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Meals on set

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Daniel StoneMeals on set
by on Jun 1, 2015 at 1:55:58 am

Hey guys,

I've had a few ADs question our meal rules, so I'd love to see what others are doing in terms of crew meals on set.

For a typical during-business-hours shoot, we usually do an optional "breakfast" (half hour before first call), an hour-long "lunch" (first meal) 4 hours after call and a "take away" dinner after wrap, provided we go at least another 4 hours.

A few ADs have told me that breakfast, the last meal and a full hour for lunch are unnecessary.

Thanks for your thoughts!


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Todd TerryRe: Meals on set
by on Jun 1, 2015 at 2:14:17 am
Last Edited By Todd Terry on Jun 1, 2015 at 2:17:20 am

Seriously? Breakfast?? And before the call?

Man, crews must love you.

In 20+ years as a producer (on my puny-budget productions) and before that about 10 years as a working actor (on other peoples' ginormous-budget productions) I've never offered or been offered a meal available before a call.

Or after one.

In your situation, you'd normally be expected to provide lunch only.

I'm not saying it's not a super nice thing to do, or telling you to stop doing it... but it's pretty unheard of. In cases where budgets are tight, crews certainly won't arrive expecting that.

Well... correction... the ones that worked for you before probably will now... ha.

T2

P.S. Makes me wonder what your craft services table looks like... the food bar at Sizzler??

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Daniel StoneRe: Meals on set
by on Jun 1, 2015 at 2:26:33 am

Funny thing is, the expectations thing is what's making me want to stop. The last commercial we shot, a few guys charged me meal penalties for not providing a last meal after four hours. When I brought it up, they removed the charge but said, "It's just that you guys usually provide an end meal." I've found that happens with bonuses, too. Sometimes I'll throw some hard workers an additional $50 or so for going above and beyond on a shoot. Sure enough, this usually causes a sudden rate increase for the next shoot.

Thanks for the input, Todd!



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Todd TerryRe: Meals on set
by on Jun 1, 2015 at 2:52:27 am

Yeah, given the opportunity to take advantage, people will.

[Daniel Stone] "this usually causes a sudden rate increase for the next shoot."

That's another thing we do differently, apparently. I never ask someone what their rate is. I tell them what I will pay... and if they want the gig, then they can take it. If not, that's fine, too. That goes for crew, talent, whomever. Actors, especially, are used to asking "What's the dayrate?" rather than telling you theirs.

And to be honest, I usually offer a more-than-fair rate... generous, even. Questioning that has been known to bite people. We had a actor we used quite a bit for a continuing commercial thing. I paid him as much as I could (well well above average for this market), becuase I've been an actor myself and I know how it is and that's just fair. Well, when he started whining about wanting more, I fixed that. I certainly don't want someone to think he's being paid too little for what we are getting... so he's not anymore. Paid, that is. Movin' on.

The only time I'll be dictated rates is when I have to be, usually with higher-end talent that can command the rates they want or union positions where the rates are set. Sometimes though that is to our advantage, not theirs. We just did a campaign of several commercials and I used a national-level voice actor as the narrator. I paid him his rate, union scale, because that's what he gets. In reality, if I was in position just to offer him the gig with no agent or union or signatory hoops to jump through, I'd have probably offered him a lot more than I actually ended up paying him.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Greg BallRe: Meals on set
by on Jun 1, 2015 at 2:37:43 pm

I agree with Todd. We normally provide lunch. Depending on the start time, we may also provide donuts and coffee in the morning. Nothing special just Dunkin Donuts.

I also know that one of my DPs only drinks a specific brand of soda. So I always have some on hand for him. We also provide bottled water for crew, clients, and talent.



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walter biscardiRe: Meals on set
by on Jun 1, 2015 at 2:45:35 pm

[Greg Ball] "I also know that one of my DPs only drinks a specific brand of soda. So I always have some on hand for him. We also provide bottled water for crew, clients, and talent."

Actually that's a VERY good point. We always check with all our crew, talent and even our clients to find out if anyone has an special dietary requests / requirements. Vegetarians, diabetics, Gluten-Free, etc... it's very very easy to provide for these so you want to make sure you have something that's easily accessible for everyone.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Craft and Career Advice & Training from real Working Creative Professionals

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Mark SuszkoRe: Meals on set
by on Jun 1, 2015 at 2:49:56 pm

Something I picked up over time, but military leaders learn early, is that there is an etiquette in who eats when.

In the military parlance, you feed the horses first, then the troops, and only then, the officers. Any time you get that out of order, it's bad for esprit d' corps and breeds resentments.

A variation of this that comes up is when a client or someone at the location "treats" your group to free food or snacks. Be absolutely sure that if stuff is offered, there's enough for everybody, before you the director get yours, and decline your share if it looks like they might be short. Nothing makes a crew turn bitchy faster than when some well-meaning individual brings donuts, for example, but not enough for everyone.

When on the road with one client, he always bought us meals at nice restaurants and was generous with how long we took to eat. The understanding was that if he needed us to work a little overtime, nobody would charge for the extra hour, we'd just pitch in and get it done.


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walter biscardiRe: Meals on set
by on Jun 1, 2015 at 2:44:14 pm

We always provide breakfast which is usually just bagels, some fruit and coffee to keep it light and simple. Crews always work better if they at least have a little something.

Lunch is anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour depending on how long we're shooting. If it's less than 6 hours, it's a 30 minute lunch. If it's a standard 10 hour shoot day, we'll break for an hour.

I never do dinner unless we are going past 10 hours.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Craft and Career Advice & Training from real Working Creative Professionals

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Daniel StoneRe: Meals on set
by on Jun 3, 2015 at 12:36:52 pm

Thanks for the input, guys. Very helpful!



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Ned MillerRe: Meals on set
by on Jun 4, 2015 at 9:49:21 pm

I've been a freelance DP for over 30 years and I think it's very smart to promise coffee and pastries before call time so you insure everyone arrives early. Otherwise, I would tend to look for a Paneras or Dunkin Donuts on the way in to top off my thermos, assuming there would be no coffee there and arrive one minute before call time.

As to lunch, I learned in the 70s that the production companies started to offer lunch on the set because they didn't want the crew looking for nearby restaurants and drink during lunch, which was common then. Think Mad Men. In those days we were told to "be back in one hour". We didn't have the fast food and catering we do now.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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