How to Choose Your Crew

Recently a friend of mine approached me to direct a passion project documentary about a guy who is 5’5’’ and can dunk. I was immediately interested in the project and decided to jump on board as the director of the documentary. A lot of questions flooded into my head around dates, locations, equipment and budgets. But the biggest question was the crew. After all, the director is only as good as the people in his or her crew.

For the production of Five/Five, there were a couple factors that went into choosing my crew.

Budget

There was zero budget on this project. I knew I had to ask people who were hungry for experience or sell them on the fact it was an interesting enough project to gain interest. Luckily a guy that is 5’5’’ and can dunk is intriguing to most people.

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Time

People’s time is very valuable. It’s hard to approach someone and ask them to give up their time and not pay them. With that in mind, I had to make sure that production could be done in one day. I also had to select a crew where I could juggle schedules and make sure everyone was available on the same day.

Specialties

With only one day of shooting, I knew I had to fill two key roles of the Cinematographer and Lighting Director (You can learn more about those roles here) with people who were experienced enough to get the look I wanted in a condensed amount of time. Usually with a smaller crew, everyone helps out with all the chores of production. In this case, I made sure that the Cinematographer was just focused on the camera and my Lighting Director was focused on the lights. That way they would not get tied up in other jobs. It really kept them focused and ensured the production moved along. On the other side of the crew, I had to select people that could multi-task and know multiple production jobs.

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Synergy

I also had to choose a crew that could work well together during a long production day. I had to choose people who were passionate and could keep a positive attitude. This is done by trial and error and shear observation. Luckily I have been in the game just enough to have gained a little bit of a network of people that I work well with. On this particular project, I asked two people to join the crew who I had never worked with but took note of certain qualities they possessed when interacting with them in previous engagements. It paid off because they were a great addition.

In the end the crew was amazing. I truly could not have pulled it off with out them. Production went extremely smooth and everyone had fun, which is the most important part.

Please visit http://fivefivedocumentary.com to learn more about the crew. Checkout the final documentary below.

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