Hi Bonnie,

As I’ve said before and I’ll say it again your books and articles have been such an inspiration to me. Seriously, I will never go to an Army audition with camouflage on again. The casting director at least had a sense of humor when he popped his head out and said, “Who’s the invisible guy there?” But on to the question of the day.

You stated in one of your articles that you are gluten-free. I have Celiac Disease and have to stay away from [wheat gluten] totally. What is the best way to handle this on the set where everything is prepared with gluten? Is it best to be quiet, bring my own lunch, and not rock the boat? Or should I inform someone that I need a gluten-free meal? Should I put it on my resumé so that people know about the problem? I say no to the resumé question because it presents a negative instead of positive impression. What is your take?

Ken Ritter

Hi Ken,

Thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad you enjoy my weekly musings!

I say no to the “putting it on the resumé” thing too, as it really could make someone say, “Too much work,” as they go past your resumé. But you definitely need to take care of yourself and your dietary needs. I am lucky that I do not have full-blown Celiac Disease, but simply a sensitivity to wheat gluten (I get horrific migraines from it). Still, I absolutely understand the plight of anyone who has dietary restrictions and then has to show up to a place where that isn’t anyone’s top concern.

But there is someone in my trusted circle of friends who has an even greater understanding of this issue. It’s the amazing and wonderful Anna Vocino, whose words I’ve quoted here quite a few times. In addition to having tons of info about acting and voiceover (and being the star of the hilarious VH-1 show Free Radio), Anna is the one who helped me discover my sensitivity to wheat gluten back in 2004. Basically, she single-handedly improved the quality of my life a GREAT deal. So, I reached out to her when I received your email, and here is what she had to say about it.

Ken probably won’t like the answer I’m gonna give, but that’s ’cause I’m always able to find something to eat, so I don’t warn people ahead of time if I’m working on a commercial. Commercials usually only shoot one or two days, plus the catering truck has plenty of gluten-free options — steak, chicken, veggies, salad. If you have a very strong gluten sensitivity/allergy, then you probably have to be more careful about cross-contamination.

On the two series I’ve done, I made the producers, the caterers, and the craft services department aware of my Celiac, so they always made sure there were options on set. The caterer wants you to be well-fed and enjoy what he or she has made for you, so I’ve noticed the caterers having fun coming up with gluten-free options.

I’d say the best way to handle it is to let your agent know what your dietary requirements are so that they can let the production know [when doing your contracts]. You should communicate this type of information with your agent anyway because if they send you out for a frozen pizza spot, will you be able to do 30 takes of eating a bite of pizza if you book the job? It all depends on how bad your sensitivity is, and once you go to the callback, you had better be ready to commit to the production once you get the job.

Celiac is not that well known, and people can sometimes roll their eyes, but hey, you gotta go with what your health requires. If all else fails, make sure you bring a little bag of gluten-free snacks to set in case there is absolutely nothing you can eat. And then you can let production know about your requirements for future shoot dates.

So, there you have it! Some great tips for folks with all sorts of food allergies, I’d imagine! Here’s to everyone’s good health, on every set, every day!

Need even more support in your creative career? Let us get you in gear with some FREE training right now!

Woo HOO!


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!


Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/000841.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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