Shooting a movie is not just about the gear. Arthur Vincie writes about the often overlooked process of crew prep and how to approach and plan for working with a crew.
One of the biggest mistakes I see first-time filmmakers commit is to think solely in terms of production time when it comes to crewing up. The crew shows up on the first day, leaves on the last day, and anything that happens in between, before, or after is just donated or doesn’t count.
Sadly, as feature budgets have come down, this has often become less of a mistake and more of a deliberate strategy. But even if you’re not paying the crew for their non-shoot days, you have to account for this time in other ways ? you have to know when to hire your team, how many meals and rides you’ll need to provide, how long you’ll need equipment vehicles for, and when your insurance should begin and end.
There’s no magic formula for figuring out how much prep each person on your crew needs, since each script is different, but you can use common sense. If the script is a gory monster story set in one house, your location department’s prep needs are not going to be that huge (since you’re not hopping from place to place); but your hair/makeup and visual effects staff will need a lot more time to prepare molds, do makeup tests, and possibly buy supplies.
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