If you’ve ever tried to make a film before – horror or otherwise – you’ll know just how hard it can be trying to find a film crew, especially if you’re operating on a tight budget.
Fortunately, it’s much easier these days than it was previously, and with a few tips and tricks, you’ll easily be able to put a film crew together in no time at all!
High-Budget (Comparatively) or Low-Budget?
This will determine both the crew you get, and the route in which you get it.
Ideally, you’d always try and put together a film crew with a decent budget behind you.
That way, you can pay everyone for their work, put contingency in place and bring in additional crew members that you might not otherwise be able to afford, or that would be deemed surplus to requirement if you were doing the film low-budget.
Sourcing a Film Crew With a Budget
If you’ve got a bit of money behind your project, then we’d advise either approaching production houses and companies directly, or contacting film councils.
If you’re unsure what sort of rate you should be paying, then you can get a better idea by visiting the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union’s (Bectu) website and checking out their rate card.
Sourcing a Film Crew Without a Budget (or With a Low Budget)
Now, this is more difficult (as you might imagine) but it’s by no means impossible.
First off, you can’t expect a crew to work for you for free (or just for expenses) if the project itself doesn’t sound enticing. You’ve got to make it worth their while creatively, after all!
So, what factors could your project have going for it that might sound appealing to do gratis?
- You’ve got a state-of-the-art, new piece of equipment they can use (a cameraman getting to use a new model of camera, for instance).
- You’re working in an area or genre that the person you’re hiring, themselves, doesn’t have a lot of experience within: this way, it offers them an opportunity to hone and cultivate their filmmaking skills in a way they might not otherwise get to do. An SFX artist who wanted to get into the horror genre, for instance, but who hadn’t previously done any work in that sphere, is more likely to work on a low/no-budget horror film than an genre-leading SFX artist.
- Social media is your friend in this industry: use platforms like Facebook and Twitter to your advantage, by reaching out and advertising positions on your crew. You’ll be staggered by the responses you get! Again, though, make sure to stipulate clearly that your position is low-pay/unpaid if it is.
Most importantly, don’t make false promises! Be open and transparent from the off about what you are (or, more accurately perhaps, aren’t) offering to potential film crew.
Becoming known as someone in the industry that reneges on what they initially say will very quickly develop you a bad reputation, and you’ll put off other people from working with you in the future.
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Try to Cover Some Expenses, At Least
Even if you’re unable to pay your crew a salary, then you’ll need to at least cover their travel, accommodation and food costs (unless you’re working with your friends of course)
Otherwise, you’ll find that even the most willing and accommodating of crew members will struggle to see it as worth their while if you can’t cover those expenses.
Where to Find Your Film Crew
We’ve already touched on how social media can be used to locate and source your film crew. Some may look down upon using such tools to widen your network, but there’s a wealth of undiscovered talent out there you can find through a RT on Twitter, or in a Facebook Group, you just have to put yourself out there!
Alternatively, you can contact local film councils, or use casting websites such as Spotlight (purely for finding your actors), Mandy, Backstage. Whatever you use, be crystal clear with what you’re offering, to avoid any potential complications or friction down the line.
Besides these digital methods, you might also want to consider networking by attending film festivals and industry events, and just get talking to as many people as you can! We even have our very own online networking event, Film Network Speed Pitching, which has helped filmmakers and creatives all over the country find fantastic crew and collaborators!
The Hiring Process
Once you’ve found your potential candidates, the hiring process is actually relatively simple – you request their CVs and conduct an interview process, just like you would with any other job.
You might also want to see a sample or portfolio of their work, just to get more of an idea for their style (if they’re a cinematographer, for instance). Once you’ve hired them, you’re ready to go!
Hopefully, having read this, you’ll have a better idea about how to put together your very own film crew, so that you too can get out there and start filming that film you’ve always wanted to make!
Just remember, when you’re operating on a low budget, be clear about both your goals and what you can offer!
Here at The London Horror Society, we’re passionate about bringing creators of all disciplines together, and doing whatever we can to make filmmaking and other creative pursuits as accessible to as many people as possible. From bringing people together and helping them collaborate at our online ‘Speed Pitching’ sessions, or screening the fruits of their labour at our Indie Film Showcases.
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Now, go forth and terrify!
The London Horror Society team.