on that set you are married to the production and to the Director in my case. The men in my life were never able to handle my nocturnal absences during the years I worked in film. Working in film is not for everyone and that is an understatement. You need to love it, want it more than anything else in your life at that moment and for as long as it takes and by the time it's over, you go cold turkey and your body is screaming to let it rest. Glamour features very little in the life of those who work in film and we only get to dress up nice for the wrap party !
I still loved every minute of it as much as it hurt at times.