I would say that being on a film crew is probably the coolest job ever. Recently, we were able to recruit a big name Director of Photography (Greg Sabo) for a 168 hour film festival that a friend of ours was taking part in. We had taken part in it last year, and were excited to do so again-this time with bigger guns. With an aresanel of professional gear, we set out to produce an award winning piece. Drum-roll, please.
Now working with high-end cameras, lighting and gear requires a knowledgeable crew with willing hands. The more, the merrier! Sound tech, grips, gaffers-even someone to run for coffee. The Cameraman, DP and Director-assuming they’re all different-shouldn’t have to take time out to talk people through every little thing. So we were sure to call a few friends to assist with the helping and hauling and eventually packing it all up.
On most production sets, you’ll have a variety of people. And in these, you’ll always find the person standing around doing nothing. Normally they ‘know someone who knows someone’, or are friends with the “fill in important title here” , but regardless, they’re hanger-ons, watching and more than likely, getting in the way. They’re also normally full of valuable advice and opinions. Hopefully, these people, and the people you called to help aren’t one and the same. Also hopefully, the people you call don’t show up at the last hour of a 10 hour shoot and ask if there’s any food left. These are the same people who leave one minute before wrap and strike. When it’s time to tear down and load the equipment, they make like the end of a scene and cut. If this is you, you can rest assured that the minute everyone is done and ready to go, they’ll wonder why they called you in the first place, and whether or not it’s worth it to call you for the next one. it makes you look bad, and whoever invited you is left holding the cat.
So if you’re invited to help out on set-or any job, for that matter, be sure to ask what you can do, and not make a fast-break the moment real labor is involved. Even the smallest thing can make the night go smoother for someone else. It takes a team to get a project like a film festival done on time and in order. And you know what they say about ‘i’s’ in team.