Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

A very food-centric post today.

Yesterday afternoon as we were getting into work, there was a Red Hot Chili Peppers (honestly, I didn’t think those guys were still around) video shooting on the lot – as soon as we found out, we all sauntered over to the set which was on the lot’s New York Street.

Not so much to see the band (I can’t speak for my co-workers, but I really don’t care that much), but to see if there was anything good at the crafty table and to say “hi” if any of us knew any of the crew, since this job will be over in a couple of weeks and we’re all on the make for future employment.

I’d not met the crew before, but they all seemed nice (even though they were having a typically long day), and the food was typical music video fare*.

Once we’d said our hellos, determined that nothing there was of much interest to any of us, and had gotten our crew set up in their respective work areas, our boss told us that there were two other parties on the lot last night.

One was a screening of a movie followed by a wine and cheese reception in the parking lot next to the water tank and the other was a dressy party and silent auction for some charity. The charity party let the lot workers pick over the buffet left-overs, and I was bad and overindulged on corned beef. I love corned beef, even if it is about 90% fat and really bad for me.

So, I’m off to the gym right now to try and work off the million calories of yummy I ate last night.

*Craft Service/Catering hiearchy is as follows:

Commercials: Expensive caterers, craft service people who shop at high-end markets and stock everything but the kitchen sink and will, if asked nicely, accommodate special requests (soymilk, sugar-free snacks, strange tropical fruits, etc..). Commercial craft service doesn’t come cheap, but you get what you pay for, after all.

Large budget movies: Although the between-meals spread’s not quite as elaborate as commercial fare (but still good) there’s still a wide variety of stuff to eat (both healthy and not) and the catered food’s worthy of an expensive restaurant.

TV shows: Hit or miss, depending on how much the producer’s budgeted, but since TV shows shooting on studio lots don’t have caterers (they can give the crew a half-hour lunch if food is provided or an hour-long “walkaway” if it’s not. Why pay for a caterer if there’s a commissary 200 yards away?) those shows tend to have better crafty, plus they’ll have bread and cold cuts for sandwiches.

Music Videos: Normally stocked with the type of food that musicians and their hangers-on like to eat – junk food and lots of it, unless the artist is on a diet and then there will be a veggie platter with a tin of low fat ranch dressing.

Low budget movies: Cheap coffee (with powdered creamer which I hate) and a box of stale cookies, plus some of those sodium-laced ramen noodle packets if they were on sale at Costco. Hey, what would you put out if you had to feed 40 people on $100 per day?

Having said that, I’ve been on a couple of low budget movies that have had decent food. Once again, it depends on what the producer’s willing and able to spend. Having one of the lead actors get sick from eating cheese that’s been sitting at room temperature for six hours and then hysterically accuse the producer of trying to poison them will increase the food budget pretty quickly.

Filed under: Work

November 2006

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