August 04, 2020
If you’ve filmed in India before, you’d know this already – with every camera, there is an (or more) attendants and with the lights also, there are attendants. Sometimes it does become difficult to explain to our clients why our crew size is larger than expected. That is the norm. That is how the media industry in India functions. Those are the union rules. I guess this is predominantly to generate employment, and that being so, it is only fair.
Most of the attendants or even camera assistants come from the lower middle class or economically weaker sections of the society. They are daily wage earners who work sincerely, will sit patiently through your number of takes and retakes, change of set up, moving equipment, charging batteries and the works; sometimes even wait away from the set because not all of them are required during filming. It’s their job and they will happily do it.
Just like it’s your job to give them their tea break to have their chai and snacks – twice a day.
Mornings in India are incomplete without a cup of tea and so are the evenings; mid-mornings as well.
Tea in India is still more popular than coffee. Statistically for every 1 cup of coffee, 30 cups of tea are consumed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if 20 of those were consumed by film crew.
For people struggling to make ends meet, their meal and tea breaks are of utmost importance to them. It is a habit and a need.
If these are delayed or missed, one will notice energy levels, motivation, smiles – all fading away slowly. As producers in India, we personally ensure that this need is catered to. Sometimes when we have hectic schedules, we manage the crew breaks on rotation so that work doesn’t get affected…. But those tea breaks are given!
So the next time you’re filming in India, join the crew over a cup of chai, exchange stories with them, a few moments of laughter and you’ve bought yourself a fan following for life. They will remember you and talk about you whenever they get together for a shoot again and if you’re lucky to have them on another project, you’ve got yourself a loyal and dedicated team who will take that extra step to make sure your work goes smoothly.
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