I meet filmmakers all the time who are convinced that the more people they have on set the better it will be. WRONG! I am constantly amazed by the arrogance and attitude of ‘movie’ brats who watch mainstream cinema and determine that you need an army to make a movie. It’s complete bullshit and you don’t need forty folks on set.
You just need the right crew with the right skills.
First of all, you have to LEAD and FEED these people, so the more folks there, the slower it will go. I’ve done big-boy shows and we move at a snails pace as everything is relayed down the line and folks cluster into their specific areas.
Do you have enough time and money to lead an army? Didn’t think so. You have to become a lean and mean filmmaking machine.
So, you need to break down what you REALLY need versus what you think you need. Listed below are the essential folks required to make a microcinema film. I’ve worked with less. And you’d never know it.
Handles actors. Sets blocking with Camera. Advises all others. Keeps track of material shot on his or her script noting shots taken or needed. Handles locals if no Producer on set.
Operates camera. Sets lights. Sets tripod. Designs setups based on blocking established by director. Offloads media. Backs up drives.
Records audio. Handles Production paperwork on set. Watches blocking. Operates boom. Sets lavaliere microphones and recorders. Offloads media. Backs up drives.
4. PRETTY DEPT.
Handles onset makeup/ hair/ wardrobe. Keeps craft stocked. Checks actors before shooting. Cleans wardrobe. Racks clothes overnight. Cleans all costumes as needed.
5. ART DEPT.
Handles key props. Decorates Set. Polices garbage and keeps workspace tidy. Makes graphics, paper elements, on-camera meals and tracks on-camera consumables (drinks, smokes, food).
6. HELP DEPT.
Works with Camera and Art Dept. by setting gear or set as required. Adjusts lights and set as required. Polices set and maintains security.
Comes to set at start and wrap of day. Arranges lunch and handles all conflict on set. Sets craft coolers with coffee/ meat/ veg and snacks. The Troubleshooter and Peacemaker. Moves ahead to secure locations or patch over conflicts with locals. Handles location releases. Maintains all contracts, petty cash and responsible for the management and maintenance of all call sheets, maps and schedule for the production. Calls actors and crews and updates with essential information.
THESE SEVEN PEOPLE ARE ESSENTIAL TO SHOOTING A MICROCINEMA PRODUCTION.
It’s always appreciated if you can bolster the ranks with a Script Supervisor and a Focus Puller/ 1st Asst. Camera as they make the job go easier. But you can do without if you have to.
Remember you have to transport, feed and water everyone on your team (including actors) and the tighter your team, the less you will spend on food and gas costs.