If you've ever made your own film, then you know how important it is to have a reliable and passionate cast and crew. The problem is, filmmaking is expensive and sometimes you can not afford to pay your cast or crew. But that’s ok, because these people believe in your project and they believe in YOU. That is why keeping them happy is so important. If you can’t pay these people, then the least you can do is make sure they feel acknowledged, valued, and respected on set. This will insure that they will work with you again and again. Here are some tips that we have gathered over the years that can make your shoot go smoother and keep your cast and crew happier.
Food and Drink
This may be obvious, but it is EXTREMELY important. If you’re going to splurge some of your own money on your film, a good chunk should go to this. Have a craft services table set aside for snacks and drinks. This table should have food that’s easy to grab and eat on the fly. We recommend granola bars, veggies, fruits, chips, etc. Variety is important. It’s nice to have healthy options as well, this will ensure that your crew does not get bogged down by sugary or salty foods. If it’s a shoot where the temperatures are cold, make sure hot coffee or tea is available to warm everyone up. And always bring more than enough bottled water. It will go quick. Schedule a time for everyone to break for lunch and have someone take orders and note any dietary restrictions and allergies . With this, we usually have pizza or sandwiches. Make sure you break for lunch on the time you scheduled. Nothing is worse than making everyone wait longer for food. A hangry crew is not a happy crew.
You cast will probably bring a copy of the script with them, but it is always good to have personal copies ready for each cast member. Make sure that your crew members have a shoot schedule as well so everyone is on the same page.
Have a clean and orderly bathroom/changing area ready. Make sure you have plenty of toilet paper and hand towels. If you have scenes that are intimate, providing mints or cologne is a nice touch. If you are planning on filming is cold weather, have gloves or hats ready for your cast for the down times in between scenes.
These people are volunteering their time for your project and it's important to respect their time. Schedule your scenes accordingly. Stagger your actors in for the scenes they will be needed for. Some actors like the filmmaking process and will want to stick around, but others like to just shoot their scenes and go. You can relieve a lot of pressure off yourself by not having impatient cast members waiting around.
Know What You Want
Again, this may be obvious, but being on set can come with a lot of pressure. Everyone is looking at you for direction so you better be sure you know what you want. This comes with extensive pre-production and planning. You can never be too prepared. There will be times when you have to make split second decisions. Take a moment, think it over, and make the call. It may end up not being the best choice, but you have to keep the momentum going on set. Always keep communication with your crew. If something is taking a little longer than expected, keep them updated. Like with most things in life, communication is key.
Keep the Vibe Fun
Filmmaking is hard work but it’s also a lot of fun. You have brought these people together to help make your film and you want them to leave happy and eager to work with you again. Always be complimenting good work or good acting. Play music while setting up or in between takes. Clap for actors after they have shot their last scene. Your attitude is what sets the mood of the shoot, so make it a positive one!