Monday, 24 May 2010

Tip #32: Crew who work together well

By Dan Parkes (Director)

In high budget mainstream films there are many famous collaborations between directors and DOPs, such as Steven Spielberg & Janusz Kaminski, Jonathan Demme & Tak Fujimoto, Alfred Hitchcock & Robert Burks, Peter Jackson & Andrew Lesnie to name a few… (for an extensive list visit here)

There are obvious advantages with this: a similar artistic vision and camaraderie, followed by communication shorthand (“we can set this next shot up the same way we did that similar scene in our last film”). The same is equally if not more relevant on low budget productions. It is crucial to surround yourself with people you have worked with before and you can trust to make things happen. However this is not always possible. In this case, there are some simple things to look out for when recruiting crew.

Find those who are:
  1. Good at what they do, with proof (on-line showreel, a CV, general knowledge, referee)
  2. A positive, team player (personality, references, worked with some already in your crew)
  3. Willing to multi-task and work until the job is done
  4. Has more passion for film production than money (particularly passionate about your project, not just doing it for the money)
  5. Is local to the production (save on transport expenses)
  6. Has own transport and/or equipment
Points 3 and 4 are very important; you do not want an “old-school” member of crew who will not pitch in and help when you are running short of time and need help holding a boom. Neither do you need someone who is going to complain about it not paying as well as other productions (they should already realise that!).

Also, don’t over-crew your film. Have only those who are absolutely necessary as a smaller crew who works together well can achieve more than a large, non-communicative, disorganised crew.

If you have crew you have worked with before and who have been selected carefully, then you will not only achieve your film objectives, but have lots of fun while doing so!

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