Crew & Budget

I loved learning the titles of the crew members. I am rarely let down by a lesson in the book, even though the chapters are getting shorter – the videos are a wonderful bonus as I dig the visual aspect thrown in. I just recently decided to collaborate on another idea I had about making a film on a homeless man. I had the idea but found one of my former coworkers at 76 words had a similar idea. So I am going to be the assistant director on it. I’ll put it all together and my collaborator Tim will direct. But back to the lesson from Grips to PAs, it was insightful.

Who seems the most clutch Below-the-Line:
Assistant Director– Controls on set/day-to-day operations. There are also second ADs who middle man the director and the rest of the crew. Time cards, Call sheets, tracking progress in relation to the production schedule are all their duties.
Cinematographer– chief over all the photography components of film, including framing, costumes, makeup, and lighting, as well as the assistant of the post producer for color correction and grading.
Art Director-Leads the Art Dpt & production designer to develop the look of the film via props and atmosphere.
Gaffer– Head of the lighting dept. designs the light plan or listens to the DP. Under them directly is the Best Boy. Grips are lighting technicians that work under  the Gaffer as well.
& Sound Mixer– Recording of on set/location Sound. He might hold the boom or have the boom operator and Cable wrangler under him.

But there is also the likes of:
Unit Production Manager- They also help with the schedules and have the PAs working for them. can also take on duties of line producer
Line Producer– General manager of daily operations. They work with the director to oversee the budgetary needs. They help you come in under budget.
Location Manager– Finds and secures Locations. The Scout does extensive research and photography on that location
Director of Photography– DP is similar to Cinematographer. They are responsible for the photography of a film. They are in charge of the camera and lighting crews as well as the technical and artistic decisions regarding the films look.
Costume designer – works with Director and Production Designer to enhance the characters, reveal time periods and themes.
Script Supervisor – Maintains continuity of people, props and set. Ensuring eye lines are correct, slating, keeping script on hand, filing production reports and keeping notes for the editor.
Make Up Artist– Puts the make up on the actors. Sometimes simply to look good, other times it is extensive special effects. Turning men into monsters, applying blood and bruises etc.

I also filmed a short over Christmas break that I will upload and present on my next blog post – No More Bad Advice. Christmas has been kind of crazy and I have been put on hiatus as the Film Connection finds me a more suitable mentor. I didn’t mind the work I was doing for MITD, but I guess if certain people don’t mesh then the Film Connection is looking out for my best interest when they decided to reassign me.

I should also have a camera soon as well. An A7s2, which I am excited about for its ability to shoot at night but not too excited about the over heating issues. I looked into it though, and it is the best camera on the market – at its price point- in my eyes.

In the Master Class it taught about financing my first film. He says if your project absolutely has legs, money will follow you like a stray dog. He says you must be your own producer. He says read Rebel Without A Crew. There is also Crowd Funding/Sourcing. Many a film makers I have spoken to have gotten their film made in this way. Be well versed in the money and where it is going. Know the price of everything you will need to buy before you actually have to buy it. Make your own budgets, especially in the beginning so you’ll know what and where you’re spending.
Large Crews aren’t absolutely necessary in this day and age. HERZOG says you only need 2 and this won’t mean you’re is unprofessional.
Start to work and eventually you will have the money to do it yourself. But initially you should work on becoming self reliant.

In the book this week was a discussion over the least creative parts of a production which is; the job of the Line ProducerSchedule & Budget. This is important to independent filmmakers because they will be stuck doing their own budgets and scheduling. You can make an album these days for next to nothing, or a painting these days on the cheap but you can’t make a good film without spending some money. Thousands. Then you will want to be recouped in some form or fashion. But for now lets stick with the need for it all to be recorded. If you take down notes for all the things you spend on, you will have a grip on the amount you are out by the end. It feels good to know ‘this project costed $_______’. On my first short I didn’t keep track, because I am the type of person to think, “Fuck what it costs” and halfway through I regretted it. From cast meals to props, transportation and so forth, not mentioning equipment – it would have been nice to have a tally at the end.

Some people reach out for financing though. Those people HAVE to find a way to get investors their money back, which sometimes means trying to get a picture made that COULD be sold & not just one you WANT to make. This doesn’t mean your film doesn’t deserve to be made; it’s just that you have to go with the most recoupable idea as far as funding goes. It’s so delicate a situation you might as well treat every Film you go to make like you are starting up a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC).

The textbook never covered scheduling, instead devolved into the importance of making something that could sell. Therefore, I will cover it myself. Your schedule can help you break down the cost of each scene you are going to shoot ahead of time. You take each scene and you break it down into sections or lines in an excel spreadsheet. In these lines you will mark down in their own columns:
The shooting day.
The scene number,
Is it on location or on set, interior or exterior (I like to go further and color coat the row accordingly),
The time of day represented in the story,
The locations name in your story,
An estimation of how long the scene will play on screen
The page number

The in story day it takes place (day 1, day 25, day 30)
The in story time of day it takes place
The Characters Involved
Any Extras needed,
Any notes for the schedule
Any notes for production, like what prop is needed or location specifics
Maybe a synopsis (But you can wait to put this in your shootbook)
The budget for that scene given everything mentioned.
Maybe the structural Act in which the scene takes place
Any Costumes needed
Shoot start time
Shoot End time
Shoot Duration
Adding a line for any breaks in the schedule (Lunch Breaks, Day breaks)

That is a lot of stuff to keep track of. But having this makes everything easier on the whole crew above and below the line.

From here, closer to the day you will make a shootbook. This is where you list the exact times for everything occurring that day. From talent call time, the allotted time it will take to travel and how you will get there, Parking specifics and exactly what you will be filming during “Shoot Duration”. This is even worse to put together than the Schedule, as you are steadily second guessing your schedule as you reference it and breaking it up into further more detail.

Your independent project needs these things. If it is just you then it is the Directors duty. If there are a few of you it boils down to the producer or A-D. In bigger productions it is the job of the Unit Manager or production supervisor. But regardless you will need to find out what items you need and how much they will cost.

Also – no more excuses. Get out and do it.
Do not complain


P.S. I was on hold for 2.5 months.

More from the Film Connection Blog:
Day 1
A lil on Editing
Event & Planning
Motivation in Writing
Camera Functions

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