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Old February 22nd, 2011, 12:17 PM   #61
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

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Originally Posted by Sean Cloutier View Post
I'm not looking for hired guns, which I'm sure most of you fall into this category. I'm trying to build a team that can successfully create a great movie. This isn't the "Sean Cloutier" show, it's a team effort. The people that help make it a success will be part of my future projects. Why would I want to change a winning formula?

Burn out is the extreme lack of motivation. If people start to burn out, they will definitely leave. I don't push people, I inspire people to take a chance. I realize these people are risking their time, and time is the most valuable thing we posses. Burn out is a possibility for anyone, even me. But I don't quit. I finish what I start. I'm looking for like minded individuals.

Worst case scenario... the movie doesn't sell. Guess what? Everyone has the experience of working on a feature length film. They will know much more about their craft. Valuable experience.

I'm not trying to use people for my own gain... I'm trying elevate a team so we can put out an awesome product.
I see this "Build a team" speech all the time on craigslist. Now, I am a "hired gun" as you put it - but even as I was coming up from my student days, those words red flagged a project as something to avoid.

Some people make films as a hobby because its fun. And some people make a living at it and pay their bills that way. Most film and video students intend to make a living at it. Do we enjoy our jobs? Yes. Do we like to work with the team of people we know and like? Of course. But even if we're not getting paid today, the objective is to "make it" in the industry, and be able to pay our bills with this job.

To that end, we tend to be far less interested in someone who offers us a teambuilding experience than someone who can demonstrate why their project will be commercially successful. That means the script, the actors, the equipment, the other secured members of the crew, and yes - the funding.

Burnout is real. Lengthy indie unpaid features can have a lot of crew turnover because people burnout or prioritize their own life, show up late, or manage to book a "real" job that pays. Turnover destroys efficiency, and depending on who's providing the gear, can even cause larger logistical problems for the production.

Anycase... motivate people with money, a good script, good actors, good gear, good locations, and good crew to work with. Don't try to use "teambuilding" as a motivator.

You talk about building a team and then working with them on the next feature. The fact is, that may work with the hobbyists, but for the people who actually do this for a living (or want to), we put your job in our reel and resume, and we move on. If we get a chance to work with you again, that's nice, but really, we'd love to be booked up by the time you call again.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 12:36 PM   #62
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

I've read and re-read all the comments. I never expected this discussion to be as fruitful as it has, so I sincerely thank all of you for your feedback.

The re-occurring theme is "the more you pay, the better quality you get."

Soooo... in any good story, the "protagonist" (me) goes through a change in character by the end of the movie. This transformation is based on the interaction with the "antagonist" (you guys :-) Of course one may argue who's the hero in this story.

My transformation is to e-evaluate my budget and see what I can reasonably "pay" for a crew. It wont be much, but hopefully this will help keep them til the end.

Andy, it sounds like you are actively perusing your goals. carpe diem! It doesn't matter if you or I make a great movie, because in the end, it's really about the journey... and today I feel alive.

Take Care,
Sean

Last edited by Sean Cloutier; February 22nd, 2011 at 03:13 PM.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 12:48 PM   #63
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

Obviously James, I'm not interested in working with you and your attitude.

You are what I call entitled. I bet you're one of those people who sit on craigslist and flag the post for removal. BECAUSE YOU BETTER RESPECT MY AUTHORITI! (please use a cartman voice when saying this, it works better).

This post, as well as yours, adds nothing to the thread. It's ego's talking, nothing more.

Good luck, and if I ever meet you, I'll offer a hug.

Sean
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 01:20 PM   #64
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

Grumpy pro's asside :) id keep up what you're doing Sean, go to the film schools find filmmakers at the same point in the journey that still have the sparkle in their eye. You never know you may stumble on the next bruckheimer or Andrew Lesnie and make the next indie classic. Enjoy the little budget stuff like i did, i think if id had a team of pro's and a million bucks on my first film id have had a heart attack!

Now that i have a real opertunity to film a large scale movie im a bit terrified because iv never ran a camera department full of pro's before. But all you can ever do is be as prepared as you can and pray to god the weather stays nice.......and im in scotland so im doing a lot of praying.

Andy.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 01:26 PM   #65
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

Sean,

Your earlier posts made it very clear what sort of crew you would like to find and who you would like to work with - energetic, open minded, talented, preferably experienced, team oriented people who are passionate about film making but who aren't looking for a paycheck, but are just in it for the experience and comradery.

What I was trying to express - and perhaps did a poor job of - is that I don't believe that that crew actually exists. At least, not as a package deal. It certainly, in my opinion, doesn't describe the majority of those of us working in the industry, or aspiring to do so.

I certainly don't try to be antagonistic on this board - you asked "How to best attract an indie film crew" and as a DP who's worked on four features (the latest of which is in pre-production), and several shorts, I gave you my honest opinion garnered from these experiences. The majority of the crew members on those shoots were either volunteers, working on deferred pay, or low pay. In some instances, as the DP, I was the *only* paid crew member.

