How to find a film crew for your no-budget short
You’ve got a great idea for a short film – and even better it only has two actors in it. So you’ve got your actors, they’ve learned the script, they’ve even rehearsed it, and it’s great. It’s then that you realise you don’t have a crew and short films don’t film themselves.
How do you go about getting a film crew when you don’t have any money? There are websites out there that you can post jobs on, and while they’re your best option, there are also some other ways of getting the right crew for you and your film.
D.P. (Director of Photography)
A camera person will probably be your closest ally on the set of your film, so make sure you find the right person. Despite having no budget, it’s not a terrible idea to look at the IMDb profiles of the camera people you’ve liked the work of and try to get in touch with them. If they like your project and feel like they can bring something to it (and be listened to), they might just be interested.
There are plenty of sites out there where you can post a job and find people interested in getting involved with the sound design of your project (even if you’ve got no budget). They might be early in their career or they might just be out of college. Or if you get really lucky, they’ll already be making a good living from a sound-related job and they’re just looking to get involved with an additional film project.
Sound Recordist (someone to hold the boom mic)
You want your sound person to be concentrating on the sound design. Duh! Some will happily hold the boom while doing this, but it doesn’t hurt to go and grab a friend (maybe one who plays the guitar or just has a basic knowledge of how sound works) and ask them to do it for you. You also don’t have to pay them because don’t they, like, owe you $40 from that thing the other month anyway?
You don’t like asking your parents for money for making your films (even though you still do), but you could still get them involved and save yourself some cash. Imagine how happy your mum or dad would be if you asked them if they fancied making some food for everyone on the shoot – they can play the perfect parent for the day. It’ll save you money and you can turn the whole thing into more of a family affair.
Mum’s doing the catering, but you need someone who knows about electrics and how to tape cables down to the floor. Surely at least one of your uncles qualifies for the job? If not, this is a difficult job to get someone you don’t know to do for free, so get thinking on what relative you think did the drywall in the back room when you were a kid.
Colleges will be your best place to go for makeup artists, as they might be able to get some stuff for free and they’ll be happy for the experience. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay makeup people at the very least for the materials they use. But also again, maybe you’ve got a relative who’s been tinkering with the thought of doing makeup for a while and they’d be more than happy to come down and lend a hand.
It would be nice to have a costume person who’s interested in working for free, but again, you’re likely going to have to be creative with this one. Maybe go into a thrift store with a list of the things you need and get friendly with the person who works there. They might have contacts or might even want to get involved themselves. Or ask about at your local theater and see if anyone’s interested in contributing to your movie.
Lighting is not cheap. In fact, it’s very expensive, so unless you know someone who has lights and is willing to work for free, your best bet is going to a college or some sort of seat of education – that way they can borrow the equipment for free for the production. Otherwise, natural light it is (or eight or nine house lamps all tied together).
This is a very useful position on set, but just because it technically says they’re your assistant certainly doesn’t mean you should treat them like one. They should be easy to find as there will be plenty of young people out there who are after on-set experience. But make sure that’s what you offer them and don’t just ask them to get coffees the whole time.