break for lunch
Shoot days were the best. My dad traded his standard Hawaiian shirt for a mechanic’s work shirt with “smitty” stitched on the patch. He donned a belt heavy with light meters and mysterious tools. Other men walked around the set, their waists weighted with rolls of a thousand different kinds of tape. There was a lot of waiting. There was a lot of seemingly nothing happening, but no matter, my dad was part of all of it. Even though no one seemed to do anything, I felt a little special walking around as The Director’s Daughter. I’d pass the time in the on-set school, or watching the monitors in those few seconds a day where people actually seemed to be doing something. Pouring a soda or moving a doll from here to here or just sitting and saying the same things over and over. I could never understand the minutia of it. The differences from take to take.
Truth was, it wasn’t the filmmaking or the lights or the snap of the slate that enthralled me. No, for me, living a life of restricted food and hearing the phrase, “are you sure you want to eat that” rather than “clean your plate,” it was the craft service table that made the day special. An unimaginable array of any food you could ever want, magically refreshed through the day. Bagels and donuts in the morning, chips and candy in the afternoon and the ever-present bowls of m&ms, dry-roasted peanuts and a tub of my eternal weakness, red vines. In fact, when I was studying abroad in Russia, I didn’t ask my mom to bring my favorite shampoo or macaroni and cheese like the other students. All I wanted was red vines.
So there I’d be, on set, drawn to this table throughout the day. I’d find excuses to make my way there, ensure that every route to track down my father or whomever he had tapped to look after me ran me by the table to pick up a small handful of pretzels or to dig another root beer out of the icy depths of the well-stocked cooler.
So, it’s come around again, like everything tends to. I was on set today for a shoot of my own and found myself longing for the craft service. It gives you something to do between takes, while they’re reloading tapes, and for all those moments when I never understood what was happening. The set today that was half-ass at best. No craft service to speak of. Nothing at all. The talent asked for water and there was none. I overheard that the studio would keep a tally of what we went through in the fridge, like a low-brow mini-bar. It was sad.
It made me long for the old-school days, for the way it was done right. We’ve got another day of shooting tomorrow and even though it would strike everyone as odd, I have half a mind to hit Costco on the way in for some dry-roasted peanuts, some m&ms and, of course, a tub of red vines. I don’t think it’s a real shoot without them.
Posted by canolive at 6:38 PM