Film catering and craft services play an extremely important role in ensuring a film shoot runs smoothly. Without adequate nutrition, film cast and crew members won’t be able to keep up with the demands of long tough work days.
When you watch a movie, you might think about things like the costumes, script, sound and directing. What you might not consider is how all those cast and crew members are fed! Here are 5 interesting facts about film catering:
Planning is Key
Especially if the film is being shot on location. The location could be very remote and hundreds of miles from the nearest gourmet restaurant. For Empire of the Sun, shot in China, food had to be shipped from Australia and New Zealand – every potato, apple, and egg for 400 people! Sometimes the locations are not very accessible (think of a mountainside in Scotland for example), so careful planning for transportation of all equipment and food is essential. Film caterers also need to consider dietary restrictions and preferences. Caterers must also stick to a schedule throughout the day – not having food ready in time can delay shots/scenes.
Long Days & Tight Schedule
Workdays on film sets are known to be long and tough. Fourteen to sixteen hour days, six days a week are normal. And the caterer’s day usually starts well before sunrise – two to three hours earlier than the cast and crew arrive for breakfast. A “walking breakfast” that spans around three hours allows the crew to arrive at staggered intervals and still get fed. Lunch is served around six hours later. The goal is to get everyone fed in 30-45 minutes – there’s no time for a leisurely lunch on set!
A film’s catering costs are considered a “below the line” expense. Food costs for film catering are higher than a typical restaurant – in the 50% range compared to 22-30% range. And the percentage of a film’s budget dedicated to catering is usually only around 1% of total production cost. For a $3 million made-for-TV movie filmed over three weeks, the budget might be around $30,000-$40,000.
Boosting Vancouver’s Economy
Vancouver is the third largest film production center in North America. 2015 was a record-breaking year: over $2 billion was spent and 26 feature films were produced here. One of the largest productions was Deadpool, which spent over $40 million in Vancouver and employed over 2000 local cast and crew. That’s a lot of hungry people to feed! Film catering budgets will vary, but undoubtedly as Vancouver becomes an increasingly popular film mecca, the demand for caterers will also increase.
Craft vs. Catering
Craft services provides snacks that are available throughout the day whereas film caterers provide the (typically) hot sit-down meals. Depending on budget, craft services might provide anywhere from simple coffee and pre-packaged snacks to more elaborate sushi and cappuccinos. These two services may be provided by the same company, but are usually separate.
Other references used:
https://www.austinchronicle.com/food/2004-08-06/223087/ (for food budget)