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Old January 22nd, 2004, 07:07 AM   #1
Capt. Quirk
 
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No Budget alternatives to trailers and craft services?

Hi- I am planning to shoot a no budget/ low budget feature. I know that in Hollywood, the stars get a trailer to hang out in between scenes. There is a make up and wardrobe trailer, to get them ready for the scene. If they are shooting on a studio lot, they have access to the commisary to eat, or if they are on location, craft services cater.

But that is Hollywood, where most films have a budget larger than many small nations put together.

I know that my wife can make pans of lasagnia and other things to feed the cast and crew. However, I discovered the cost of renting motorhomes, even just two of them, would end up costing a few thousand over the span of shooting. That is definately NOT in the budget. Any low cost solutions you folk can offer?
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 08:14 AM   #2
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I've never really had to put any cast or crew somewhere. Most
just hang around or do other things when they are not needed.

Ofcourse chairs are a must to bring along. You might even setup
one of those "party tents" on an area with chairs to keep them
out of the sun for example.

Otherwise camping tents might be an option if someone wants
to lay down? Renting campers and such is usually quite expensive
unless you know someone who has a camper/trailer that he is
not using when not on vacation etc.
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 08:18 AM   #3
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If your wife is willing to cook, that would be fantastic.! I was on one shoot where the producer's girlfriend handled all of the craft services. I am sure it was a lot cheaper than a caterer! Delegate that authority to your wife with a schedule and let her run with it. You WILL be busy with other things.

On the above shoot, we (talent and crew) had to eat in the very confined space of a 2 tiny room hotel room with gear, set, props and the kitchenette (where the main catering station was). I knew what I was getting into right from the start so be up front with your crew. If you can rent an extra hotel room near the shoot that would be great. If your wife caters it from the side of a van, well that is fine too.

You can keep morale up by rotating the types of meals offered. One day: lasagnas, salad. Day two: deli meat sandwiches and chips. Day three: Pizzas and breadsticks. You get the idea. Always have sodas, coffee and water around the clock on the set. Do you have a Costco card?

I am a firm believer that if you are not paying the crew you need to at least feed them.

Good luck.
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 08:21 AM   #4
Capt. Quirk
 
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Hey Rob- I'll have upwards to 10 cast members at any given time, and another 6 or so crew. I thought about borrowing a motorhome, but don't know anyone that has one. That kind of kills that idea...

Tents, on the other hand, could be do-able if I had large enough tents. Nice idea.

Sean- I am 100% with you- At the very least, feed them, and they'll be less likely to mutinee. And water is a necessity, as well as sodas. I don't do costco, but I shop Walmart!
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 08:28 AM   #5
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If you buy bulk water make sure it's "spring water" and not "distilled water."

I once read in one of those independent filmmaker books, "lunches should be hot, no exceptions." When I read that, it seemed like an unecessarily expensive luxury for a no-budget production. But having been on a few student productions where the crew morale went dangerously low in part from bad craft services, I understand how important quality food can be. Especially if you're not paying the crew.

Get your producer to phone up the owners of a few pizza/sandwich joints in your area and see if you can get them to donate some food in exchange for a credit on the film, and possibly some free advertising, if you can work in some product placement. Small neighborhood restaurants are typically more receptive to these deals than national chains for which corporate logo usage considerations domainate the deliberation. On the other hand, I've seen a lot of student films that credit Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Burger King.

As far as tents go, you'll probably be quite satisfied with a Shelter Tent like the one shown on this page. They come in a compact bag and pop up when you spread the four legs apart. The four walls are single pieces of fabric that snap on. Rent a white one that allows light in for costume and makeup HQ; if need be, get an additional black one for your video village. Weigh the tents down with some hanging sandbags so they don't blow away.

(I'm sure it won't help you to hear the old costume-changing-in-a-burlap-sack joke.)

Good luck on your shoot!
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 08:56 AM   #6
Capt. Quirk
 
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Robert- I like that tent... 10x20 should be big enough. Any idea what they run?

On a side note- My adopted dad is an old ex-carny, who had traveled with Carnivals and Motorcycle Rallys for years. On one circuit, he was running a leather tent, selling jackets, bikinis, etc. One day, he had a girl come in who wanted to try on a bikini. When she asked him where the dressing room was, he drew a square in the dirt with his boot and said there it is. She stepped in, and tried on the bikini. From there on, that was the dressing room.

