Greater Expectations

Okay everyone, get your game faces on 'cause I have a question to pose for you.  I've been on too many sets where the expected standards aren't met.  But then again, what do you say since it's not written in stone?  You don't want to sound like a diva, but sometimes you have to stand up for yourself am I right?  So I want to reach out to all you filmmakers, producers, directors, writers, grips, lighting tech, sound techs, etc. etc.

What is expected when you're talent is being volunteered for a project (indie film, series, video, etc)?

I know the most basic answer is food *main meals must be provided on set! To do otherwise is unacceptable* and copy of DVD.  But let's clarify that. 

Main meals - breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Does that include coffee runs?  How many?  Snacks?  Drinks?  What exactly is included in having to feed your talent on set?

 Now what else is included in this arrangement?  Transportation?  Do they pay for your gas or subway token?  Do you pay for any product that must be used?  I.E. does talent buy their own hair gel, spray, maek-up?   Are we expected to be compensated for that? 

Here's where I stand:  meals are a must, copy of DVD is a must.  These are our bread and butter.  They are non-negotiable.  The DVD is in large part why we do what we do.  And food?  Well, we're volunteering our time, talent, and energies, least you could do is feed us.  Cost of transportation covered only if you're asking me to travel outside the immediate area (Toronto, in my case) - which costs a lot.  Snacks and coffee runs are optional, unless the call time is very early, in which case one coffee run in the morning is obligatory. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.  Please leave a comment and let's start a debate.


  1. I absolutely agree with you! I've worked on a couple of freebie indie sets that never provided a copy of the work and one that barely had proper meals.

    When I produce, I try to cover all meals, snacks, and coffee runs. I even try to cover some of the expendibles used by the gaffer/grip teams and the make-up team. Absolute least I can do since I'm not paying them a set wage.

    I also try to help with transportation like figuring out car pools to help those without cars.

    Oh and get as much done in a day as possible. No one wants to waste time on set especially when it's not paid so my pre-production time is the most valuable time I have. That way we're in and out with a great product done smoothly.

  2. Thank you Tonya. See, that's what I think it should always be like. But alas, I have run into shoots that do not do that, as you have, and I always wonder how they look themselves in the mirror? It's completely disrespectful and sometimes, downright abusive of talent (i.e. they are just using you). It shocks me.