Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Stop rolling your eyes or they’ll stick like that.

It started, I’m told, at Paramount.

Some poor craft service* person needed to wash serving utensils, so he (or she) used the bathroom sink. Hey, at least the dishes got washed, right?

The health department got wind of this and became quite cross.

So cross, in fact, that they shut the show’s craft services down due to some sort of food service health codes,  which I’m not even going to try to explain beyond the obvious statement that putting communal food out on a table so the crew can nosh violates just about every one of them.

The health department people then went to visit craft service on a few other shows, became enraged by the open bowls of potato chips (or something) that they saw, and shut down the craft service of every show on the lot.

But that wasn’t enough. There are many other lots with movie sets in Los Angeles, you see, and the terrier-like health department decided that  they must inspect them all to see first hand the disgusting filth in which we wallow.

So they moved on to Warner Brothers, then LA Center, and then a few others and finally, as we knew they would, they raided our show.

Despite preparing the best they could, our craft service people were also shut down, lectured and told that they better be in compliance with the aforementioned food service laws by Monday or else.

So today, when we came to work, we saw this:

Safe sugar

Yes, that’s a box of pastries which  have been individually wrapped for our safety.

Also, no more sandwich bar on the crafty truck. We’re not allowed in there anymore because we have cooties.

And we can’t have real milk with our coffee. We have to have prepackaged ‘creamers’ which are mostly corn syrup and artificial flavor.

Luckily, this is just temporary until the health department decides to pick on someone else. Then, everything will go back to normal.

*Once upon a time, Craft Service was just the extra person on the set – they’d pull cables, push carts, massage the producer’s girlfriend’s feet, etc.. Then, OSHA declared that meal breaks must occur every four hours in order to prevent hypoglycemic comas and rampant cannibalism. There was, of course, an uproar.  Lighting set-ups can sometimes take four hours. Setting up stunts can take four hours. Makeup can take four hours.  If we stopped to eat every four hours, we’d never get anything done.

So, now we have a table of food that we can graze on, and because of that, OSHA allows us to take meal breaks at longer intervals. It’s supposed to be six hours, but sometimes it’s a lot longer than that.

Filed under: studio lots, Work

8 Responses

  1. geekhiker says:

    Oh, geez. Are they now going to have to have those letter grades on each craft services table too?

  2. amanda a says:

    When I worked as a receptionist at Paramount, I ended up doing craft services… and washing utensils in the bathroom sink. Please blame me.

  3. That’s what happens when a round-peg Industry meets the square-hole world. In our business, everything is temporary — the scripts, the sets, the lighting, the acting: whatever our job, we get it done any way we can, doing whatever it takes, then move on to the next shot, scene, set, or production. Granted, some basic safety regulations are necessary to prevent a few very stupid/myopic producers and directors from getting their crews injured or killed, but the rigid bureaucratic approach OSHA so often takes towards on-set “safety” can make it impossible to do our jobs.

    Just try reading the six-inch long, tiny-font laundry list of instructions posted on the side of every ladder on set one of these days.

    We all know about several incidents of crews contracting food poisoning from meals served by catering trucks on location, but I’ve never heard of any real problems stemming from a craft service table on set.

    Are my eyes rolling yet? Oh year — they’re spinning like the tumblers on a slot machine…

  4. JCW says:

    Please tell me the Food Police are not on their way to San Francisco….

  5. bluetoes591 says:

    Just wait until they check out crafty on a low budget indie flick set, then there will be some eye rolling.

    I’ve never felt like crafty was a danger to my health, aside perhaps from cases of over eating on slow days. It is however one of the most important part of a set IMHO, especially on any arduous shoot, I’ve known people to choose shows based on who had the craft service contract. Food keeps people’s spirit and strength up, both important when working 15 hour days.

  6. rickfle says:

    Two thoughts – If they check crafty on an indie or a reality TV show, all they’ll find is some water bottles and Costco pre-packaged trail mix, so those will probably do just fine. And – the good thing about missing a meal after six hours is meal penalties. You get paid to NOT eat – what’s better than that? Meal pens on one-camera shows (inevitable on their schedules) sent my daughter to college. I think I’m still waiting for second meal on an “American Dreams” shoot.

  7. ironrailsironweights says:

    Whenever you hear about outbreaks of food poisoning at restaurants they always seem to involve clean, well-regarded places.

    Peter

  8. A.J. says:

    I’d be lucky if the craft service person on the current show I’m on actually washed his utensils. Even just rinsing them in the bathroom sink would be an improvement.

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