As such - I've been privy to the crew morale and performance in those situations. Generally, the crew starts very eager and energetic, but as the shoot drags on, that doesn't always remain the case. Feed your crew well, always keep your promises, and don't tell them it's a 6 hour shoot, then extend it to 12, and you'll likely do fairly well - but you're still limited in efficiency by the experience of the crew. Depending on how ambitious your script and shooting schedule is, this could be disastrous, or just an occasional minor hiccup at worst.

I've earnestly attempted to answer the legitimate question you posted - I'm sorry if it's not the answer you wanted to hear. I'd like to think that doesn't exclude it from being a legitimate part of the respectful discourse on this forum.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 03:21 PM   #66
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

Andy, you will do well in your current endeavor. Trust that you will make mistakes. As long as you get up, dust off your knees, people will follow your lead. btw. Sorry, my earlier post was addressed to you (I went back and changed the name, sorry for the confusion).

James, I guess I read it as "you can't do this because...". You've provided valuable insight, so thank you again for your suggestions. Like I said, I'm trying to figure out how to pay my crew. You influenced this decision.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 06:13 PM   #67
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

I'm glad to see that this discussion has come back around to mutual respect, good job gents. That's how we like to do it here at DVI!

I've had to immerse myself back into the world of uber low budget (and some freebies) thanks to my recent career shift and it's been more painful than ever. Not so much for me--while I have a mortgage and plenty of expenses to cover and I know exactly what my worth is (being as I do get my rate from time to time!), but it's very, very hard for me to ask people to work for small to no peanuts having been in the business so long. I can't possibly pitch the youthful, wide-eyed enthusiasm "let's put on a show"! routine, but I am also unable and unwilling to try to sell anyone on the "we've got big stuff coming up--this and that deal is pending" BS. As Josh pointed out, the great way to do it is to find people who are moving up from their previous position, who are self-motivated and making the same sacrifices as everyone else. They don't need much encouragement. Where it gets hard is with the guys who regularly do that job for a living. I know that James and Sean have made their peace but I would like to touch on this for a second for the benefit of others lurking in the wings.

For many here, making films is a labor of love, even as they pay their bills with other kinds of jobs. For those who has chosen the film industry as their main source of income, it shouldn't be that hard to see why there is a healthy amount of suspicion and "attitude" about the idea of working for free. The primary reason for doing so is to make connections with people who you believe have a future. Now, everyone making a film believes that of themselves--but of course, statistically speaking there are more and more people every year making features that will go nowhere (along with their dreams and aspirations). So it's up to the individual worker to assess whether a given person or entity is worth the investment of their time and energy.

Here's what's amazing about the film industry versus nearly all others. Any of you guys ever renovated a house? I did it five years ago. Even though I had a contractor, I had to keep on top of him AND his subs day in, day out. They cut corners, they made mistakes and tried to hide it, sometimes they didn't show up at all. They were worse than some indie crews I've seen! (well, OK, I'm joking, but not completely...)But here's the thing: they were all making their wages. It is hard for me to imagine what they would have been like had I tried to pitch them on working for even 75% of their wages--and it's literally impossible to imagine them working for free. They would just look at me like I was crazy.

So now back to our fabulous industry, where the above scenario happens all the time. For the people who are involved on a creative level (director, writer, producer etc), it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that "we are all in this together" only goes so far, especially with more experienced people who do actually get paid to do what they do. It never hurts to ask, as long as it is done with respect. And once the job begins, any gesture that can be made to show your appreciation to the crew can go a very, very long way. You need to push everyone an extra hour to get all of your daylight shots in before dinner? While everyone is eating, stand up and make a brief speech thanking them for their hustle. Need to work everyone later than you had estimated? The producer should go around and speak to the department heads (or everyone, if the crew is small enough) and apologize, and ask if it would be OK to push the length of the day. Just about everyone I would want to work with appreciates gestures like this immeasurably. That's what builds true teams, and wins people over.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 07:18 PM   #68
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Cloutier View Post
Andy, you will do well in your current endeavor. Trust that you will make mistakes..
Thanks Sean for the vote of confidence only time will tell if it is justified, and believe me mistakes will be made, i just hope they're not catastrophic ones.

Anyway id say you have your answer now, take it from Charles there, he's worked with more crews than most of us put together.

Btw Charles ive been on many a construction site and the tricks they get up to can only be described as comic genius, my dad and two brothers are architects..... and then theres me a filmmaker and musician.....i dunno what went wrong they must have dropped me on my head as a baby
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 09:36 PM   #69
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Re: What's the best way to attract a Independent Film Crew?

Maybe you have this covered, but just to share my own experiences -

The key issue is the ability of the new indie producer/director to KNOW whom to select for his/her crew. Without experience, it becomes impossible to know the right person for the right job.

If you hope to find people for free, with enough personality and honesty, you will land the kind of people you seek. However, your choices will be so limited that you will most likely have to go for the one that looks the best. I have been surprised with my selection of both professional people and rank amateurs. A good attitude is something that anybody can have.

