Why should you pay for crews? Here are 12 solid reasons why!

The DV revolution has been one of the single greatest things to happen in film. Because the entry level cost have come down substantially, more and more would-be directors and producers are creating their content, and putting it out for the world to see. New content producers whom most would have hadn't a change to show their work, can now compete on an equal play field. Unfortunately, the DV revolution is one of the worst things to happen to the film industry, as the market of actors, crew, and wanta-be directors is simply flooded with sub par talents, and even more shoddy production companies taking advantage of every person with stars in their eyes stepping off the incoming bus from Iowa.

This mentality of shoot on a dime, has simply just ravaged the crew communities. And with each passing year, more and more would be actors just keep pouring into LA looking to hit it in the big time, it would seam that there is no shortage of people willing to work for nothing.

Combine this with the promises of cheaper and cheaper cameras that just keep showing up, and most new directors simple believe that all they need to make movies is a camera and a few actors. Unfortunately, the school of hard knocks will be the ultimate enlightenment.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for the rebels without a clue, but at some point someone has to bring to light a few simple facts that wont change. It takes more than just a few items to make a movie. It takes equipment, and an army of technical people to run that equipment. This equipment doesn't come cheap, but for some reason your simply expected to just magically have it when you come to the set.

But I digress. I too wouldn't mind working on a professional set as a 'real' intern, as long as I feel that I can learn something from seasoned crew people.. Unfortunately on these kind of sets, everyone else is hoping the same thing, and finding anyone with 5 days plus of real world experience is hard pressed.

So, with this, I can NOT stress the fact that you should PAY near everyone working on that set. And here's a list of my 12 reasons way everyone should be paid to work on a set.

1) People who are NOT paid, don't take your production seriously. They are only there for collecting the credit (or the food), and don't go above and beyond.

2) At any time, you can loose someone. Since they are not getting paid for their work, they are actively seeking the next job. So, if the next job just happens to come right in the middle of your production, it's "see ya later" time. Leaving you high and dry. What do you think happens when you loose your DP half way in the middle of your shoot. You and everyone else on your crew is screwed that's what.

3) You get what you pay for. Need I say more.

4) You can't screen people. Since your getting people for free, you can't really screen for the people that you want getting your back. These are people your going to have to get intimate with on the set and because you'll be spending more time with them for those weeks of production than with your family you have no idea what your getting. If you have name actors on your set, you'll see how the screening thing becomes a problem.

5) Since you can't expect the crew to show up AND bring equipment, then that means that your going to have to buy/rent everything! Here's a hint for new directors and producers.. It's cheaper and easier to have an experienced crew take care of certain aspects of "the small stuff". Its way easy to get totally bogged down with list of equipment. When you hire professionals, they take of these things for you.. You can then concentrate on your job, and not "crap, I forgot the c-stands".

6) Litigation. Anyone who works on your set for free, ultimately sues if they even get wind that you make any money on your film. Human nature. If you pay your guys, they won't feel like they were abused because they "worked" on a paying set.. nothing more.

7) Walk off's/No shows. Unpaid sets have a very high rate of no shows, and people simply leaving. Lets face it, no commitments. Money motivates. You can do all the interviewing you want, when it comes down to it.. no one cares. How well do you think a production goes when people start leaving. A production is a joint effort, try doing it yourself.

8) Believe it or not, raising the cash needed to pay your crew is far easier to do than spinning endless amounts of your time trying to convince people to work on your film. New directors and producers will unfortunately learn this the hard way.

9) Paying no money doesn't allow you the luxury of firing someone. I personally have never been on a set where a producer has been in the situation that they had to fire someone. But should this situation have come up, you can't really fire someone who needs to go.

10) Pitch your movie idea to investors only. If you don't pay anyone, you are now placing yourself into the roll of "pitching" your movie to every single person that walks into your door! Good god, believe me that sucks. You have no energy left to work on your film.

11) It places you into a corner, and you now have to beg for what you can get instead of choosing that you want.

12) It produces a level of confidence in your crew, and insolently raises the level of professional look to your picture. Oddly enough, the best jobs I've ever worked, were the ones that people get paid more. People take on a totally new attitude, there's less stress for the director, and your film reflects that professionally

I hope this helps you out, see you on the set.

