The crew of any film is critical to it’s existence and with the long hours you will work with each other under close and stressful conditions, you want to have not only capable, but likable people surrounding you. Preferably ones with good hygiene too because that smell is just the pits! So how do you find your crew and who is essential to making a movie?
The 11 Essential Crew Members Needed For Your Film
A breakdown of the 11 Essential Crew Members and why you need them.
This one should be obvious to you. This is your baby and you have to birth it, therefore you need to be there through every bit of the process and give your input on the film.
The vision for the film depends on this guy so choose wisely. If this is not yourself then you should pick someone who has a creative style. Ask for a reel to see their work. Remember you are looking for the most bang for your buck. So making a little bit of money look like a lot on screen is the goal of you and your director.
This may also be you but it would be great if you had someone to help you. A good producer is like printing press for money. Their first job is to save you money period! Their second job is to keep the morale of the crew together and finally their last job is to see that the project gets completed. And completion is the ultimate goal of the entire shoot. You need to end with a completed film.
Director of Photography or DP
On your shoot this will be the guy behind the camera. His ability to follow the action with interesting camera moves and to suggest lenses and lighting techniques that take the director’s vision and translate that into a beautiful image is what you are looking for. You need to look at this person’s previous work as an example of what you will be getting. You will need to Remember:
DP = Image on the Screen.Tip#3
The gaffer is your key to the lighting on the set and is the right hand man to the DP. They work hand in hand to make sure that you are getting the look you want. It is important to pick a qualified Gaffer for your shoot as you want the lighting perfect. Your DP will usually have a Gaffer they normally work with so you should work with them on a perfect fit for your project.
A Key Grip is the right hand man of the Gaffer. They will become the Macgyver of the shoot and be able to rig anything to work for the shot you need. This is a very valuable person to have around. They are also in charge of providing anything the Gaffer needs to position a light. Another reason to have him around is he knows what a C Stand is, unlike your neighbor who volunteered to help out. Usually the Gaffer will suggest a key grip to use.
Sound Mixer a.k.a. Audio Guy
If you have any kind of dialogue in your film then you will need someone to do audio. On your film this will probably be a professional with an audio mixer and a PA or someone else holding a boom pole to capture the sound. It is important to have a qualified Sound Mixer. Do not leave this to a novice or you will end up with a garbled mess of dialogue that you will not be able to salvage.
This is the person who is going to add all the props to the background and on your movie also make sure that every location is dressed to look like what it needs to for the picture. A Prop Master is a very resourceful person and can create all sorts of cool stuff for your actor to interact with during their performance.
There are going to be lights and more than likely the air conditioning is going to be off for the sound guy which means it is going to get hot. Everybody sweats and this is where the Makeup Person comes in. More than likely, for your budget purposes, you are not going to have elaborate makeup like turning someone into a gorilla or making a space alien. That being said you do need your actors to look good and that is where a good makeup artist comes in.
Unless your film involves a closet full of the Emperor’s new clothes you will need a wardrobe stylist. This will help you out greatly as they will shop for the clothes for your actors and also make sure that they look perfect on camera. They are also there to fix tears and stains that will inevitably happen while shooting.
Production Assistant or PA
The backbone and hardest working person on any set is the production assistant. Next to the Producer this is your most valuable asset. They are there to do anything and everything that can “assist” the production. That means in short anything you need they will do. You can never have enough of these guys around.
There are many other important crew members to a movie that I did not list above and everyone has an important position on a set. These 11 above however are the bare bones crew that you can find in any market and will need to make your movie a success.
Below is another Crew member left off the core 11 but very important to the movie process.
The next most important on the list would be a script/continuity person to keep your scenes on track and make sure that everything will cut together. I chose not to list this crew member as they do not exist in every market. If you live in a market that does not have one do not panic; I have been able to get by with a PA for this position on many occasions and come out fine. You just need to be specific about what needs to be accomplished with this position to the person.