Shoot Day, and Shoot Day Breakfast

I was sent this video link to a Shoot Day and I’m still chuckling.

And having flashbacks to Shoot Days Gone By. And they’re all about the same, no matter what we were doing. Some were more complicated, others a lot less.

This composite really kind of tells the story… No matter how gee-whizzy the stuff was in front of the camera, it’s who and what was behind it that made what was in front of it look good… Here’s the link:

What The Shining probably looked like behind-set…

This is really terrific. Has all of the elements, too…

Complete with the huh, what? prop dudes, the don’t mess with me, I’m in character…  actors, the HEY you’re walking through my carefully built set, please watch your step Set Master, and the WTF are you doing messing up my sound check Sound Guy…

Yep, been there…

And days like that bring remembrances of The Breakfast. The concept for this was given to me by one of our stringers (temporary-hire cameraman, sound man, grip, etc.). I’ve sort of perfected what works for me, you can change it to suit your tastes.

The basic idea is to have something substantial enough to get you through a morning of production work. On Shoot Days, there’s never a guarantee of when you’re going to get a break long enough to get something to eat, so you have to have a breakfast that can carry you until the Producer calls Break for Lunch, which can be as late as 2:00 or 2:30 PM, depending on how the shoot’s going. If things are really hot and jumping, there’ll also be few chances for breaks.

You also have to have something that can stand up to drinking coffee and standing around for an hour or two, then suddenly bursting into high energy, hard work for a couple hours. It also has to support repeatable, sustained, smooth, controlled, muscle movement for the times when you’re running camera or on dolly grip duty.

Oh, and it has to be CHEAP. TV production never pays well. So this is a lot to ask from a breakfast, and here’s the best thing I’d ever found.

The company used to have these cafeterias that were serving the Production side of the business, so they’d be open at all hours, and have all kinds of stuff on hand. Being “the Corporate TV guys”, we were trusted with universal-access cardkeys, which meant we could choose wherever we wanted to go eat. Some cafeterias were better than others (some were a LOT better!) and we’d just go to the closest/best one and pay a la carte for our Shoot Day Breakfast, and this is what we’d get:

Shoot Day Breakfast

You make this from whatever’s handy. Use this only as a general guideline; it all works fine. Imagine assembling this as a stir-fry, that’s how it can be ready in just a minute or so.

2 tsp Olive oil

2 to 3 cups cooked pasta – any kind that’s on hand

2 to 3 eggs     (a good ratio is one per cup of pasta)

1/3 cup of cheese     (or just a handful, depending on who’s measuring what)

Salt and pepper to taste.

Preparation

Throw the olive oil into a hot wok or a big pan. Immediately dump in the pasta and stir, to get it heated up, but don’t brown it. It gets chewy if you do. Salt and pepper it now.

Throw in about a third of the cheese, to get stuff to start sticking together.

Crack in the eggs and stir like mad. They’ll break up and distribute through the whole mixture.

Just as the eggs are almost done, throw in the rest of the cheese and give it a final couple stirs. A couple of the guys used to use hot sauce on it, but I never cared for the distraction of the mild heartburn.

Plate it up and slam it down because you’re “just crew” today and you have to be on time for Morning Crew Call or you don’t get paid.

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