We’re all adults, not teenagers, so why do we feel the need to celebrate after every single project? After talking to several people I’ve heard a handfull of reasons which can all be summed up into these four groups:
It’s generally a good business practice to make your employees feel appreciated. Throwing a wrap party to say “thank you” at the end of each production makes the producers more likable (increasing their chances of being able to find crew again on their next project) and is just a really nice thing to do. Much appreciated!
To “ease the transition:”
As in many other art disciplines, most filmmakers have issues with anxiety and/or depression; but being on set gives them a sort of high. They’re surrounded by like-minded creatives who share their ideals and passions, they’ve got a strong sense of community and belonging there, and they feed off of each other’s energy. Despite working long hours on their feet (often 12 or more) those qualities make the job the highlight of their day/week/month!
But what happens when it’s over? They go home and wait for the next gig. If they don’t know when that is they may be left to wonder how long the money will last. Will they be able to make it by in the mean time? What will they do with their time now since most of their other friends work normal jobs. They feel, for the time, isolated and useless and alone.
The wrap party gives them all a positive way to mark the change and wish each other best of luck “until next time.” And for some (if we’re being completely honest) it’s an opportunity to drink together and forget what’s coming in the morning. This is what my colleague meant by “ease the transition.”
As mentioned, working in film means long hours. It may also mean really inconsistent/unpredictable working hours. You may go in at 5am one day and 6pm on the next. This can become stressful by the end of a month long project. People may get aggravated with each other. The wrap party gives everybody a chance to leave a positive impression (again) before parting ways and remind each other that we’re all likable and fun to hang around once we’ve all had some rest. Some believe this is vital to booking later gigs (especially if you’re brand new to the industry).
‘Nough said. Who doesn’t like to get together with a group full of likeminded individuals and hang out?
Share your insight. If you have experience with these (or similar gatherings) what is your perspective on them?