Here's an alternative strategy for your consideration:

1. Finish the script to a T - try posting it on a website like Triggerstreet.com and gauge responses. Don't fool yourself or let yourself be fooled. Get professional opinion.
2. Get your main casting done. Audition. Give everyone a fair shot. Forget about camera and crew completely. Conduct rehearsals for a few days and see if your script plays right. By this time, you will have also motivated enough people to be part of your project and have a concrete idea of how your film will turn out. You might discover you need to rewrite a lot. Do it.
3. Find an experienced DP and Sound Guy. Let them watch a run-through (a full rehearsal of your script from start to finish). If you're having trouble nailing people, then send them an invite to attend your rehearsals. Feed them. INVOLVE them. One of them (hopefully the best), will say yes.
4. I repeat again, sound is MORE important than camera for an indie director. Never forget that.
5. Get recommendations for a good production manager and assistant director. You will be flooded with offers. Choose wisely. Go for the attitude. Some people know everything but secretly wish they were in your shoes. You don't want those anywhere near you.
6. Sit down with your crew and draw up a realistic post-production budget, schedule, and release strategy. Take their inputs. Talk to distributors. Don't spend a cent until you have done this. Remember, once you hit the gas peddle and start production, there's no turning back. You can do this step while everything else is going on. Send feelers out. See what fish you catch.

If you have done the first six steps correctly, you will suddenly find yourself in an enviable position of having secured a great cast and crew (with whom you will share a great rapport), made yourself new friends, and at the same time work a little more to pay them when the time comes for production. The secret is to get people involved in the decision making process. Now you KNOW how to take the right decisions (at least as far as possible with your experience).

After that, your crew will worry about details like camera and microphone, etc. You worry about the performances. I'd rather shoot with great actors and a mobile phone than a red epic and plastic dummies.

All the best.
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 12:38 PM   #70
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 09:00 PM   #71
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Need Help On Gulf Coast Music Video!

I am working with a team that is very close to having a song finished that highlights the Gulf Oil Spill from last year as we approach the 1 year anniversary of this tragedy. It is a BEAUITIFUL song! We expect LARGE international attention with this song. The problem is, we are in Seattle and we need specific video shots of the Gulf coast as well as some shots of some of the people who have been effected by this. We have the ability to edit the footage once we have it. We just need some help getting the footage. We are going to be keen on good bokah and depth of field. Slow movement across faces. Dark and moody. The entire thing will be in black and white. Shots of oil and tar balls still on the beach. Boats up on blocks. Old shacks. Old docks. Sea birds soaring. We are in contact with several people that can help get you to where you will need to go to get these shots anywhere from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle.

We have little to no budget for this. This is all being done as a labor of love. Again, we expect a LARGE international audience with this song and video. If you are interested in getting some shots for us or if you have some footage that we might be able to use, please let me know. I can let you hear the song and you can see that this is a BEAUTIFUL song that has been carefully produced. It is TOP quality all the way. Thank you for your time.
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 09:14 PM   #72
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Re: Need Help On Gulf Coast Music Video!!!

There was a woman activist posting video on YouTube last year who might be a good person to contact. She likely has many contacts with footage. I think she was in Louisiana. Also, there were some people doing aerial gigapans of the beach areas. If you search on gigapan.org you may be able to turn them up and possible get access to some interesting stills. If you can't find it PM me and I'll see if I have some info in my notes from the gigapan conference.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 11:13 AM   #73
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May Need Shooter In Boston and North Carolina for short weekday interview.

I am trying to put together a proposal for a company where I may need to hire a local shooter to pick up a couple of out-of-state interviews. One of the locations would be in North Carolina (I'm not sure of the location in NC yet) and one in Boston. The finished video will be approximately 2.5 to 3 minutes and would have one person on camera delivering lines plus some other b-role. It's a corporate video so I may also need some pick up shots to use for cutaways, etc.

I would need you to shoot the interview and get the b-role and send me the raw footage which I will then edit. I am assuming it would be no more than a 1/2 day shoot. This would need to be shot in HD and you would have to provide all equipment including lights (probably would only need 2 or 3), camera, and audio equipment. I'd be looking to shoot in mid March.

As I said I am preparing a proposal now but would like to get some rough idea of how much local shooters would charge for this type of quick project. I would appreciate it if you could give me your estimate based on a half day shoot and if you are interested to be considered please send me a link to some examples of your work.

Thank you,
Garrett
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Old February 24th, 2011, 12:14 PM   #74
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Searching for videographer for 1 day job in Peace River, Alberta, Canada.

1 day of shooting
1920x1080 P25
Copy cards and send to me with DHL.

Time: Should be tuesday, wednesday or thursday next week (9).
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Old February 25th, 2011, 08:10 AM   #75
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Need to rent studio in Teaneck NJ

I need to rent a studio for an upcoming shoot. Its for a one person green screen shot. I am hoping to rent a studio that has its own lighting and teleprompter set up. I would like to have the shoot completed within the next 2 weeks and will be bringing a crew of 2-3 peple (includes the talent). Does anyone have this type of space available. Anything within a ten mile radius of Teaneck would be fine.
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