How to attract crew to your film production

I am going to assume that you are reading this article because you require a crew for your film, but are unable to afford industry rates. You might not be able to afford anything. If that is the case, all hope is not lost, but there are a few key things that will help you keep in everybody's good books and leave you in good stead for future productions.

The first thing to remember is to have respect for the people you are employing. If you want professionals, you must treat them like professionals. The first way you can show your respect for professionals is by making reasonable demands. Do not expect a cinematographer to turn up with a fully stocked ALEXA, Zeiss lenses, track and dolly and full lighting kit for free. It just doesn't happen.

If you are, for example, looking for a DoP with kit - be flexible. Don't demand the camera you want. Say you are looking for someone with kit and are open to suggestions. If there's something you REALLY, REALLY want then feel free to mention it but don't be heartbroken if you don't get it.

You will find with all crew that being able to offer a little money will improve the people you find dramatically. Even as little as minimum wage can tempt some people onto a project if everything else about it sounds right.

Make sure you are honest about your project, your budget and what you intend to achieve. I have lost count of the number of times I have read an advert which wants to do "something never seen before", or to "re-invent films" without even a budget. I and the people I know never apply to those productions. You are most likely starting out, perhaps on your first or second film, perhaps a student film. If that is the case - be honest.

I'd rather see an ad that says "Student film seeks crew to gain credit and experience together", rather than a paragraph about how supremely talented you are, followed by an imDB link with two credits as runner on a student film.

When you do pick crew, remember that if you are not paying them the only way you can show their value to you is by how well you treat them. Make sure they are always well fed, watered and looked after. Someone turning up on your film for no money constitutes a huge favour on their part. They do not owe you - you owe them. Remember this. If people have to cancel at short notice, this is a risk of making a film on a low budget. They aren't letting you down - they are doing what they need to do to pay their bills.

Nice, hot food is always better than a packet of supermarket sandwiches. If you must get sandwiches, go to a sandwich shop and get exactly what everybody wants. It is little details which will make the difference.

Wrap on time - don't schedule excessive days. People have lives outside of your film and it will help you to not mess with that.

Lastly, if your payment consists of "expenses and a DVD" - make sure they get them both. Be honest about how long it will take to get a DVD. I know many people who will never work on low budget productions again because they failed to get a DVD copy of the film.

So there's a few pointers to help - be honest, be professional and you will attract a good crew that will be happy to work with you again.