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Recent projects I've worked on:

UFC Gyms - Commercial
Firehouse Kitchen - Pilot Shot
Peach Tree - Commercial
My Life as a Video Game - WebTV
OC Dodge - Commercial
Grand Marnier - Commerical
While Expecting Cassius - Short
Term of Art - Commerical
Tax Monkey - Commerical
RedBull Curates:LA - Redbull Channel
Harry Potter KINEXT - Commerical
Mom Life - WebTV Show
Maxim Comic-Con Party - FX Channel
DisneyLand, CarsLand - Disney
MomLife - WebTV Show
W.Expecting Cassius - Short Film
Go Puplic - Public School Short
Tax Monkey - Commercial
RedBull LA - Documentary
TrueGreen - Commercial
Sony DV - Sony Commercial
Set Free - Short
Funny On The Fly - Southwest Air
Lifes An Itch - Feature Film
Moving Takahashi - Short Film
PopSugar - WebTV Show
Walmart Photo - Commercial
Lindex - Intn. Commercial
Age 13 - Independent Short
Amgen - Corporate Video
Family Engagement - Independent
Terms of Service - Independent
LA Boxing - Commercial
Adele Sound Check - Music Video
Dare Me Bikini - Reality TV
MedicareMan.com - Commercial
Suicide Prevention - PSA
Absentia - Fall Back Productions
Godaddy.com - Commercial
Doritos - Commercial
Victroia's Secrete - EPK
Aristotle - EPK
Monster Butler - Pilot
Erostratus - Independent
BountyFull - Independent - 168
Dermorganic EPK- Independent
Chrissy Rock EPK - Independent
Doritos Commercial - Independent
Funny of Die - Skit - Independent
Tom Papa - EPK - Wolf Bros.
Slice of Water - Independent
Pull - Wolf Bros.
HouseCall - Reality TV - Independent
Living English - David Braun
Telemafia - Independent
Faithless - Independent
Sky High - Independent
Group - Reality TV Show - Independent
Ryan and Janelle - Independent
Mrs. Calistoga - Independent
The Ambassadors - Reality TV show(PBS)
HeroMan - David Filmore
LA Wine Festival - FullScope Media
Home Wrecker - Independent
The Eight Percent - Independent
As Advertised - Independent
Going to Pieces - Independent
The Cook - Independent
Quaker Oats - Hangman Films
CareerBuilder.com - Hangman Films
Black Dynamite - ARS Nova PGM
Anna Nicole - Ashley Lewis
A Simple Gesture - Independent
A Better Tomorrow - Independent
What People - AFI Short
Lisette - Ravensong
Just Desserts - Footprint Prod.
Runaway Stars - Filmaka
Heart of Now - Sambi Studios
Paradiso Girls - Interscope Records
The Butcher's Daughter - AFI short
The Mechanics - Independent
Rochez and Co - Independent
Rattle Basket - MayContainNuts
Special dEaD - T-street

Sound Articles by me:

Sound Mixing 101
Avoid 11th hour nightmares - 12 compelling reasons why you should pay for a crew.
What I learned/Reality TV-Coffey Files Magzine

Fellow Sound Mixers:

Phillip W. Palmer
Ty Ford
Mike Westgate Sound
sync.sound.cinema
Pro Location Sound
Thomas Brandau and David Waelder
Jan McLaughlin TV
Robert Sharman
Scott Jason Farr, CAS
Whitney Ince
Marc Wielage

Great Articles about sound:

From analog to digital
Location Sound: The Basics and Beyond
Location Audio for any budget
Make Your Movie Sound Like A Real Movie
Film & TV Sound Recording
Ten Commandments of Sound pt.1
Ten Commandments of Sound pt.2
An Open Letter from your Sound Department
Set Etiquette part I
Set Etiquette part II

Blogs and News about the Biz:

JW Sound
Totally Unauthorized
Hollywood Juicer
Dollygrip
Anonymous Assistant
The Hills are Burning
The Live Feed
Variety Mag

My favorite Stores:

Audio Department - Burbank
Trew Audio - LA
Location Sound Corp- Burbank
Film Tools - Burbank
Pro Sound - NY
DeCoupage Film - LA
D.W.Sound Service - LA

I'm available any time 24/7 email (I live on email) or cell phone (949)290.8853 or (323)205.6304.

I'm also available for lectures or consulting. Contact me for details.

soundguy[at]hanaho.com

 

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