In the last two and a bit years we’ve completed and published four films (including today’s which sort of counts), but we have a further three in post-production right now, totalling seven productions under our belts. On average, each of these shoots costs about £100 all told. A big majority of that goes on food – shoots often last all day and sandwiches, Haribo and Capri-Sun are like Duracell batteries to a film crew. In the instance of A Russian Affair, we also put money into costume and supplies for fake blood, and we bought a bunch of bits and pieces for the props for Sparkle. But consistently, the Tesco run the night before is where the budget goes.
Seven shoots down the line I’d like to think I have a better grasp on what we need and how much of it. I thought I’d knock up a list.
- Juice – Capri-Sun is a favourite, and orange and tropical are popular flavours. People will rinse through these quickly. Pick up a box of 10 for every 4 people.
- Fruit – bonus is that it doesn’t get wasted, as someone will take it home at the end of the day. Apples are good because they don’t leave much rubbish. Bananas are a good sugar burst. Get a bag/bunch of each for a standard size crew.
- Sandwiches – easiest and simplest way to get carbs into people. Shop-bought are, in my opinion, more expensive, no better-tasting, and also leave rubbish. A loaf of bread, block of cheese and several packs of ham works just as well.
- Bonus: Get a list of likes and dislikes from your crew in advanced. Sounds dumb, but I don’t eat brown bread, and don’t forget your lactose/gluten/etc.-intolerants. Some people, when asked, will just offer to make their own – this saves you from asking them to but prompts them to think about the option of just bringing their own sandwiches. This means you don’t make too many, nothing goes to waste and no one goes hungry.
- Haribo – no rules. Get lots. Get all of it. Seriously though, get two or three large bags of Starmix. Avoid the mini packs – they’re convenient for people to carry in their pockets, but just as convenient to leave lying around. Wear big pockets yourself and become instantly popular.
- Water – even if you don’t think you’ll want it, keep a 2-litre bottle on you any time you’re away from civilisation (e.g. if you’re on location). You never know when you’ll need it, and it helps for washing hands, mixing up fake blood, creating mud to dirty up cast, etc.
- Baby wipes – even if you aren’t playing with fake blood, get one or two packs of these for removing mud, butter, juice, real blood (just kidding) from fingers. People feel better with fresh hands. If you know you are using any amount of fake blood, get another two packs.
- Fake blood – Zac Street helped us nail down the ingredients for this: 2 drops red, 1 drop blue, golden syrup, adjust thickness with water as appropriate. I would recommend 1x squeezy bottle of syrup per two bodies – that obviously depends on how bloody you want them, but that seemed to be how it worked out for us.
While I’m in list-mode, here’s some things I wouldn’t bother with:
- Paper cups – we’ve had them a few times but they’ve always seemed like an unnecessary luxury. Unless you have a base camp with a catering table and someone looking after them (or more importantly, picking them up off the floor), I wouldn’t bother.
- Cans – again, I’d only go for if we had a catering table. Boxes of juice pouches are lighter and the rubbish is easier to pack down and take away.
- Energy drinks – let people bring their own. They’re expensive and most people can power through on Haribo. This includes canned caffeine drinks and sports drinks like Lucozade.
As a result of Russian, I put together a box of non-perishables which I can use for the next shoot. For my own reference, it currently contains:
- 2x bottles of golden syrup
- 2-3x bottles of red/blue food colouring
- More baby wipes than I thought Tesco could stock
- 2x stacks of paper cups
I’ve a small list of kit and bits and pieces I’d like to add to this box for future – duct tape, penknife, realiable set of walkie-talkies, etc. Oh, and a clapboard. We owned at least three between us on Saturday and we still made Zac clap his own scenes.