If there is one thing that can keep everyone going while making your independent low budget film, it is tasty food on set. Yes it might seem silly, but it is also the truth.
You might be making one of the most wonderful films that the world has ever seen. The script might be an inspiring and heart touching one that every single person in the crew loved. But when it is shoot day number 12 or 21, when they have been pushing through the grind for so many days, all of the non immediate pleasures stop being a reason to get out of the bed again.
Why It Matters More For a Low Budget Film
If you are making a normal budget film, everyone is getting paid in full. You’d be working with professionals who do this day in and day out. Then you do not have to worry so much about keeping them motivated. Of course you can’t completely ignore the team’s pulse.
But because you are making a passion project, an independent low budget film with your friends or colleagues, everyone is chipping in their time to help you achieve your dream. They could be elsewhere and earning a lot more than what you’d be paying them. In return it is important that you take care of them in all ways, as best as you can. Having great food on set every day is the most tangible way you can do that.
Food On Set of Munnariv
For food on set of our debut film Munnariv, we spent around ₹ 500 per person per day. Which is actually at par with that of a normal budget feature film here in Kerala, India. There are Ad shoots that spend ₹ 1,000 per person per day. But those shoots barely last few days, have a different purpose, and so cannot be compared to a feature film set.
We had scheduled all the shoot centred around my house. Hence our house maid herself did the cooking, for an additional fee. She is an incredible cook by the way. My parents made everyday’s breakfasts, as the maid would not reach before that. We had all varieties of dishes, from veg to non-veg, from South Indian to North Indian. Everyone served themselves, and washed their own plates. This avoided the need for an additional hand.
Scheduling Food On Set
The food on set every day looked something like this:
- As soon as everyone arrived, a cup of steaming hot tea
- Soon followed by breakfast with another cup of tea (the items kept changing everyday, almost all Kerala breakfast dishes were served)
- After the shoot had been going on for some time, around 10 or 11, a glass of lime juice and biscuits as a refreshment
- Around noon, lunch (mainly Kerala meals with fish curry, fish/chicken fry, or a speciality dish and a sweet)
- Around 4 in the evening, a cup of tea with some Kerala snacks (at times made at home, else brought from a really good store nearby that makes tasty snacks)
- Once the shoot wrapped, around 8 or 9 in the night, dinner (which could be chapatti, beef, chicken, fried rice, or Kerala meals and so on)
Besides these, there were snacks all around the house for anyone to have at any time they liked.
Timely and tasty food on set every day shows the crew that you care for their wellbeing. When they feel taken care of, they take care of your production. Cut costs wherever you can, but spend well on food. On a low budget set, you might not be paying your crew in kind, but make sure you pay them in kindness, generously.