Idiot Savant Online

John Lichman's third attempt at a personal blog and online savanting idiotic.

Crafty is King

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There’s a clear zen when it comes to manning the craft services table on film and TV shoots. The table itself is often metaphorical, instead being a bar, a series of shelves or–ok, maybe it is just a 72″ folding table set up against the far side of the wall. It’s informal name is simply “crafty” and it is the lifeblood for any production that needs to chug along for the requisite 12 hours before everyone can go home, sleep for half that time and be back on set for an eight a.m. call time.

So, what’s crafty made up from?

Only the essentials for people whose initial roles require constant caffeine, sugar and fake calories that trick each other into keeping full until a crew dinner roughly five or six hours after they start. Crafty is meant to be a mix of snacks to keep a collection of 20-35 people (plus other production assistants, who each qualify as half a person) fueled up throughout the day. The mainstay of crafty remain:

  • Coffee (routinely cardboard boxes from a guy named Joe or the 80-cup urn)
  • Hot water kettle (for those that drink tea)
  • Salty Snack (e.g. chips, chips, pretzels, chips)
  • Sweet (This is more often than not something from Market Pantry)
  • Nuts
  • Bread
  • Toaster
  • Peanut butter
  • Water
  • Soda
  • We’re out of coffee? Already? Ok.
It comes down to either the crafty head or a production assistant to keep an eye out for what’s running low, restocking supplies and sometimes figuring out what’s best to put out at certain points. The veggie platters work better in the afternoon, the morning is entirely candy and after crew dinner the only thing worth putting out are the salty snacks and candy.  In fact, in the kingdom of crafty, the importance lies with figuring out a snack ratio that won’t break the bank or cause a morale breakdown.
There is nothing more antagonistic than hungry riggers and genies. Except preditors. But they won’t be on set, instead they’ll safely be back at a post-production facility sipping coffee brewed fresh by their PA or recently fetched from a nearby Starbucks or Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
But back to being crafty: a good crafty table will understand when the rush will start and will know exactly what to make–even if it’s a request for “lemon tea without a tea bag. And honey.” It will require you slicing up boxes and stacking trash without getting the food near it, pouring bowls of different chips around and making sure you remember to refrigerate the soy milk. You’ll also fill trash cans with water bottles, ice and soda. Slide them around and dump them into sinks only to start the process all over again.
For without crafty, sets would be an anarchic and hellish world where camera assistants gnaw on their sweat bands for hydration and the line producer turns feral.
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Written by john lichman

November 14, 2011 at 2:37 pm

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