The process of hiring a film crew can be daunting, especially if it’s your first project. Hiring the wrong people can hurt your project, which is why it’s good to be prepared and get started early hiring your team. Today we’ll teach you how to find a film crew – where to post positions to reach great candidates, tips on the vetting process, and other aspects about creating a great group of people to work with.
Where to start looking for a film crew
There are tons of talented people out there looking for work, but you need to know where to look. Here are some places to go about finding members of your film crew.
Film production job boards. You need to register or sign up to post your job on film production job boards, but these are the number one place to post jobs. Some top platforms to consider are Production Beast, StaffMeUp, Backstage.com, Mandy, ProductionHub, and Entertainment Careers. Also review local job boards if you are shooting outside of a major production hub like Los Angeles and New York. For example, New England Film and the careers page at the New Mexico Film Office are two resources that are region specific. Finally, consider job boards that are specific to the type of job on a film production. For example, Emily Rice’s The List is a great place to find candidates for film production accounting.
Social media. LinkedIn and Facebook can help you hire a film crew. First, identify groups or communities within these platforms that relate to film production jobs and other relevant topics. Second, join every relevant group that you can find and post your jobs on each group board. These groups typically have thousands of members, so you’ll get a lot of exposure with a single post. On these boards you’ll also see other job posts, which will let you know that your job offering is competitive and in line with other positions being advertised.
Hire for key positions first
Fill the following positions first because they can help with essential things required to move the project forward.
Writer. The writer(s) often come into the project early, but sometimes you will look for writers to re-write a script that is already written or drafted.
Director. Like a writer, the director should come into the project early. Most directors will ask for a script before taking on a project – another reason why hiring the writer is a crucial first step.
Producers. Producers drive the engine that is a film production. Producers oversee logistics and closely work with key crew members to get the project completed on time and on budget. There are also specialty producers, like line producers who handle most everything that involves spending money on set. Producers have a lot of knowledge about movie production roles and the overall process of creating a film. Producers can also advise on how many administrative positions you may need based on the size of the project.
Department Heads. These are managers of various departments that you will need to produce the film, including camera, lighting, sound, costume, and vanities (also known as hair and makeup). Department heads provide their department crew members with guidance. They also oversee the interpretation of the director’s vision for their specific craft department. Depending on the size of a production, a department head may be the only person in the department. These individuals typically have a large list of contacts that work in their respective craft areas. For example, if you’ve hired a cinematographer but are having trouble hiring a camera assistant, the cinematographer may have several recommendations for camera assistants that they may have worked with in the past.
Tips for finding a film crew
Know the roles you’re hiring for. While you don’t have to be an expert in every department, you should be familiar with the positions that are needed for your project so you can describe them in the job posting.
Hire people that work hard. These people are dedicated, have pride about doing great work, and work hard to get things completed. Honestly describe what your film is about, and describe why someone would want to be part of the project to attract the best candidates.
Be transparent about payment. What is the pay? What expenses and reimbursements are covered? Are meals provided? Let candidates know these things up-front; do not try to negotiate deals down the road. Also remember that if you hire union members, you’ll need to follow the compensation rules associated with each union or guild.
Get references. Ask for references, especially for major positions. You may also find recommendations on people’s LinkedIn profiles. Using these recommendations is a great way to sort resumes if you receive a large number of applications.
Remember that people want to work with kind and professional individuals
Besides other common reasons why people will take a job, such as getting a paycheck, a lot of people choose to work on projects that have other members who are supportive, kind, and professional. Keep this in mind as you put together a film crew. The working relationships between people is what will make your film set run as a successful, well oiled machine. You’ll trust each other and create a supportive and safe environment to capture performances and/or documentary subjects at their most vulnerable and open state. This type of environment is critical to having a great resulting product, and people create the environment.
Once you’ve hired your film crew, have fun and stay organized! PYCO offers a petty cash tracking app that can be shared with everyone on the crew for the same flat price. Sign up today and get started for free!