Craft services is a pretty damn important aspect of your film production – screwing this up could completely ruin your reputation as a filmmaker and a producer! So while you’re sitting there, racking your brain, searching for answers I might just have one, well, at least this is what we did when we shot our first season of “Points Of You“:

I calculated that I would need to feed everyone 3 times a day. So 25 people x 3 = 75 meals per day! We filmed for 18 days, so 18 x 75 = 1350 meals.

Once I’d digested that figure (last pun, I promise) I decided to approach my most valuable network: the local community. It’s great if you can get big international companies to sponsor your project, but it can be really difficult to get through to the right person and get the necessary support, especially when you’re talking to somebody who doesn’t know you over the phone.

Your local community on the other hand is right there, they have shops you can walk into and most importantly you can talk to them face to face, present your project and show them how passionate and dedicated you are about making this happen.

So I put together a package! A promotional leaflet outlining the series, the episodes and the team behind it. I made sure it looked the money and set off to conquer the world (or at least my local community).

I knew that 1350 meals would be an unrealistic amount for any ONE restaurant to support me with, but if I could get 18 bakeries to cover breakfast for one day, 18 snack bars to provide lunch and 18 restaurants to cover dinner I’d be home and dry.

So I went from shop to shop and spoke to the owners and managers. I made sure I was upfront with them and didn’t make any promises I couldn’t keep. Yes, I was going to offer them advertising space on our website and on the fliers we were going to get, but I obviously couldn’t guarantee that their shops would get 200 new customers a day. Obviously you’re going to encounter a lot of head shaking and the word “No” will become your best friend. It doesn’t matter.

Don’t get angry or frustrated: some businesses are simply too small to afford this kind of support or some don’t have the authority because the boss is away on holiday etc. Some people simply don’t care. Focus on the things you CAN achieve. The things that are within your reach! That will keep you going. Breaking the one big task (1350 meals) into SMALL ACHIEVABLE GOALS really helped me see what had to be done. And let me tell you, every time a shop agreed to help me, I felt like the king of the world because I knew I was one step closer to my goal. If you can hold on to that positive feeling when you walk into the next shop, you’re halfway there! Just be realistic about what you’re asking for and if someone offers you their hand, don’t take their arm!

I was overwhelmed by the positive response from people and their willingness to support local talent. I presented them with a project where the only thing missing to make it happen was them and their help. It wasn’t a vague case of “Erm…yeah…I want to make this series…erm…like…soon”. I believe that if people can see the direct result of their help and how it impacts on a project they are more willing to get involved. I also believe that if they can see how passionate and serious you are about something, the more they’re inclined to help.

In the end we had a large number of local businesses help us with our catering and the cast and crew loved it! They were getting Chinese dinner one day, Thai the next. They were munching on freshly baked croissants in the morning and snacking on home made pizza for lunch. It also showed them that I was willing to spend days and days running around organising this, rather than just shoving cheap pasta in their faces every day. I care about my team and their well-being and in return they care about my project and its well-being.

I kept in touch with the people and businesses who helped us, got them flowers when we wrapped, dropped off Xmas cards and sent them regular updates via email. This is key, as it shows them you CARE. Almost all of them have told me that they’d be more than happy to do the same thing again and have helped me get the word out there by mentioning us on their social media channels and allowing me put fliers in their restaurants/bars. Some of them even helped out with catering/drinks/locations when it came to putting the Series’ Official Premiere together. In return I offered them some basic video services or photos. Hey, if you’ve got a Canon 5D/7D (or whatever you’re shooting on) why not invest a few hours and help them create a video for their website or YouTube channel? I cannot stress enough how important this support network is for the development of your series AND future projects. These are the people who will support you again and again if you show them that you’re serious, dedicated and passionate about what you do. Just one thing: Don’t bullshit them! Ever! Relationships are a commodity in this industry.

So I guess my advice is: Look at your problem and once you’ve panicked and cried, break it down into bite sized chunks (OK, enough puns).

Nothing really stands in the way of you and your project! It just looks like it.

Go conquer the world (and your local community)!