Catering and craft services are extremely important in filmmaking. With up to 16-hour work days, 6 days a week, they play a huge role in the crew’s physical and mental wellbeing. And unlike famous actors, other crew members can’t get their moms cooking flown in by helicopter.
For those confused between the two, here we have a quick summary of catering and craft services.
Film caterers cook whole meals- breakfast, lunch, and dinner- for the set. Different regions handle this in different ways.
In Vancouver, there’s no official break but meals are passed out all day. This is called “French hours”, allowing crew members to grab a bite whenever free. European’s use a similar system- prioritizes the momentum of the film. There’s usually a buffet laid out allowing workers to eat when off work. In Hollywood, meals at set times. Usually, every 6 hours lasting for 30 minutes each. If they started filming at 4 am the next meal would be at 10 am and so on.
Craft services provide both snacks and help with any miscellaneous projects. The word craft refers to film departments: sound, electronics, camera, acting, directors, special effects, make-up, and props.
These snacks are offered throughout the day. This can include muffins, cookies, cereal, coffee, salad, and sushi. Craft services usually end up being the social center of the film.
They also act as extra hands. You can find them “digging a hole to place a camera at ground level, laying out protective material on sets — and cleanups, too. After a movie car crash, for instance, craft service would sweep up the broken glass.” writes NPR’s Susan Stamberg.
Film budget and Food
The quality of the food is influenced by the film’s budget. A menu can vary anywhere from pizza and cookies for a low budget production to fresh caviar and lobster for a more expensive one.
Producers also must account for the crew size, dietary needs, and most importantly location. Whether they’re in the countryside of Ireland, a remote desert, or Alaska actors need their supper. In the end, catering and craft services usually comes out to be more expensive than the camera department.
If you want a shoot to run smoothly then you’ve got to have a solid catering and/or craft service. Food is one of the number one complaints in filmmaking so producers pay attention.