Though working on a Hollywood film set is a sought-after, cherished, and exciting position to hold, it can frequently be a grueling and exhausting one, as well. Whether a day becomes painstakingly slow and tedious on a soundstage, or overwhelming busy out on location, the general moral level of the crew seems to fluctuate accordingly. Sometimes, people feel as if they are unappreciated or, even worse, not respected. Further yet, hectic production schedules often lead to fewer breaks and more meal penalties, which leave people feeling tired and hungry. In moments like these, generous acts of kindness or displays of gratitude really do go a long way.
Each Friday on the set of Bad Words (2013), Jason Bateman’s directorial debut, Bateman provided the crew with a different one of the many unique food trucks that Los Angeles has to offer. For the duration of the six-week shoot, the crew always had a flavor-induced moral booster to look forward to; from the popular Kogi BBQ Taco Truck, to the inventive Grilled Cheese Truck and everything in between.
Likewise, throughout the course of filming the first season of Showtime’s Ray Donovan (2013), Liev Schreiber repeatedly surprised the crew with various coffee trucks that offered endless possibilities of hot, iced, or blended coffees, teas, and smoothies, all complimentary.
On a recent project, the zombie-fighting Chandler Riggs donated, on numerous occasions, a lottery ticket to each crewmember, simply as a show of good fortune. I have not heard if any of us hit the jackpot…
Though these are only short-lived distractions and departures from what is sure to prove a long day, they serve wonders to reinforce a positive sense of community and sharing on any film set. Having someone, such as a director or principle actor (who certainly earns far more than most people on the production) show their respect for the crew can quickly restore productivity and motivation.