Music video crew; Needs food too


Finally, you are at the sexy part of planning your CD release, shooting the music video. For a very long time you’ve worked hard and raised the money to finally get your music video production scheduled. In all of this excitement, did you remember to include a food budget to feed your hard working music video crew? If you didn’t you need to, and I’ll tell why this is so important, though meals are often over looked.

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Photo: Theremina

Many music videos are shot on a low, indie budget. The quality and amount of food goes a long way to show your hard working crew that they are appreciated. Sometimes it means even more than what they are getting paid, if they are at all. Realize, your music video crew is investing in your dream along side you. Besides, paid or unpaid crews, you have to understand you can’t do it without their help anyway. So it works in your favor to insure your music video crew is happy as much as possible while on set.

The history of feeding crews on film sets comes from when it was lunch break, if the crew came back at all, they returned many times, drunk and were no good for working the rest of the day. So, feeding the crew on set, for free, was mainly born out of a need to “trap” the crew per se. If there was free food available, literally there was no reason to go off set. Producers and directors stayed on schedule as they had complete control over how long lunch was, and then sent everyone back to work immediately without having to hunt down missing crew members.

Once, on a particular production, after having been assured there was a significant food budget for the crew, I showed up that evening only to find that the crew had worked since morning without as much as a chip to eat all day. Horrified, I asked the producer for his credit card and immediately ordered some fast food. The crew was not only grateful, I found out during the dinner break how almost all were about to leave and not return. The crew was not getting paid, but they at least expected to be fed.

Many people are eager to build their resumes by working low to no pay video productions. This does not mean they are expendable or open for easy labor abuse. At the very least, you have some money to shoot your music video and you need a music video crew, so create a small part of your budget to feed them well.

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Photo: Theremina

Figure about $3.00 per person to feed your crew per day. You can do this by hiring catering or enlist one volunteer to do the shopping and cooking. Whole turkeys or roast beef with bread loaves and salad are inexpensive and excellent meal choices for a group of people. Cold cuts, cheese and a large tossed salad are good spreads also. For just a little bit of money, you can deliver a meal that looks like a feast for starving artists.

Drinks and snack foods like chips and cheese and crackers are great for in between scene breaks. Trays of sliced apples, oranges or other inexpensive fruit are great to set out with a sour cream dip for the more health conscious (and they are out there). Keep coolers full of iced sodas, juices and bottled water at all times. Even if you never touch coffee yourself, please make sure there’s a big steaming pot going at all times. There’s not much worse than working with a grumpy music video crew that’s deprived of its intravenous caffeine drip.

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Photo: Theremina

Be creative to get discounted or even free food. Have these sources set up and confirmed in advance. Local restaurants are usually very happy to help a production in their community and will help for a film credit. Just make sure they actually get the credit so you don’t ruin it for the next music video crew. Assign one person, usually the assistant director, to make sure all credits are actually given. Don’t ruin it for the next music video production by not following through on your promises of video credits. That’s not cool at all.

Eating together builds a closeness of crew and close-knit crews perform and get along better. Those special meal times create conversation and a tightness of spirit that bringing your own sack lunch just can’t compare to. Your music video crew will be so happy to have worked on your project that they’ll spread the word and everyone will know how cool it is to work with your productions. You won’t have any trouble finding others willing to work on your next CD music video project, for sure.


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