Film crew secrets to find and keep free help

You have a great video production project planned. An excellent script is written and you have wonderful talent signed on to start when you’re ready. The problem is that you don’t have the budget to hire a professional crew. What are the secrets to finding free but qualified film crew? You know you need first rate production value in order to succeed in selling or having your film accepted to festivals. Here are some valuable tips to getting and keeping free film or video crew.

Photo: mtstradling

Getting Free Crew
Having a quality, or at least an interesting production, will help quite a bit. If you have any names at all attached to your project, like a script writer who won a festival award, or one of your actors was in a well known B horror movie or even porn production, helps immensely. Any type of publicity you can use that makes your production seem higher than amateur will bring in experienced crew looking to pad their resumes.

Advertise online, on your state or country’s production web page, and start a production blog to get a strong buzz of interest going. Have pictures and bios on all your actors and an attention grabbing story description on the production web site or blog. Film and video crews love to keep working. In between paying gigs, they are always looking for decent projects that will hone their skills or add new ones. All you have to do is take the effort and time to make sure you are running a class production act, and you will attract free film crew.

Photo: striatic

Keeping Free Crew
The number one rule to keeping your newly found free crew is to be respectful. Although this may sound like a no brainer, you would be amazed at how often free crew tend to be more mistreated than paid crew members. Yes, you may be the boss, director, or producer on this project, but the bottom line is you can’t do it without the expertise of your gaffers, sound and camera operators. Where would you be without competent script supervisors and an awesome 2nd assistant director to keep extras and all the other small things in order? Don’t let the stress and excitement of producing your movie allow your ego to get out of control. Otherwise, you may find you are standing alone on the set with no one to yell action to.

Be mindful of the hours you work your free film crew. Try not to go over 12 hours in a shooting day. On independent productions, many times this is difficult to do, because of major time constraints. Do your best to keep to a reasonable shooting schedule and be courteous. If you need to work longer hours toward the end in order to finish, your free film crew will more than likely be happy to accommodate you.

Feed your free film crew well and often. There is really no excuse in the world not to feed the people who are working for you for free. In fact, if you are not prepared to come up with good food for your film crew, you are not ready to shoot anything. Assign someone to coordinate snacks and a main lunch, I don’t care if it’s your sweet grandmother, but make sure you have it taken care of. Have a questionnaire ready at hiring, to determine each crew members likes, dislikes and allergies in order to plan respectable meal decisions.

Photo: mtstradling

Post Production Promises
So many producers and directors will promise a percentage on sales, credits on the movie and movie copies and don’t deliver. So not cool. What ever you promise your free film crew, deliver it, period. To disrespect free crew by using their services, and then forget about them after you got what you wanted, is really low behavior. Word will get around, and it will taint you and your production, now and into the future if you don’t do what you agreed to.

Keep good records of everyone’s title and have the correct name spelling on file. Note the daily hours they put in on your production. A good idea is to find a way to reward those who put in more time on your project where ever you can. For instance, for so many hours you get a film credit, so many more hours a free copy of the DVD is included and all the way up to a percentage of sales will be added in.

Follow these secrets to finding and keeping free film crew and you will have a happy and successful production. You will get high production quality as well as gain a great reputation that will have professional crew wanting to work on any other future project you lead. This is the beginning of a fantastic career choice for you, so treat your crew and production with respect from the start and an excellent reputation will always precede you.

  • Very true and interesting read.

    FrobisherJuly 4, 2011 12:27 am
  • Thanks a million for the sensible yet critivcal ideas. It boils down to one thing–treating others as you want to be treated!

    I have a non-profit 501 (3) C organization and looking for great actors, crew, etc.. This is a humanitarian project. A certain 5 of proceeds go to folks who are suffering for no fault of their own. We’ve had a lot of disastors in the mid-west recently and want to help some of these folks. Thank you again for the unselfish advice. WELL TAKEN.

    Carole DonovanJune 3, 2011 7:16 am

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