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Old April 4th, 2011, 04:48 PM   #136
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Re: Equine videographers - Los Angeles

Yes, paying jobs are indeed implied in this forum, but for
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Old April 4th, 2011, 06:19 PM   #137
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Re: Equine videographers - Los Angeles

Original post modified to comply. Thanks.

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Old April 5th, 2011, 12:33 PM   #138
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

We've heard from other directors and DPs... i thought I'd toss my input in as crew.

I'm the guy you dream of attracting. I own a truck full of gear covering every department. I am a 20 year veteran in the industry but the "hobby" and "passion" side of me really enjoys a good scrappy no-budget indy project now and then. As a rule I'm paid nicely for my time and equipment, but I am open to doing the exact same job for free if something intrigues me. When I sign up for freebies, it is without without any delusions I'll ever get paid. I don't have any ego about it. "Lets do this thing" and do it right.

Saying that, go reread Sareesh's post. That right there is the motherload of good advice. His alternate plan is basically a step by step process to attracting ME to your film.

Embellishing that, I'd like to suggest you think of your movie NOT as the collection of the work of the team, but as the thing you have created, honed and perfected in your head. I'm not showing up to help you make a movie. I'm there to FILM your movie. The difference is profound and has everything to do with vision and discipline on your part. If the movie is proceeding in front of me, I can put my energy into doing my job.

If you know exactly what you want - not basically, not mostly - but shot by shot exactly what you want the finished film to look like, so much so that if you could draw, you could create the graphic novel of what is in your head... then we can talk. If not, then I'm not helping you film your movie, I'm helping you figure out what your movie is. That process is SO slow, and SO inefficient and such a pointless waste of a film set that it takes all the wind out of my sails. The absolute best way to run off your crew is to have them waiting around while you "figure things out". The absolute best way to keep a crew is to have everything so organized that they spend their day doing what they agreed to be doing. Soundies are recording sound. Grips are gripping. Actors are acting. If a day goes efficiently, it goes quickly and without as much attitude. Everybody wins.

Thats a huge ask. Having all your crap together is a tremendous demand. But that is precisely the job you are signing up for. The reason the producer and director get their name up front is because their job is the biggest. If you just want to have some fun "playing filmmaker" then just be up front about that. Throw some zombies in the plot and you'll get people to show up for giggles. Thats a whole different thing than attracting a good indy crew.

So for me personally, this is my extension of Sareesh's advice (which you should have reread by now) ...

1. Don't call me until your script is locked down, solid and awesome. Some evolution can occur on set, but if you start improvising scenes and dialog and motivations, you are GUARANTEED to miss something. I'm not going to agree to do your film until I know what your movie is. So... get it on paper at the least.

2. Write a movie that doesn't suck. That seems obvious, but 99/100 scripts that are handed to me are incoherent dribble that shifts genres mid stream and at best is a lame knockoff of some other movie. If a movie is something I'd want to watch, its something I'd want to film. Sometimes I'll help somebody because they are a really nice person, but even then, there has to be *some* hope the finished project is something I could at least show friends without a big "watch this ironically!" disclaimer.

Sareesh nailed it. If you think your script is awesome, go workshop it. Show it around. Test it. If i'm to invest my time and energy sailing with you, make sure your treasure map is accurate. if you have simply grown weary of refining it, then you don't have the energy to see the movie through... so why should I?

3. Put more time and money into attracting actors than attracting me. You can fluke a good movie with green crew. If the actors suck, the movie sucks. Period. Script first. Actors second. With those two nailed, the rest can be sorted out.

4. By the time you talk to me, you should have your leads fully vested and they should have done at least a dozen full length rehearsals (not readthroughs, but actual rehearsals) and the clumsy parts of the script should have been addressed and fixed and re-rehearsed.

Now, #4 might sound extreme and you can get all huffy about how i'm not a team player, but put it in the perspective of efficiency. If you and the 2-3 leads spend a solid week working out the kinks of their lines and performance, that is what, 4 people spending a week? If you go through that same process on set, that is what, 15 people plus a whole lot of gear spending a week doing the exact same thing? And on set, its not just a week. Its 2 weeks because every time we need to do another take because the actor didn't understand the script - that slows the day, loses inspiration and forces rescheduling and replanning around all the various schedules. That means more catering, more crap to sift through when editing... Rushing into the shooting stage is disrespectful of all the volunteer crew. Never dis a volunteer crew.

