I worked on a production recently and the producer asked me what I wanted for dinner. Being vegan, my food is always challenging to order, so I avoid the risk of wasted effort and wasted food by ordering myself or making special arrangements. I’m not going to eat something I disagree with to make anyone happy, so it’s best to avoid the issue altogether. I thanked the producer and declined his offer, yet he insisted, so I told him of a place nearby—s’nice Cafe—that offered what I ate. It would be an additional order, an additional tip, and an additional task for him to manage. He was willing to tackle it, though, and reassured me it wouldn’t be a problem. Fine, I’ll bite.

I got an email from him two days later saying he had their menu and was confused because the sandwich had cheese on it. I had to explain that it was non-dairy cheese and safe to order. Everything worked out smoothly and my dinner was prepared without a hitch on the day of the production. I was able to enjoy my meal with the rest of the crew and not sit there, hungry, watching as the others enjoyed their meals.

Food is one of the most important factors in a production. You can have the best location, light, and equipment and have it all for naught if your crew is hungry and irritable. Always budget for a wholesome meal for each crew member so they can give you their all, even when they’re working for free. It shows them you care and they will reciprocate. That’s why I give it my all.