Hiring Crew & Other Stuff

April 2, 2010

I am in Kansas City and the weather is pretty lousy.  I have lots of things to do and I am trying to get caught up.  I am going to post something I wrote a couple years ago about hiring crew.  If you read this before, sorry.  If not, enjoy…

I think one thing that a lot of filmmakers should pay more attention to is hiring crew.  I know you all spend way too much time thinking about DPs.  One mistake I have seen over and over is hiring a DP that really wants to be a Director.  And I see that a lot.  The problem I see with hiring and working with crew people (and not just DPs), who want to direct is that so many of them are more concerned with your job then theirs.  I have had PAs come up to me on the set and ask me why I am doing what I am doing.  They’ve said, “That doesn’t look like a very good shot to me.”  Who asked you?  They were not asked back the following day.

As the Filmmaker you have to wear a lot of hats and make a million decisions an hour.  Surround yourself with crew who are there to support your vision.  Not a bunch of people who want to do your job.

A buddy of mine had to fire his DP a couple days before the shoot started.  It was obvious that the DP thought he was a better Director than the one who hired him.  I always say that took guts to fire the guy, especially since the DP had his own gear!  (And no, you can’t fire someone and ask to use their equipment – – really bad form.)  But you know what, the production was better off losing this DP (who was really talented).   There would have been too many on-set issues if this particular DP had remained.

Remember, a set is not a democracy, there can only be one Boss.  I look at myself as a benevolent Dictator, but a Dictator none the less.

Put as much thought in to hiring crew as you do your cast.

And now, your AF Tip of the Day.

You have only one chance to get casting and crew right before you commit to shooting.
– – from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide

Other Stuff…

I am going to be at the Fearless Film Festival in Fort Worth Texas on April 10th & 11th (http://www.mainstreetartsfest.org/Off-MAIN.aspx) showing my short films and talking.  If you are in the area drop on by.

Don’t forget to check out my tour sponsors, The Write Brothers (www.screenplay.com), Pollard Design (www.pollarddesign.com), Zoom Creates (www.zoomcreates.com), and IMD Independent Media Distribution, (www.imdfilmsdvd.com).    If you haven’t checked out their sites and their services, you better.

And the DC Shorts Film Festival website (http://www.dcshorts.com/ ), it’s a great festival!

Talk later.

Kelley