5. Put more energy into art direction and wardrobe than in me. Whether the movie sucks or not, the wardrobe and art direction can still be a portfolio piece for those departments. Get a good person for each of those roles and get them involved early enough and vested enough that they are able to do what they need. Those people will need thrift store budget, so you HAVE to spend money there. They can volunteer their time, but do not make them volunteer their money to buy clothes and props. A great art director can make magic out of a few hundred bucks, but they need that money to make magic.

6. Put in the time to nail down great locations. Not good, not "will do" but great. Its a huge effort, but locations that do not have major sound issues are vital. No flight path if your film is period. No french horn academy next door. No gymnasiums. Spend time on the location with the DP AND soundie and sort out what happens with lighting through the day and what sound issues arise . Schedule and plan accordingly.

7. Do NOT lie to your crew. If you say you have permission to film somewhere, you need to have permission. If you say you've scouted the location, then by dammit, you should have stepped foot on the location before. I've lost track of how many times i've shown up to a location and the people there had no clue who we were and why we were there. I'm ready to film a movie and instead we are calling people to talk to other people to verify what somebody meant. No. no. no. no. no. no. I'm willing to give up my time and energy, but not willing to get screwed. If it turns out you lied to me about something important? I'm gone. Being a team works both ways, and honestly, it needs to flow MORE from the "indy director" down than it needs to flow up. You need to respect the time and effort of the crew more than we need to respect your vision. You own the final product, so its only fair. You are asking the favor, not me. Do not lie.

8. Food. No indy film is ever "no budget". You gotta pay for food, and it needs to change in some fashion between meals. Not the same box of crackers and easy cheese. I'm more than happy for somebody's mom to make sammiches. I'm not asking for gourmet, just make sure we have some meals, have some meal breaks and there is drinking water and glasses aplenty. Write my name on a plastic cup and buy generic soda, thats fine. But make sure there is something.

For multiple days in a row, junk food kills momentum. At least have some of the meals "healthy". The fatty salty stuff is awesome, but makes you want a nap if the shoot goes long.

9. Money. See, i'm not of the same camp as everyone else here. There are decent crew out there that will work for free... but you gotta spend money on 1-8. Part of why I want people to pay me is because if they are paying me by the hour or day, then they naturally start to prioritize 1-6, if not 1-8. If you are paying me $2k/day for me and my gear, then YOU will come up with the bright idea to maybe rehearse your actors before they are on set with me and maybe double check locations and the upcoming weather. You might even decide NOT to shoot the outdoor scene in the rain because its pretty obvious it doesn't match with the rest of the footage and "we might as well shoot something since we are all ready to go" means paying for a whole pointless day of shooting.

So probably the #1 most important lesson here is that even if you are not paying your crew, you need to structure your shoots as if you were.

Let me repeat that because it is so important: No matter what you are paying your crew, you need to structure your shoots with the same awareness and caution that you would if you were paying the $10,000/day that a proper indy film shoot might cost. Anything that might waste part of a day of full crew? Don't do that, unless its worth $2500 out of your own pocket.

Here is a related life-lesson: If you ever ask people to help you move, you need to box up all your crap BEFORE they show up. Moving all your stuff is enough of a favor. If they show up and all your stuff is out on the shelves and you don't have any boxes and haven't sorted out a moving van or even a trailer, then you have abused your friends and are a jerk. You also need to have a new apartment already rented and have a map to it. There are professional moving companies that you can pay to box it all up and bring trucks and store your stuff and unpack it. If you are asking your friends to do all that you need to spell out exactly what you are asking because "help me move my stuff" is usually a big enough favor on its own. And if you want your volunteers to stay happy? You need to measure your hideabed couch and make sure it fits in the third floor doorway before people carry it all the way up the stairs. (i wish that was an abstract lesson and not something i experienced firsthand. ugh)

The above paragraph was also an analogy, if that wasn't obvious. hehe


Now I realize nobody is reading on this far, but this brings me to a related but possibly tangential point:

Crew need gear to do their job. If lighting and grip are a part of your set, you need to source decent lighting and grip gear. If somebody is volunteering their time to gaff, it is your job to get lights into their hand to gaff with.

There is a dangerous logic trap that comes next with indy directors. here it is:

1. i don't have enough money to do this film, but am going for it
2. i found somebody to gaff for free, but they need lights
3. I can rent lights that are the right tools for the job, but they are so expensive!
4. I know... for the same money i can BUY cheap lights, force the gaffer to make them work and then own them for my next shoot!

you can repeat that with grip or sound gear too. It is really hard to get no budget directors to comprehend how short sighted the jump from 3 to 4 is. You get somebody to work for free, then CHOOSE to force them to work extra hard and compromise what they can accomplish so you can have a long term investment in gear. That sucks.

