VI: The Impossible Logistics: Food, Travel and Living

If nothing else, an independent filmmaker must:

  • Provide adequate, tasty and nutritious meals to all its cast and crew members, never treating anybody with prejudice as regards their designation, skill or experience.
  • Provide comfortable travel (even if cheap), and ensure the cast and crew don’t have to struggle to find a location or place of residence.
  • Provide comfortable and convenient accommodation (if the project requires it) with adequate toilet facilities, in a safe and peaceful area.

  • Many producers forget that the three basic needs – Food, travel and living – of a production crew are the most important. If a crew is not well-paid (if paid at all), the least one can do is make them comfortable enough to enjoy their work. After all, filmmaking is hard. Often, a shooting day on a low-budget film will easily cross the 12-hour mark. I have had two seventeen hour days on The Impossible Murder, and it took a toll on everyone.

    I would go out of my way to ensure everyone else is fed before I ate myself, and would fret and fume at my assistants if any crew member is displeased with their arrangements. This is only fair, and must be top priority. This would also apply to well-paid multi-million dollar budget films, a house party, an army or a classroom full of toddlers on a school picnic.

    During the making of The Impossible Murder I often had issues with food, travel and living. The logistics I had taken on for the project were too high for my inexperienced assistants, while I assumed they would learn quickly. They did not. It is not fair to assume everyone will learn so quickly. The penalty I paid for this lapse in judgement was to get involved in these details while shooting was in progress. This adversely affected my ability to direct the feature film. I would go so far as to say The Impossible Murder never had a director. Harsh, but justified. The end result clearly shows this.

    It would be a tragedy if:

  • While you are trying to get the best take from your actors, they are thinking about an SMS or an email;
  • While you are trying to get the DP to get the best shot, he is thinking about food or alcohol;
  • While you are trying to focus on getting all the shots, your AD is so tired he is sleeping on his feet; and
  • While you are trying hard to make a movie, all you can think of is how to survive to fight another day.
  • Nobody, but the producer and director, is responsible for these mistakes. Don’t skimp on Food, Travel or Living.