Sunday, April 18, 2010


commercial shoot, ph: slw

I apologize for my absence but it's been a busy couple weeks. I was swept up by a shoot and it's difficult to fit in anything but the project on hand. Although pies and tarts are my desserts of choice, this morning I'm baking banana bread. I have a couple of bunches of over-ripe bananas left over from the shoot, and I always say waste not, want not. A big part of my job is trouble-shooting, not only putting out fires that inevitably occur put to anticipate problems before they happen. And as much as you feel you're prepared, things happen. It's just the nature of the beast that is a live-action shoot. Every shoot I always try to figure out how to be 'greener'. Every phase of production can have an impact on the environment, and it's important that every department does their part to make a set 'green'. And it's not always an easy task, as generally
there seems to be a lot of waste in production but I believe every person can do their part in making a difference - craft service, set construction, office staff, transportation.

What are some steps we can take? Recycling and proper waste disposal. Recycle everything possible and provide recycling bins for all recyclables. We generate a lot of paper as sometimes hard copies are preferable to digital files. Print and copy double-sided, and reuse single-sided, used paper. On shoots I make sure recycle bins are on hand for paper, water bottles and aluminum cans. But not everyone follows the rules, and often times you find busy crew have mixed the recyclables in with the trash. Post-shoot most locations won't allow you to dump your trash and recyclables on their property so I contract someone to come in at the end of the
day to dispose of them appropriately. At the end of a job, all unwanted items are donated to organizations in need.

A key part of a smooth shoot is to make sure my crew is fed, and fed well. Empty stomachs not only cause growling stomachs, it affects the crew's attitude. Shoot days tend to be long, and it's important to keep their energy levels up, hence craft service. I hire someone specifically to take care of this. They keep the crew supplied with snacks throughout the day that compose of sugar, salt, and protein. For lunch I hire a catering company to feed us a healthy but delicious meal, but sometimes they fall short of the order. I don't think it's too much for crew to expect a
great lunch and if a caterer disappoints I usually don't hire them again. When it comes to lunch you also never want to run out of food. I usually know how many people to feed, but if the caterer miscalculates on their end, you find yourself short or with too much food. What happens to the left-overs? Most of the time I ask the caterers to wrap it up for hungry production assistants to take home - they tend to be young and lean in the pockets, and with roommates who appreciate the gesture. But this doesn't always happen. My hope is that the caterers donate the left-overs to food banks. Encourage both your craft service and caterers to buy local organic food, fair trade coffee and teas, to purchase in bulk, and carry groceries in canvas bags. Also encourage the use of reusable dishware and mugs. Provide unbleached, recycled paper towels, plates and cups, and when possible avoid disposable. And ask caterers to
provide only recyclable serving containers, like aluminum pans. Avoid styrofoam at all costs.

In set design and construction reuse and recycle sets, and donate unwanted lumber, fencing and other supplies to local organizations. Use sustainable wood products. Purchase low-emission (low VOC) and less toxic alternatives of chemicals, paints, flooring, etc. Use sawdust to make sweeping compound, clean painting equipment like brushes and buckets, clean moisture spill, mix into plaster instead of sand, or sell as composting material to make natural fertilizer. Use canvas drop cloths instead of paper products to protect floor while painting. Clean and reuse paint brushes instead of throwing them away.

For transportation, encourage carpooling and the use of public transportation. Ask suppliers of trucks, buses/trailers if they have vehicles that run on natural gas, biodiesel or fuel cells. Turn off production vehicles when not in use. Utilize electric or hybrid vehicles if available.

Another thing you can do is to purchase with the environment in mind. Buy products from companies that provide technical assistance, products and/or services that conserve energy, reduce water consumption, preserve the quality of air and reduce the generation of solid wastes. And when possible utilize natural gas, biodiesel or solar generators and refrigeration systems.

More and more, shoots are going 'green' and it's a great thing. There are companies out there that hire out their services to help you do that. But we can all do our part to lessen the impact on our environment, and minimize our carbon footprint.


ph: slw

Banana Bread
3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup light brown sugar (or lessen to 3/4 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. No mixer needed for this recipe. With wooden spoon mix butter to mashed bananas.
  3. Mix in sugar, egg, and vanilla, then the spices.
  4. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over mixture and mix in.
  5. Add flour last.
  6. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 loaf pan, or 2 smaller ones.
  7. Bake one hour.
  8. Cool. Remove from pan. Slice and serve.

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