Here is the solution to that logic trap:
5. At the end of the shoot, the low budget lighting/grip/sound gear becomes the property of the gaff/grip/soundie as payment/reward for their services.

Knowing you don't keep the gear may very well change your priority. At the least, the volunteers have something for their time. Either they get some ghetto gear out of it, (which you will then be able to use next time you bring them on as crew like you promised!) or you will opt to rent the good stuff, in which case the crew gets to use good gear. win/win.



It seems so obvious, but if you pay people to be on set, they are less upset when you are inefficient and slow and "learning the trade" on their time. If you cannot pay people, then you need to hustle something fierce to make sure you are NOT "learning the trade" on their time.

So with all that sorted out, you can come to me and pitch your movie, your script, your actors and your locations. THAT pitch, with all that stuff sorted out, has an infinitely better chance of attracting a good indy crew. If you can answer all the above concerns straight off the bat, then that is the absolute best way, in my opinion, to attract an independent film crew.

Any of us would gladly time travel back to be an unpaid crew on the original starwars or indiana jones movies. Anothert way to attract a crew? Be an upcoming film visionary with a groundbreaking movie... or win the lotto and pay people good money to put up with your halfassed piece of crap. Either way works for me.


And that snappy reaction to James? Way inappropriate. If you want to be a director of a good crew, you need a WAY thicker skin and more useful reaction to adversity. You flare up like that on set and you'll lose crew and even friends. If you are director of a fully paid piece, you can cop all the attitude you want. If you are the director of an unpaid piece? You get to be the bigger man in ALL disputes, or run the risk of being "right"... and alone.

my 2c anyways. Hope i didn't seem entitled. Actually, i'm not sure I care if i seem entitled. Heh!

Last edited by Andrew Dean; April 5th, 2011 at 01:35 PM.
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Old April 5th, 2011, 12:45 PM   #139
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

Now theres a post, might i suggest shooting in New Zealand Sean :)

Andy
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Old April 5th, 2011, 05:07 PM   #140
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

I cant believe I read Andrews whole post. I must say that he does bring up some very good points.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 03:15 AM   #141
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

Andrew's post is absolutely spot on and should be given as an initial reply to all lo/no productions.

I have over 30 years in the mainstream TV and film industry but now enjoy working on indie films and putting a bit back giving the next generation assistance.

I have been lucky that all the guys I have worked with so far have always put their film first and have been very organised and pro, more so than some mainstream broadcasters I have worked for.

But I still get people who don't even bother to reply to me or want me to shoot their lo/no film as if it was a hollywood blockbuster, I tend to leave them to their dreams and most of the time the film never gets made.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 11:24 AM   #142
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Dean View Post
8. Food. No indy film is ever "no budget". You gotta pay for food, and it needs to change in some fashion between meals. Not the same box of crackers and easy cheese. I'm more than happy for somebody's mom to make sammiches. I'm not asking for gourmet, just make sure we have some meals, have some meal breaks and there is drinking water and glasses aplenty. Write my name on a plastic cup and buy generic soda, thats fine. But make sure there is something.
Andrew's post should be a must read for anyone thinking about making a movie beyond gathering friends on a weekend and just shooting a "movie".

I do shoot a lot of indie shorts through the film coop I belong to, both as crew member and sometimes as producer. A couple of things I've learned is that the successful projects are the ones that are well organized and do follow the "Hollywood" organization model, although to a much smaller degree. There are reasons why you create a shot list, send out call sheet, and actually scout locations. Block out your scenes before you get the whole crew on set. The time to discover that your big epic crane shot won't work because you don't have the clearance needed for your rig isn't when the actors and crew are standing around on the day of the shoot.

As Andrew mentioned in his point #8, no film is ever made with no budget. The lease I've spent on making a short (about 6minutes running time) is just under $1000. We got the location for free, actors and crew volunteered there time and talents, and we had all of our gear (mostly mine) provided by the crew members so we didn't have to rent any. We did have to purchase some expendables and pay for some props to dress the set, and of course provided food and beverages throughout the production. We had two full crew pre-production meetings where food and drinks were provided, and three rehearsals with the cast (again some food and beverages). Things like makeup, copying services (every crew member and cast member should have a script provided to them), and other incidentals add up very quickly. However, if you show that you are willing to put yourself out to make sure your crew is looked after, they will work like crazy for you.

