Before I get into the tips, it is important to differentiate between two different types of crews.
- Big Budget Crew
- Micro Budget Crew
When you read the credits after a big budget film, often the scroll will last fifteen minutes. There are a vast myriad of different people who do many different crew roles on the set. Recently I was invited by Director Michael Apted on to his $140 million film "The Chronicles of Narnia The Adventures of the Dawn Treader."*. The Film was shot at the Gold Coast Warner Brothers Studio in Australia.
The crowd on set resembled the entrance to a football stadium on Match Day. One could hardly move. The set was packed. So many crew were doing different jobs. One lady I spoke to was the Dialogue Coach for specifically one of the young actresses. She probaly did ten minutes work all day. The rest of the time she was on call and doing nothing more than spectator. That is the big end of town
The other end is the Micro Budget Film Crew which is all about efficiency and effectivness. Everything is about working smart and hard. Many crew roles are double ups and one crew member could well be doing three different roles.
Here are my top five tips.
1 Keep the Crew lean mean and keen.
What I mean by this, is keep the crew to the bare minimum to effectively shoot. An effective crew is about 10 - 15 members. However some crews are smaller. There were days on The Makeover where we had only seven working crew members and that included me as the Director Producer and DOP. On my Online Film School and Weekend Film School, I outline the Crew needed and where to find them. I also show you how I have designed my Crew Contract. This Contract motivates and inspires crews to work smarter and more focused. In fact many of my crew treated "The Makeover" as if it was their film.
2 Keep your shoots to five days per week and no longer than 12 hours per day.
Twelve hour days are from arrival on set to conclusion. This is so important. Every crew member is keen to be working on the film and no one wants to be seen to be tired or a whinger. Give your crew two days off per week. When you do the above you will have a happy crew and not a bickering crew. As a Producer or/and Director, please do not take advantage of your crews enthusiasm. Do not flog your crew.
Just as an aside, time on set goes so fast. There are many times the First AD calls lunch and I will say to him" Why are you calling lunch at 9am" He will reply. "Look at your watch. Its 1pm" Time accelerates and goes so fast on set. The reason for this is that as a Director, you are fully in the moment and a 100% focused.
3 Treat the crew with respect and love. Feed the Crew exceptionally well Good healthy food that nourishes the crew is like filling up your car with grade A Petrol (Gasoline). Your crew will work so much better and they will appreciate your efforts. This ultimately results in a better film. Do not welsh on this area. Be generous and if you are smart you can feed a crew really well for about $200 per day. You can learn all the tricks on our Online Film School or Weekend Film School
4 Ever Crew member must have a written contract or agreement and agree willingly to the terms set in the contract. This is so important. The crew feels secure knowing that you will pay what is owed when the film is successful. Also it will protect the producer from unwarranted claims when the film is a big hit. Everyone will know what they are owed. I always add in a clause that our bookkeeper will update crew on Sales for the film. This is very important at the micro budget end of the market.
5 Always keep the crew informed about the progress of your film in film festivals and sales. Most micro budget crews are paid in shares and a small cash payment. They work on your film for fun and career advancement. Many times, they are seeking experience and credits so that they can get the next job. Long after wrap, they will wonder what ever happened to the film. Keep them informed of the progress via regular email updates.
6 Throw the best parties mid-shoot and on the final day at wrap and at the Cast and Crew Screening. This is important because it can be a time to promote the film and celebrate the amazing achievement of shooting your film.
If you want to set up a career as a regular film crew person, work your way up via working on the micro budget films. Over time you will find yourself on the bigger budget film crews where you will be paid exceptionally well. Work begets work, so always accept the lower budget jobs when starting out.
If you want the best start that money can buy please look at our practical film courses on http://www.australianfilmbase.com/ or at our Online Film School on http://internationalfilmbase.com/ This way you will effectively attract work on micro budget films or/and create your very own film production.
Till next week have a great one.
Director International Film Base.
Author Details: Colm O'Murchu is the owner of International Film Base in Sydney Australia. He is currently written directed and produced The Makeover Feature Film. The Film screened at the recent Cannes Independent Film Festival in France and won Best Film at the New York City Film Festival. The Film is currently on release in Australia and has sold to Pay TV in Europe. Colm has created the Online Film School that helps emerging film makers produce their own films with no budget. For more about Colm O'Murchu please go to International Film Base.com
* "The Chronicles of Narnia The Adventures of the Dawn Treader" was the 12th highest-grossing film of 2010 with over $415 million and received a nomination at the 68th Golden Globe Awards. The film was released by 20th Century Fox
Financing your film:
Every film needs finance of some form. Even the most basic short film needs finance. Finance pays for the Cast Crew Equipment postproduction music creature comforts and locations. Films cost money. However you can be very clever with how you make your film happen. I personally have made three many films where three months out from shooting we had no money and ended up with about $50,000 Cash Budget and about $500,000 of Contributios on the first shooting day. Where there is a will there is a way and when you set a deadline, everything will fall in your way to make the film happen.
