Today, I ate lunch on Netflix’s dime. It was okay.
A.K.A. Jessica Jones is filming on our block today. I don’t know if anyone or anything famous, like Charlie Cox’s abs, is out there, but I do know that there are a lot of friendlyish crew members, and they are kind of blocking our office door, and they have a tent that has some food in it. If you live in a city that is home to TV or movie sets, you’ve seen these around. Maybe you’ve thought about snatching a little snack. I’m here to tell you that this is something anyone can do if you believe in yourself and are comfortable committing petty crime.
(If you want to rationalize your bad behavior, remember that TV and movie sets are a public nuisance enabled by municipal fat cats who accept payment from studios in return for permission to jam up city sidewalks, shut down blocks at a time, and sometimes park a 53-foot, two-story trailer in the middle of a busy street to house Will Smith’s body thetans. If you want me to rationalize my bad behavior, Gawker Media Executive Managing Editor Lacey Donohue was walking to work this morning when a man in a hat stopped her and said, “Ma’am, you can’t go down that sidewalk, it’s for crew,” which is the wrong thing to say to someone going to work on the block of public sidewalk that’s been expropriated for your superhero binge factory. I know my rights, hat guy! I pay Netflix taxes in this town the same as anyone! You take our sidewalk, we snatch a few tiny plates of your watery fruit salad!!!!)
Anyway, as I was saying, this is a relatively straightforward thing to do. Here is a short guide, in bullet points:
- If possible, wear normal clothes. Since most days you will not dress yourself planning on sneaking into a tiny tent to eat a few dollars’ worth of free food, this is not a big deal, but your chances of being stopped and scolded go up if you aren’t just wearing, like, jeans and a T-shirt.
- Don’t be carrying things like shopping bags or soccer balls or a fruit salad you bought at a place that makes nice fruit salads.
- Because I am an idiot, I went the talk-on-the-phone-like-a-harried-assistant route, which almost always works but introduces a level of complexity that isn’t really necessary here, since you are just trying to eat food off of a table, something people do all the time.
- Just walk up and see what is available, then make a swift, confident decision for your plate. Act like a regular human being, and not a weirdo stealing like eight pieces of honeydew, the worst melon (very sad honeydew which tastes like someone juiced a roll of toilet paper and then shoved it up a cantaloupe husk’s butt, by the way), and some balls of tuna on hard bread. The tuna biscuit thing was pretty good.
- Don’t expect too much from the table. Craft services, I learned from Wikipedia today, is a department that provides snacks for everyone on set at all times, and not a huge company that makes lots of food and has a wildly unrealistic monopoly on all filming sets. It’s catering that takes care of meals, so really good food (I guess?) is harder to come by for free. If you are a deep Hollywood Insider, please leave a comment below or use a Gawker Media Secure Drop PGP Key to tell us how to score the good stuff for free.
- That said, a high-placed source told Gawker that sometimes there is an omelette station. Always have an omelette if it’s an option, they’re great.
- You shouldn’t worry too much. I’m told by one person in our chatroom (a reliable source!) that a lot of the food ends up getting tossed anyway, like honeydew, which is honestly garbage. The worst that happens is someone from the crew will realize that you are not supposed to be eating their food, and say, Hey, you, get out of there.
To that last point: When I returned to take a photo of the spread (see above), a woman stopped me to ask if I was part of the crew. “Are you part of the crew?” she asked.
“Yes. I’m taking a picture to show someone what’s up here.”
“Tell them this is nothing, I have lots of food coming. What do they want?”
“Uhh, chicken. … … ... White chicken?”
“What? Who’s this for?”
“I don’t work here. Bye.”