Food is recurring theme for a lot of shoots I've been on. One of the things that I was told when I started that still sticks with me is, "a hungry crew is a grumpy and unproductive crew". That's really true, Always have bottled water and juice available. And a great way to show that you care about your crew is to send out a questionnaire asking if the anyone has any food allergies or are vegetarian or vegan.

This is a great thread and hopefully will enable a lot of indie filmmakers to see there movies get made.

-Garrett
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Old April 6th, 2011, 02:31 PM   #143
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Dean View Post
We've heard from other directors and DPs... i thought I'd toss my input in as crew...
Since no one else has actually said it yet, may I respectfully suggest that this post be made a sticky?
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Old April 6th, 2011, 08:21 PM   #144
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Looking for second HDV shooter 4/17/10 Weehawken NJ, accross the river from Manhattan

I am looking for 2nd shooter for ceremony with HDV camera (to match my Sony Z5) in Weehawken, NJ Apr.17 from 4:30 to 7:00 pm

I need some b-roll of the venue and you will have to be on tripod all the time during the ceremony and give me the tapes after you are done.

Paid 125 cash on the spot.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 03:56 PM   #145
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Shooter needed in Phoenix, AZ - Half Day week of May 9th

I'm looking for someone for a weekday shoot of a sit down interview to be captured sometime during the week of May 9th in Phoenix. The finished video will be approximately 2.5 to 3 minutes and would have one person on camera delivering lines.

I will need you to shoot the interview and possibly shoot some b-roll of the surroundings and send me the raw footage which I will then edit. The interview itself should take approximately 1 hour. The entire shoot should be no more than half day including setup and strike. The video needs to be shot in HD and you would have to provide all equipment including lights (simple three point lighting), camera, and audio equipment. The interview will be shot on a weekday during the week of May 9th. Date and time will be coordinated with the interview subject.

If you are interested please send me an estimate based on a half day shoot, your equipment list, and any links to examples of your work.

Thanks
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Old April 8th, 2011, 06:35 PM   #146
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

Damn... I should have been born in New Zealand. I place blame squarely on my parents shoulders.

Again, awesome feedback. Thank you for the replies!

And yes, I agree about the sticky. Not only has this thread helped me greatly, but I suspect the information can/will help many to come. And who knows... maybe some day someone walk up to me and go...

"Oh my GOD!!! You're SEAN CLOUTIER!!! Your movies suck, but that thread you started was AWESOME!"

or maybe he says he liked my movies... but then the joke isn't as funny

:-)

Last edited by Sean Cloutier; April 8th, 2011 at 08:47 PM.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 12:02 AM   #147
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Re: Looking for second HDV shooter 4/17/10 Weehawken NJ, accross the river from Manha

I have a Canon XH A1 and an XL H1 HDV setup. Would that be fine, or would you prefer a Sony HDV camera? I'm available!
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Old April 9th, 2011, 12:11 AM   #148
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Re: Two Shooters with equipment-Upstate NY

I sent you an email.
Thanks,
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Old April 9th, 2011, 11:29 AM   #149
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

Doh, Sorry Sean. In a frothy fury fueled by suggestions of stickydom, I expanded my diatribe to include on set and post production tips and posted it in the indy production forum.

A crewmember's tips for attracting indy crewmembers

Your thread will always be the original, and mine the cheesy spinoff.


As to being born in the wrong country, thats kinda funny. I'm actually a texas expat. Born in dallas, grew up in oak cliff and lived in east dallas until my wife and I packed up and moved in search of Xena and hobbits 8 years ago. I used to date a girl in lewisville... Its such a crazy small world. heh.

Good luck with the movie! I'll look for your name on the sundance website.

P.S. lewisville is a dump! ha!
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Old April 10th, 2011, 02:55 AM   #150
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

Andrew, your input is extremely valuable and well stated. It should be a thread of its own. I'm always amazed that people with vast knowledge are willing to help the underlings. Me being an underling, so thank you.

I hope you're right about the film festivals. I've got a great story/script. Yea, every story has been told a million times before, but the way I tell it is interesting. The same can be said for the notes on a music scale. Each notes been played a gagillion times, but the arrangement is what makes it unique.

I guess in the end, I'm looking for the same thing everyone else is looking for...

... I want my life to be amazing. One day I'll be old and look back on my life. I want to feel like I haven't taken this gift for granted. I want to take comfort that I didn't waste it.
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