The Prime Directive of Micro Budget Film Production:
The Principal of Micro Budget works on the fact that
• every contribution
• every free location
• every crew member who works as a co- owner and
• every actor who works for a percentage
• equipment that you can get at a reduced price
is Finance for your Film.
This is your Non Cash Budget and should be 80% or more of a total budget for your micro film budget
It is difficult to get everything donated, if you are making a professional standard Film. Minimum professional Standards imply that you look after Crew and Cast and feed them and treat them well. This costs money. Sometimes a location will cost money. Sometimes you have to pay for Equipment hire Editors and Sound Mixes.Here is a great rule of thumb and only a guide. Everysituation is different.
Home Video $ 0 - $100
Amateur short film $ 1,000
Professional Short Film $2,000 – 5,000
Micro Budget Feature Film $ 50,000 - $100K
Low Budget Feature Film $200K-$1millionK
Low budget Feature with a B Star $1 millK - $4millK
Mid Range Feature $4 mill - $10millK
High Range $10 million plus,
Studio Big Budget $50 – 200 million
If you are starting out, think about jumping to Professional Short Film level. It is ultimately more fun and what our film courses are all about. I guarantee film students of mine will become more compeditive than 98% of those trying to make their first few films. This means Film festival exposure work and faster rise to your film goals.
There are six different methods for raising finance and our Online Film School and our Weekend Film Schools will show you how to raise your finance. One of the methods is my new favourite. By taking our Online Film School or Weekend Film School you will be able to use a combination of the finance methods to make your budget. The Online Film School or/and the Weekend Film Schools will be worth literally thousands of dollars in finance for you.
Best till next week
Director Australian Film Base
Today I want to talk about the first of sixteen steps in making your film. Step One is Screenplay.
Screenplay is the foundation of any great film. However it is very important to prepare before writing a screenplay whether it is a short film or a feature film.
There are several areas one needs to get ready before writing your script. Here are just a few of them.
- Idea generation. The Script writer needs to get in the right frame of mind to generate ideas.
- Character Creation: One needs to work out the physical, sociological and psychological profiles of your characters. This is one of the most important aspects of developing a screenplay. Often it is ignored. When I was writing The Makeover, I wrote approximately 10 pages on each character and I could tell you everything about their life. I had all the detail on their family on the characters first job, first girlfriend, their obsessions, their relationship with their father mother and what their hobbies the character had. I wrote these profiles using 27 areas of character, I teach in the Online Film School.
- Scene by Scene Outline is so important before you write your script. This means that you actually work out what happens in each scene. All you have to do is write the briefest of Synopses and then you have the map that will help you during the writing process.
The above is only some of what you need to prepare before writing your script. The rest we outline in the Online Film School Screenplay section.
When you actually write the first draft of the script, one of the best ways to write is to write 3 pages per day.
That means if you write five days a week, it will take you two months to complete your 120 page screenplay.
Three pages a day usually only takes a maximum of 90 minutes and can be written a lot faster. Writing a small amount every day means that you will enjoy the process, keep your day job and have a fun topic of conversation at the dinner party that weekend.
Of course you will need a script writing software. On the Online Film School we supply a free download of a script writing software that would normally be worth $200 - $300 if you bought Final Draft. Why not get the Online Film School and get a free scriptwriting software download.
Formatting your script is so important if you want to make films.
To the fun of making films. Till next week
Have a great one.
Today is a very exciting day. Today we are launching The Online Film School which is now finally Online.
I have been very quiet for the last three months and the reason is that I have been flat out working on the Online Film School. I finished the Online Film School a few days ago. This is after I have spent four months working full time on the course content and structure. So starting now, I want to every week write about a different area of Film Production. So there will be many quality blogs over the next 18 weeks.
Starting now I am also about to start working on my next Fiilm Production. Because the Online Film School has crystallized the step by step process of producing low budget independent films, I will use my own Online Film School as I shoot my own low budget film over the next year.
The Online Film School is now the Production Bible for low budget film production and independent film makers all around the world. This is an amazing inspired course that demystifies the production process. This is everything I know about Film Production and all the nuts and bolts you need to know so that you can produce your film anytime. The beauty is that you can complete this quality course from the comfort of your own home.
I have spent years making films and worked on 100s of productions as a Producer, Director, DOP, Editor and even as a Boom Swinger and as a Film Instructor and Mentor. I have been on big productions and small productions and made many of my own feature drama films, documentaries and music videos. The Online Film School is everything I know about making films happen, now.
When you enroll on the Online Film School, you will have the know-how to make your film anytime you want, provided you have the will and the commitment to make your film happen. Its never about money as we will show you in the Online Film School.
I have put everything into the On Line Film School and I have kept no secrets.
You can have a look at the Production Online Film School on http://internationalfilmbase.com/on-line-film-school-2011
Next week I will start on the first of 18 Key areas you have to succeed at for your film to be successful. Area Number One Screenplay
Till next week, have a great one.
Director International Film Base
What’s on at Australian Film Base in April
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