I had never heard of the burlap bag before...
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 11:41 AM   #7
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One thing to consider about a motor home that is they have a bathroom--barring that, you need to make sure that there is bathroom access at all of your locations. A motor home is thus something of a necessity when shooting in a remote spot, doing a lot of driving footage or where the bathroom is more than a couple of minute walk away.
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 11:47 AM   #8
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10 x10 pop ups run from 79 - 199 ...

Costco carrys the 10x10 white from sring to fall 199 strating in spring and they might go down to 159 late fall. these are very good quality

i've seen 2 different 10x10 over at orchard supply & hardware (OSH).
one is made cheap and not sturdy .. the other is so-so ... late summer i think they were in the 79 - 129 area .

the last time i rented one of these .. it was 35 for weekend.
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Old January 22nd, 2004, 11:56 AM   #9
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Very good point Charles...
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Old January 23rd, 2004, 10:21 PM   #10
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Don't forget bagels in the morning... or Krispie Kreams (if you are in that crowd)

;)
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Old January 27th, 2004, 06:21 PM   #11
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On Indy films, even the ones with major stars, they don't have trailers. People stand around or have a holding room somewhere.

What is your location?

If it's a house or apartment there is always somewhere to close a door and change if you have people changing costumes there

The one good thing about indy film making is that there isn't a lot of 'stand around and wait' because your set-ups are simpler.

Most of the time for Craft Service I grab a case of spring water bottles at Sam's Club or some discount place. Usually try to get a name brand.

For the usual stuff a couple of bags of pretzels, roasted soy beans (a fav), and stuff like that. No heavy stuff, no candy or cookies or other high sugar stuff or stuff that'll get stuck in teeth.

A good question is to ask if anyone has any allergies. A friend of mine years ago didn't ask and the location had cats and the lead actress was allergic. She lasted about 15 minutes before she almost died.

Dinner is a must but home-made lassagna sounds great to me.

Pizza is cheap and easy and most people will eat it. Chinese food is sometimes good because a small will serve a couple of people.

Breakfast is always tough but bagels and get one of those huge coffee boxes from Dunkin Doughnuts.

The ultimate solution to what to do with actors between scenes is to put them to work. (G) Actually, this usually happens anyway----

Usually people are just happy not to pay for their dinner or lunch or breakfast. Do whatever you can easily and cheaply and explain that's what it is. People working for free are already understanding.
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Old January 27th, 2004, 06:43 PM   #12
Capt. Quirk
 
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Food is actually easy enough.

I would be shooting mostly in the woods, for example. This is where a motorhome would be nice. As Charles mentioned, it has a bathroom. It would also be nice to have someplace the talent could hide from the elements and insects.

Since renting a motorhome is out of the question, and I don't know anyone that has an RV, I could go with tents as dressing rooms and whatnot. What about the aforementioned bathroom? How pricey are port-a-johns?
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Old January 27th, 2004, 06:49 PM   #13
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You need to attack your network.

Ask EVERYONE you, your wife, every member of the crew, every actor and anyone and everyone else you can find "do you or someone you know have an RV?"

And have them ask people they know... with a cast and crew number that big SOMEONE has to know someone's parents or somebody who has one. You might be surprised.

You are in Florida, you can't tell me that within in 6 degrees of you there isn't someone with an RV or something like it (even a pull behind camping trailer) out there....

Work over EVERYONE.

I had to borrow a limo for a commercial once and turned out some friend of a friend's father drove limo's and we had him drive over for the afternoon and my pay to him was having him in the commercial. I bought him lunch and he was happy as a clam

If you find someone, offer to fill it up with gas and whatever else you have to promise them to loan it to you.
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 07:00 AM   #14
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On this subject I'd recommend the latest episode of the fantastic IFC show DINNER FOR FIVE.


Katie Holmes, Oliver Platt, Patricia Clarkson and Sean Hayes talk about the making of PIECES OF APRIL (shot on DV, BTW) and how it was a true indy film shoot.

No trailers, no holding areas and in some cases no bathrooms.


Not saying that simple convieniences aren't neccessary but it's great to see people who I consider to be great performers talking about the experience with such joy.
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 07:35 AM   #15
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It's not unheard of to scrimp...and for an ultralow budget project that may or may not make money, I don't see anything wrong with that. Soderberg did that in "Full Frontal"... here's a set of rules that the cast and crew had to adhere to.

Notice #3 says "you should arrive 'having had.'" Apparently it was only on the longest shooting days that any food at all was provided, and it wasn't anything special. That was a profit-sharing scheme, so less money spent on the production meant more profit for everyone.

As for tents...although they're mighty heavy, an Army surplus will have some really large Army tents at reasonable prices. You'll need a pickup to haul one around, but it'll hold a LOT of people.
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