Remember Golden Rule Number One: Never scrimp on food for the cast and crew. I’m a firm believing in spending a little food cash on cast and crew, but since this is a blog on “zero” budget filmmaking, I will give ways to do things on the “free.” Doing all of these will allow you to do a film with a zero budget; although it will most likely gain you a “cheap” reputation. And will take you much longer to do the film, but what’s a little time when you’re making a movie for no money, right?
The first and easiest solution is to pick the “zero budget” time of day. To do a film with no budget, the best time to shoot will be from 1 pm to 5 pm. (Only four hours a day will make for a long shooting schedule 🙂  )  If you shoot in the morning, breakfast of some sort is almost always expected – which can mean coffee, juice, and bagels. Anything else is great, but this should be the bare minimum. (To the actors out there – agreed?)
Shooting anytime around will noon will also imply a lunch, as well it should. A One pm crew call means that everyone should eat before they arrive, and the same holds true if stopping by 4 of 5 pm: everyone will be on their own for dinner. Going passed five gets into the dinner hour and will imply a dinner break.
Nighttime shoots can be cheaper, but expectations for a nighttime shoot will be soda and chips – plenty of chips and a good variety are always good. (To the actors out there – agreed?) And nighttime means anything after 6 pm until 8 am. If crew call is 7 pm or 11 pm or 2 am, soda and chips, if not more, will be needed.
And always have water. Bottled waters are best, that way everyone can have their own. Take a sharpie and then everyone can mark their bottles and not lose them – and not need a second or third or fourth one because of misplacing their first bottle. Cheap and free way to go for zero budgeting is to bring water in a 5-gallon jug and providing cups. Cheaper still is if you use glasses. You save on cost of paper cups – but you have glasses to wash. (Have you ever seen in film credits “dishwasher”? Me neither, but if you have someone step up and volunteer to wash the glasses, be sure to list this in the credits.)
Next time we’ll talk about ways of getting food with a zero budget.
Sound off: Have you ever been expecting food and got none? What happened? How did you retaliate? Would you work for this producer again?

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