The independent film production Anonymous was shot over a 12 night period . We were on set from 8pm until the early hours of the morning . The cast and crew numbers of this independent film production varied on a daily basis from anywhere of 20- 38 people and the budget was set at £800. The challenge was set I was ready to tackle it.
1. Have open and honest communication with the production team
The starting point was having an in-depth conversation with director Alasdair Mackay to establish what he expected and how he would like me to work around filming schedules . He emphasised the importance of each person being fed with a substantial and balanced meal and that there must always be a variety of snacks , fruits and drinks available . I made it clear to Alasdair that I was sceptical it could be done for £800 and told him that it would be closer to £1000. Luckily he had contingency and said, whatever it takes.
2. Don’t forget those dietary requirements
On receiving the dietary requirements I set about making a menu plan for each day with everything being costed . I always catered an extra 10 or so portions incase anybody wanted more or and for guests on set visits ( charities , stunt co- ordinaries ) could eat if they so wished. It was a personal victory to see people who were so used to not having their dietary requirements met on an independent film production set stop bringing in their own food because they enjoyed mine so much.
3. Wholesale to the Rescue
80 percent of my shopping was at the larger wholesale Indian and Asian supermarkets purchasing huge bags of rice , larger cans of coconut milk , tomatoes, chickpeas and also a very varied selection of herbal teas. This saved a huge amount. All the other fresh produce , bottled water , drinks and snacks I located at a local supermarket where the prices were very reasonable. Unfortunately, as the on set kitchen was part of the set for the first few nights of shooting, all cooking for the independent film production Anonymous, as well as meeting the Covid restrictions, was preprepared in individual containers and transported to set.
4. Treats are always a winner
The last few days I gained access to the kitchen in the mornings as it was no longer part of the film set so I managed to squeeze in breakfast sandwiches for people to eat on the way home. Again it was not costly as I kept it simple and knew where to locate my produce at a good price. The cast an crew loved this and really drove home the idea that this is not just an independent film production, but a community of artists coming together to create something bigger.
5. Beware of Unexpected Costs
There were some extra unexpected costs incurred from adhering to the Covid health and safety regulations such as having individually pre packaged meals. We also had to hit the balance between being green and meeting budget but I very happily, still came in under budget at £708 for the full 12 days of this independent film production.
As long as you are organised with your menu’s and can locate your items in bulk and at good prices it is definitely achievable to not be a costly exercise!
Diane Fernandes has been in the food industry for 10 years . Having travelled extensively and living in different countries she developed a deep love of food and passion for cooking . This lead her to doing a stage in the kitchens of Michelin star restaurants La Butte (France) and the former L’Autre Pied (London) later moving on as part of their team working in the office of London’s Pied A Terre for 5 years. She is currently part of a team working on an exciting project for fundraising events with high profile chefs. Having previously catered on short films she joined our independent film production as catering manager on Anonymous.