Craft Services

OK, show of hands. How many know what craft services means? Hmm… about 20 of you. Now, keep your hands up if you’ve ever worked on a video, TV or movie shoot. Wow. Only two people put their hands down. What’s that? Oh, you just started a union-mandated break and you’re not allowed to lift a finger, much less a hand. So we’ll count you as part of the original 20 who know what craft services is, and you all have worked on some kind of production set.

No surprise there, though. That’s one of the first things you figure out when you show up for a shoot. For the rest of you, craft services is very simple. It deals with one thing. No multi-tasking, no double-duty. Just one thing.



creative servicesFood keeps people happy. In some cases, it keeps people from going insane during long, sometimes frustrating shoots. It can be simple or elaborate (usually corresponding to the complexity of the shoot, always corresponding to the shoot’s budget). There are different ways of handling it though.

Food has always been part of any production shoot, but in the early days and even during the golden era of Hollywood, how you got fed depended on who you were. You can bet Miss Joan Crawford barely had to lift an eyebrow before someone came running with food. The guy setting up the lights… not so lucky. Craft services began providing coffee, then moved up to snacks, as a way to keep the people behind the scenes happy. Or happier, at least. Nowadays there are full-on spreads. Pretty much any time during the shoot, you can go to the craft services area and there will be something to eat.

Some productions might have specific catering times that would roughly correspond to breakfast, lunch, or dinner (it’s “roughly” because shoots can start at any time of day or night). That’s when actual meals come. Again, how simple or elaborate they are is dictated by the available budget. The catering crew is often different than craft services. Craft services provide the snacks in between. It can be simple… fruit and donuts. It can be sandwiches, chips, cheese and crackers, candy bars. Or it can be more. Sometimes much more.

One thing to remember is that there is a pecking order. And you could easily get pecked if you head to the table out of order. On shoots involving union workers, generally the higher ranked crew people like the director go first. If you’re non-union, whether crew or cast, you go last. Of course if you’re the one funding the shoot, and therefore the food, you go any time you like. No one wants to risk incurring your ire and having those roast beef sandwiches replaced with Triscuits and Velveeta.

Are craft services required? No, they’re not. But if you have a complex shoot involving a lot of people on and off camera, showing a little appreciation for their hard work in the form of food can’t hurt. Hencar can take care of arranging a plan that won’t pinch your budget but will make things run more smoothly on your shoot. Talk to us about the options and see which one seems the sweetest.

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